Book Review for AMERICAN DUCHESS by Karen Harper

William Morrow Paperbacks
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My Highly Caffeinated Thought: A stunningly written tale of loss, love, and a bit of gumption seen through the eyes of one woman.

AMERICAN DUCHESS is the inside look into a world few can truly understand. Harper brings to life Consuelo Vanderbilt for her readers by melding together the historical elements of the 19th century with heart and drama fit for…well…a Duchess.


One of the things the author brings to the forefront is the place of women. She not only tackles their roles in both families as well as in society, but also how women were working to make real change happen. Consuelo, as well as her mother, are forces not to be reckoned with. This truly resonated with me because Harper managed to breathe relevance for today into the historical events of the past.

All in all, this beautifully written story gives me the emotional moments I love, the spunk of several strong women, and what life in the nineteenth-century Gilded Age could be like. Loved it!

Reviewer Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher and TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Before there was Meghan Markle, there was Consuelo Vanderbilt, the original American Duchess.  Perfect for readers of Jennifer Robson and lovers of Downton Abbey.

Karen Harper tells the tale of Consuelo Vanderbilt, her “The Wedding of the Century” to the Duke of Marlborough, and her quest to find meaning behind “the glitter and the gold.”

On a cold November day in 1895, a carriage approaches St Thomas Episcopal Church on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Massive crowds surge forward, awaiting their glimpse of heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. Just 18, the beautiful bride has not only arrived late, but in tears, yet her marriage to the aloof Duke of Marlborough proceeds. Bullied into the wedding by her indomitable mother, Alva, Consuelo loves another. But a deal was made, trading some of the vast Vanderbilt wealth for a title and prestige, and Consuelo, bred to obey, realizes she must make the best of things.

At Blenheim Palace, Consuelo is confronted with an overwhelming list of duties, including producing an “heir and a spare,” but her relationship with the duke quickly disintegrates. Consuelo finds an inner strength, charming everyone from debutantes to diplomats including Winston Churchill, as she fights for women’s suffrage. And when she takes a scandalous leap, can she hope to attain love at last…?

From the dawning of the opulent Gilded Age, to the battles of the Second World War, American Duchess is a riveting tale of one woman’s quest to attain independence—at any price.

Find the book on Amazon, HarperCollins, and Barnes & Noble.

About the Author: New York Times and USA Today bestselling author KAREN HARPER is a former Ohio State University instructor and high school English teacher. Published since 1982, she writes contemporary suspense and historical novels about real British women. Two of her recent Tudor-era books were bestsellers in the UK and Russia. Harper won the Mary Higgins Clark Award for Dark Angel, and her novel Shattered Secrets was judged one of the best books of the year by Suspense Magazine.

Book Details:

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (February 26, 2019)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062748335
ISBN-13: 978-0062748331

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