From Goodreads: “From the Gilded Age until 1914, more than 100 American heiresses invaded Britannia and swapped dollars for titles–just like Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham, the first of the Downton Abbey characters Julian Fellowes was inspired to create after reading To Marry An English Lord. Filled with vivid personalities, gossipy anecdotes, grand houses, and a wealth of period details–plus photographs, illustrations, quotes, and the finer points of Victorian and Edwardian etiquette–To Marry An English Lord is social history at its liveliest and most accessible.”
The stories of some of these women are fascinating. There were the three Jerome sisters who all married into the Peerage – Jenny Jerome more famously known as the mother of Winston Churchill. Even Princess Diana’s great grandmother was one of these American heiresses.
Parts of this book are terrific. I enjoyed some of the stories of the women, and the explanations about social etiquette of the day. But huge sections read like a society column – except the names really meant nothing to me. I’ve seen the excellent film version of Edith Wharton’s Buccaneers – which is based on some of these heiresses. I’d like to read that novel, and seek out a few others on the same subject.
3 1/2 stars (out of 5)
Published in 1989
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