Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart
The Story of a Daughter and a Mother in the Gilded Age

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A fabulously wealthy New York beauty marries a cold-hearted British aristocrat at the behest of her Machiavellian mother – then leaves him to become a prominent Suffragette.

Consuelo Vanderbilt was one of the greatest heiresses of the late 19th-century, a glittering prize for suitors on both sides of the Atlantic. When she married, a crowd of over 2,000 onlookers gathered, and newspapers frenziedly reported every detail of the event, right down to the bridal underwear. Even by the standards of the day the glamorous, eighteen-year-old had made an outstanding match: she had ensnared the twenty-four-year-old Duke of Marlborough, the most eligible peer in Great Britain.

Yet the bride’s swollen face, barely hidden under the veil, presaged the unhappiness that lay in the couple’s painful twelve-year future. It was not Consuelo, but her domineering mother who had forced the marriage through. This captivating biography tells of the lives of mother and daughter: the story of the fairytale wedding and its nightmarish aftermath, and an account of how both women went on to dedicate their lives to the dramatic fight for women’s rights, in the light of their own suffering.


About Amanda Mackenzie Stuart

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Amanda Mackenzie Stuart worked as a screenwriter and independent film producer for a number of years before publishing her first biography, the critically acclaimed Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and Mother in the Gilded Age. She lives in Oxford, England.
Published June 14, 2012 by HarperPress. 608 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction

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Declaring that she would never again be financially dependent on a man (save for alimony, of course), Alva later became a strong advocate of women’s rights—some said in penance for what she had done to Consuelo, separated from the duke in 1906 but not divorced until 1921, when she quickly remarri...

Nov 15 2005 | Read Full Review of Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt:...

The New York Times

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The biography explores the bond between one of the Gilded Age's richest heiresses and her mother.

Feb 19 2006 | Read Full Review of Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt:...

USA Today

The marriage between the 18-year-old American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt and Britain's ninth Duke of Marlborough in 1895 appeared to be a straightforward bargain: cash for class.But Amanda Mackenzie Stuart's compelling double biography, Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and a...

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