The Husband Hunters: Social Climbing in London and New York
|Author:||Anne de Courcy|
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.
From the rackety to the respectable, from the miserable failures to the triumphant successes, each story is told with the same wit and dexterity that make the author one of the most readable social historians writing today -- Martin Williams * COUNTRY LIFE * Cleverly researched, sparkling with diamonds and wickedly funny -- Jane Ridley * THE SPECTATOR 'Books of the Year' * De Courcy's books are diverting and full of fascinating anecdotes and shrewd commentary. This one is no exception. Describing the fortunes of young American heiresses pushed into courtship and marriage with impoverished English aristocrats, she reminds the reader that social climbing and snobbery are abiding features in human nature * CATHOLIC HERALD * Anne de Courcy has a sharp instinct for absurdity and there is much of that in this entertaining book -- Anne Sebba * LITERARY REVIEW * Delectably gossip-filled history * THE SUNDAY TELEGRAPH * This is an entertaining read even if your ancestors were not aristocratic, providing insights into the upper classes on both sides of the Atlantic. * WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE magazine * De Courcy is a spirited writer who has thoroughly researched her subject -- Vanessa Berridge * SUNDAY EXPRESS * To both serious social historians and Downtonish aristo-fanciers it will be pure catnip. The book is well written and full of detail -- Libby Purves * TLS * Anne de Courcy has written the definitive account of the real-life buccaneers ... de Courcy argues with conviction that it wasn't simply about money. Englishmen found the dollar princesses irresistible and were drawn to their vitality, social ease and lack of stuffiness ... De Courcy is excellent on the cultural clashes between the Americans and British -- Paula Byrne * THE TIMES * (A) hugely entertaining chronicle of cash for coronets -- Nicholas Shakespeare * THE SPECTATOR * This is a sparkling and richly entertaining account of an intriguing and unusual culture clash -- Kathryn Hughes * THE MAIL ON SUNDAY * An acidly funny account of the unholy alliance between eye-wateringly rich and socially ambitious American women and a clutch of impoverished British peers ... the extravagant ostentation that de Courcy serves up in her delectably gossip-filled book is of the sort that modern-day oligarchs still revere. Think fin-de-siecle trashy... Lively, shrewd and fresh as a gilded rose, de Courcy's book is her best yet. I can't wait to read it again -- Miranda Seymour * THE DAILY TELEGRAPH *
Anne de Courcy is the author of thirteen widely acclaimed works of social history and biography, including MARGOT AT WAR, THE FISHING FLEET, THE VICEROY'S DAUGHTERS and DEBS AT WAR. She lives in London and Gloucestershire.