What the Lady Wants (Paperback)

By Renee Rosen

Berkley Books, 9780451466716, 425pp.

Publication Date: November 4, 2014



In late-nineteenth-century Chicago, visionary retail tycoon Marshall Field made his fortune wooing women customers with his famous motto: "Give the lady what she wants." His legendary charm also won the heart of socialite Delia Spencer and led to an infamous love affair.

The night of the Great Fire, as seventeen-year-old Delia watches the flames rise and consume what was the pioneer town of Chicago, she can't imagine how much her life, her city, and her whole world are about to change. Nor can she guess that the agent of that change will not simply be the fire, but more so the man she meets that night...

Leading the way in rebuilding after the fire, Marshall Field reopens his well-known dry goods store and transforms it into something the world has never seen before: a glamorous palace of a department store. He and his powerhouse coterie--including Potter Palmer and George Pullman--usher in the age of robber barons, the American royalty of their generation.

But behind the opulence, their private lives are riddled with scandal and heartbreak. Delia and Marshall first turn to each other out of loneliness, but as their love deepens, they will stand together despite disgrace and ostracism, through an age of devastation and opportunity, when an adolescent Chicago is transformed into the gleaming White City of the Chicago's World's Fair of 1893.

About the Author

Renee Rosen is the author of Dollface and the young adult novel, Every Crooked Pot. She lives in Chicago where she is at work on a new novel.

Praise For What the Lady Wants

Praise for Dollface by RENÉE ROSEN

"Rosen has done her homework and written a flashy story that is more than your average gangster noir. Those interested in novels set in the 1920s and all things Gatsby will not be disappointed."—Library Journal (Starred Review)

"With the rat-a-tat tempo of a Tommy gun, Rosen delivers a smart and snappy shot of Roaring Twenties drama."—Booklist
  "There are few local writers who are more determined than Rosen. Her first, the novel "Every Crooked Pot," was published in 2007, and she has spent the intervening years immersing herself in local history and polishing her style. These have been years well spent and excitingly realized in Dollface."—Chicago Tribune   
“Rosen’s Chicago gangsters are vividly rendered, and the gun molls stir up at least as much trouble as their infamous men.”—Sara Gruen, New York Times Bestselling Author of Water for Elephants
“RenÉe Rosen has combined her daring and vivid imagination with the rich history of Prohibition-era Chicago. Dollface is a lively, gutsy romp of a novel that will keep you turning pages.”—Karen Abbott, New York Times Bestselling Author of Sin in the Second City  

Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com

  1. Do you find it acceptable that Marshall and Delia pursued their love affair? Or do you think they were wrong for going outside their marriages? In other words, is adultery ever justified?generic viagra price canada
  2. There’s a twenty year age difference between the Delia and Marshall. How do you account for Delia’s attraction to him? Was it his money? His power? Or was it something else? Do you think relationships between older men and younger women were more common in the late 19th century than they are now?generic viagra price canada
  3. Delia’s greatest desire was to be a mother and at one point she sets out to have a child with Marsh that she, Marsh and Arthur will go on to raise. Had she not lost the baby, how do you think this arrangement would have worked out? What do you think Nannie’s reaction would have been? What about Arthur’s parents? Do you think the children she “had” by the end of the book ultimately fulfilled her desire for motherhood?generic viagra price canada
  4. What do you think about how Delia handled her critics who spread rumors and blackballed her from high society? What should she have done differently, if anything? What do you think of the different reactions society had to Delia versus Marsh?generic viagra price canada
  5. During the late 1800s a woman could not easily seek a divorce and so Delia chose to stay with Arthur. Do you think she did that solely out of obligation or out of genuine love and friendship? What would you have done if put in the same situation?generic viagra price canada
  6. Loyalty is a big theme in this book. Delia is certainly loyal to Arthur and Marshall, but can you site other examples in the book? Do you think this is a strength or weakness of hers? Can you think of an instance or instances where you disagree with Delia’s sense of devotion?generic viagra price canada
  7. Delia and Marshall Field were part of a very elite social group known as the Prairie Avenue set. Did you find their sense of privilege more enchanting or annoying? What parts did you especially like? What parts did you not like?generic viagra price canada
  8. Had you been alive during the Great Chicago Fire, would you have stayed and helped rebuilt the city, or would you have moved on and possibly returned after the city had come back?generic viagra price canada
  9. The Haymarket Riots, which pitted the labor organizers against the capitalists and resulted in a deadly riot, marked a very pivotal time in our nation’s history. Delia was clearly opposed to Marshall’s decision to execute the accused men. Do you think she should have left him over this? How could she defend him to others when she was so strongly opposed to his position?Was this another case of loyalty and do you think she should she have stood by him?generic viagra price canada
  10. Delia has a very definite opinion of what makes a man a man. Do you think this is based upon her father? And how do you think her relationship with her father factors into her relationship with Marshall and how does it impact her feelings toward Arthur?generic viagra price canada
  11. How do you think department stores and retail in general has changed since the early days of Marshall Field & Company? What do you think would have been the best part of shopping in those days? Would you trade the convenience of online shopping for the charm and service offered at a store like Marshall Field & Company?generic viagra price canada