In a Gilded Cage: From Heiress to Duchess

Marian Fowler, Author St. Martin's Press $24.95 (319p) ISBN 978-0-312-11289-9
Between 1870 and 1914, 100 American women married into British nobility, usually offering wealth in exchange for social status. In this lively and gossipy biography, Fowler (Below the Peacock Fan: First Ladies of the Raj) describes five marriages uniting British dukes and wealthy American women. Consuelo Yznaga, for example, upon whom Edith Wharton based the character of Conchita Closson in The Buccaneers, endured the Eighth Duke of Manchester's philandering by becoming a society leader. Lily Hammersley ignored the mistresses of her husband, the Eighth Duke of Marlborough. However, Consuelo Vanderbilt, who was forced by her mother to mary the Ninth Duke of Marlborough, subsequently divorced him, became a feminist and wrote an autobiography, The Glitter and the Gold. After Helena Zimmerman married the Ninth Duke of Manchester, he gambled away her fortune. Only May Goelet's marriage to the Duke of Roxburghe was successful, according to Fowler, because they married for love. Photos not seen by PW. (Nov.)
Reviewed on: 10/31/1994
Release date: 11/01/1994
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