Saturday, February 20, 2010

Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt

This book by Amanda Mackenzie Stuart was recommended to me by a coworker at the library.  I really had no familiarity with the story; I like to read history for fun, but the Gilded Age is not a time period I'm usually interested in.  So I wasn't previously aware that Alva Vanderbilt, a granddaughter-in-law of the famous "Commodore" Vanderbilt, pretty much forced her daughter Consuelo to give up the man she was in love with and marry the Duke of Marlborough instead.  I certainly didn't know that both Consuelo and (oddly enough) Alva went on to become pioneering feminists, active in the British and American movements for women's right to vote.

The author makes a good case that Alva's conversion to the suffragist cause was not as out of character as it might seem in light of the way her social ambitions led her to decide her daughter's future without regard to Consuelo's wishes.  This is mostly a well-written book, though it's the author's first and the style is occasionally repetitive.

Originally posted at MySpace on 4/4/06

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