The Husband Hunters

The Husband Hunters

American Heiresses Who Married Into the British Aristocracy

Book - 2018
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"A deliciously told group biography of the young, rich, American heiresses who married impoverished, British gentry at the turn of the twentieth century - the real women who inspired Downton Abbey. Towards the end of the nineteenth century and for the first few years of the twentieth, a strange invasion took place in Britain. The citadel of power, privilege and breeding in which the titled, land-owning governing class had barricaded itself for so long was breached. The incomers were a group of young women who, fifty years earlier, would have been looked on as the alien denizens of another world - the New World, to be precise. From 1874 - the year that Jennie Jerome, the first known 'Dollar Princess', married Randolph Churchill - to 1905, dozens of young American heiresses married into the British peerage, bringing with them all the fabulous wealth, glamour and sophistication of the Gilded Age. Anne de Courcy sets the stories of these young women and their families in the context of their times. Based on extensive first-hand research, drawing on diaries, memoirs and letters, this richly entertaining group biography reveals what they thought of their new lives in England - and what England thought of them"-- Provided by publisher.
Publisher: New York : St. Martin's Press, 2018.
ISBN: 9781250164599
1250164591
Characteristics: x, 307 pages : illustrations (some color) ; 25 cm

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Chapel_Hill_MarthaW Jan 08, 2019

This was successful in a number of ways. First of all, it’s just a really engaging read. Second of all, it does a really excellent job of painting a picture of both Victorian/Edwardian England AND Gilded Age New York, and their various specific insanities. And third of all, and most importantly, it explains the differences between the two social systems better than anything else I’ve read, and perfectly explains why these Trans-Atlantic marriages were so often spectacular failures. If any of this is remotely your interest, you need to read this book.

r
rsmunoz
Jan 05, 2019

A treasure trove for Gilded Age enthusiasts, but I found it a rather dry, hard-to-follow read with its multitude of descriptions, characters, and titles. How terribly sad were the fates of these young women, who were most often pawns of their more socially ambitious mothers.(In fact, the author states that the mothers were the actual husband hunters.) A TV documentary would have been more to my taste. 3 stars.

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