The Husband Hunters
American Heiresses Who Married into the British Aristocracy
Anne de Courcy
St. Martin's Griffin
A delicious group biography of the young American heiresses who married into the British aristocracy at the turn of the twentieth century – the real women who inspired Downton Abbey.
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.
Where They Came From
The year was 1873 and the Gilded Age was roaring into life. New York seemed to be growing by the minute, new and ever more splendid buildings rising in the centre with ramshackle housing filled...
Praise for The Husband Hunters
Praise for The Husband Hunters:
Editor's Choice, New York Times
“[The American heiresses] were just what was needed to shake the cocktail and bring some pizazz to the party. De Courcy conjures it all with skill.” —New York Times Book Review
“A true account of the women who inspired Downton Abbey… [de Courcy explores] what life was like for them after their moves and the clash of cultures that ensued.”—Vanity Fair
“A highly readable social history that contains all the juicy drama of a primetime soap opera." —Kirkus Reviews
“Vanderbilts, Astors, Churchills, Marlboroughs; diamonds, tiaras, yachts, mansions; all are documented in glorious detail and should satisfy those readers with insatiable thirst for all things peerage.”—Booklist
“Fascinating…enough glitz and glamour to enthrall those who couldn’t get enough of the recent royal nuptials.”—Publishers Weekly
"Witty and well researched, Anne de Courcy brings to colorful, dramatic life these dollar princesses whose vast fortunes propelled them to glittering trans-Atlantic marriages that captivated international society."—Daisy Goodwin, New York Times bestselling author of The Fortune Hunter
“Anne de Courcy has a sharp instinct for absurdity and there is much of that in this entertaining book.” – Anne Sebba, Literary Review