From the bestselling author of Z - a novel of Zelda Fitzgerald, Therese Fowler's new novel goes back to the origins of the Jazz Age - the Gilded Age of New York Society in the late 19th/early 20th century - with a the page-turning and sympathetic account of Alva Vanderbilt - the woman who rewrote the rules of New York Society.
OUTSPOKEN. BRAVE. BRILLIANT. FIERCE.
Alva Smith, her Southern family destitute after the Civil War, married into one of America's great Gilded Age dynasties: the newly wealthy but socially shunned Vanderbilts. Ignored by New York's old-money circles and determined to win respect, she designed and built nine mansions, hosted grand balls, and arranged for her daughter to marry a duke. But Alva also defied convention for women of her time, asserting power within her marriage and becoming a leader in the women's suffrage movement.
With a nod to Jane Austen and Edith Wharton, Therese Anne Fowler paints a glittering world of enormous wealth contrasted against desperate poverty, of social ambition and social scorn, of friendship and betrayal, and an unforgettable story of a remarkable woman.
GOOD BEHAVIOUR WILL ONLY GET A WOMAN SO FAR.
About the Author
Therese Anne Fowler was born in Illinois and is a graduate of North Carolina State University, where she earned a BA in sociology and an MFA in creative writing.
A very lively read - Independent
A pacy, elegant
novel, powered by a heroine who parlays her pluck into real clout. - Mail on SundayFascinating . . . a glittering depiction of a woman ahead of her time who absolutely refused to be second best
- RedA fascinating tale of liberation and self-sufficiency that conjures up the work of Edith Wharton
. . . a wholly absorbing
tale that transports the reader to the Gilded Age of the 1800s. It's the perfect Sunday afternoon-in-bed read.
- StylistTherese Anne Fowler's portrait of this feisty, forward-thinking woman is enthralling
- Good HousekeepingSure to enthral
- Harper's BazaarThis novel is a treat.
Fowler's attention to period detail is both mesmerising and delicately drawn
and the cast of recognisable characters such as the Astors, the Mandevilles and those from the British aristocracy are intriguing
. The novel offers an unsentimental, thought provoking and nuanced examination of an extraordinary life
during a time where women were grossly undervalued and oppressed. Alva demanded and achieved more, altering the course of women's lives in unprecedented ways. Fowler has articulated her narrative in an utterly fascinating account of gender politics
that still bears a deep resonance today. Alva's story has been resurrected and made newly unforgettable
. - Irish TimesA very lively read . . . with Alva's social manoeuvring depicted in all its glory,
along with her willingness to defy social convention as an advocate of African American rights, a divorcee and, later, a prominent campaigner for women's suffrage. - Irish News