Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt

The Story of a Daughter and a Mother in the Gilded Age

By Amanda MacKenzie Stuart
Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060938253, 579pp.

Publication Date: January 2007

List Price: $17.99*
* Individual store prices may vary.
Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.


When Consuelo Vanderbilt's grandfather died, he was the richest man in America. Her father soon started to spend the family fortune, enthusiastically supported by Consuelo's mother, Alva, who was determined to take the family to the top of New York society--forcing a heartbroken Consuelo into a marriage she did not want with the underfunded Duke of Marlborough. But the story of Consuelo and Alva is more than a tale of enterprising social ambition, Gilded Age glamour, and the emptiness of wealth. It is a fascinating account of two extraordinary women who struggled to break free from the world into which they were born--a world of materialistic concerns and shallow elitism in which females were voiceless and powerless--and of their lifelong dedication to noble and dangerous causes and the battle for women's rights.

About the Author
Amanda Mackenzie Stuart took a first-class degree in history at the University of York. She has written and produced award-winning independent films, and her writings include historical screenplays. This is her first book.

Praise For Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt

“Riveting . . . [An] excellent biography . . . Mackenzie Stuart narrates with an elegance equal to her subject’s.”
-Francine du Plessix Gray, New York Times Book Review

“Impeccably researched . . . Mackenzie Stuart’s history marshals an impressive trove of primary documents.”
-The New Yorker

“Mackenzie Stuart has skillfully integrated a great deal of research... and she gives a rich sense of both women.”
-Washington Post Book World

“[A] fascinating dual biography.”

“A saga of transatlantic maneuvers worthy of Henry James or Edith Wharton.”
-Kirkus Reviews

“Book lovers, Anglophiles and social historians alike will find much to please them in this fine, well-researched biography.”
-Virginian Pilot

“[A] deftly contextualized account.”

“An intimate look at two women whose lives reveal changing social patterns. Just fascinating.”
-USA Today

“Skilfully and sympathetically told. . . . Brilliant.”
-Antonia Fraser, The Times (London)

“A riveting story... Alva and Consuelo emerge as unique and fascinating characters... A very entertaining read.”
-Publishers Weekly

“Astute. . . . A lively narrative. . . . Written with impressive verve and confidence.”

“Compellingly readable… [Mackenzie Stuart] writes... with the eye of an accomplished historian and with profound sympathy for the central figures.”
-Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Fascinating... A thoughtful portrait of two strong, well-educated women who were more than the measure of their extreme wealth.”
-Seattle Times

“highly readable, well constructed, novelish biography…a confident and compelling book.”
-Contemporary Review

Indie Bookstore Finder
EBbooks and EReaders
Find great gifts: Signed books
Link to IndieBound