The Glitter and the Gold

The Glitter and the GoldDidn t finish Didn t like. Consuelo Vanderbilt had an amazing life The Glitter and the Gold gives a look into the days of one of the most famous women of American and English turn of the century aristocracy Even though she grew up in some of the most famous houses on Fifth Avenue, Newport RI and England, her childhood was a sad one She had the misfortune of having Alva Vanderbilt as her mother Alva was a strong, selfish and ruthless mother In fact, she locked away Consuelo and kept her prisoner until she agreed to marry the arrogant and violent Duke of Marlborough Consuelo disliked the big mansions especially Marble House how could she In the end, however, she was able to find true love with Jacques Balsan The writing is a bit awkward, but somehow adds to the veracity Even when describing terrible treatment, Vanderbilt Balsan retains the understated tact of an aristocrat Interesting read. I m a tad confused In other books, I ve read how absolutely miserable consuelo s marriage was, but there is no mud racking in this autobiography Amazing how within a couple of generations spurned ex wives would so willingly spill their dirty laundry for all the works to read I ve seen this book and its author take some rather harsh, and I believe unwarranted, criticism Granted, I have a particular interest in the history of the Vanderbilts and this is the fourth or fifth book I ve read involving their legacy, so I was already familiar with some of what Mrs Balsan relates here However, referring to her as snobbish simply because of her use of formal English and rather common French idioms saysabout the would be critic rather than any hubris of the writer s I very much enjoyed Consuelo s writing style, managing to impart her struggles and passions without buying into the poor little rich girl narrative with which the world sought to burden her She never seeks to invoke pity I also found that she manages to talk about tireless work and great accomplishments in philanthropy without a hint of self aggrandizement In her world of such extreme comfort, she found true meaning in helping others.Another frequent complaint about The Glitter and the Gold is that too much of it reads like a list of famous people the former Duchess met and entertained Where I do find some of these passages to be a little tedious, knowing your Vanderbilt history comes in handy I also think it would ve been interesting to hearabout her feelings during some of the well known and public events in her life However, this is someone for whom publishing thepainful and salacious details would have been untoward I think the Downton Abbey craze helps sales of books like these but then also condemns them to undue criticism when the story doesn t move along like a romance novel The Countess of Carnarvon s books on Highlclere Castle are great examples of this much of the real and very interesting history of Highclere can be found in the plot of the tv show, but people find the books boring because they re not juicy enough My suggestion, for anyone truly interested in the history and culture of this period or this family, is to read Alva and Consuelo Vanderbilt first I think that book gives a farcomplete picture and that this book makes a nice supplement to it Overall, a very enjoyable read. I think I d enjoy a third person biography of Consuelo Vanderbilt I get the sense that there s a lotto the story than she herself presents it Fun for fans of the gilded age, but for the most part not too exciting the frivolity of the London season is so tiring weekend hunting parties at Blenheim palace are ever so tiring for the hostess etc Then, in the last twenty pages, the story becomes completely and unexpectedly gripping as the author and her husband are trying to get out of the way of the Nazi invasion of France A decent read all in all, if a bit slack toward the middle. Very readable and Consuelo is imminently likable.The idle rich, creating so much poverty and pretending their social causes makeof difference than paying a fair wage would.Sigh.We are in the height of our own gilded age I hope we treat those benefiting financially from huge societal inequalities marked worse than the robber barons.Late stage capitalism is a bitch.Reminds me again of why I loathe the suffragettes Suffragettes were never feminist. I am totally conflicted about this book It is republished from the original in 1953 It is the autobiography of most of the life of a woman whose family is partial heirs to the Cornelius Vanderbilt fortune At age 17 Consuelo has an arranged marriage to the Duke of Marlborough in England It has been reprinted because of the success of the Downton Abbey series on PBS What I liked was the incite into the heads to the very, very wealthy of the late 1800 s and early 1900 s You meet royalty and important people by the score You enjoy their formal dinners and their ball People like Churchill keep popping up at these gatherings But, even with all the wealth her marriage fails and we are told her second marriage is a much happier one What I didn t enjoy was her constant name dropping of royals and others many times with very little explanation about who they were Also, this is a woman who has a life others only dream about not because of her own talent but only because of her family Although later in life she does help orphans and sick kids but in general it is a guiltless life of privilege She has no problem using her wealth to help flee the Nazis from France in the 1940 s I am reading an ARC so the only visual aid is her photo in the front cover I truly hope that in the published edition in October they will have photos of the important people in her life The book is worth reading to be sure but it is a flawed work in many ways. A remarkable and detailed book, Consuelo writes of her life up until she escapes Europe after the Nazis invade France during World War 2 Consuelo met everyone from the last Tsars of Russia and Queen Victoria to Bernard Shaw and J.M.Barrie Her account tells of a different time that even when writing was aware had disappeared Truly brilliant Oh, poor little Consuelo When reading this book, I didn t know if I should throw it against the wall, or simply muddle through to see if there were any redeeming qualities about poor little rich girl Alas, I found none Self absorbed, she pats herself on the back for dividing the food in the tins given to the poor Others, she notes, simple through all the left over food in the container mixing it all together This indeed, was her claim to fame Of course, she hated her domineering mother who locked her in her room, forbidding her to come out until she agreed to marry the title Duke of Marlborough Finally, when she agreed, she was whisked away to England to a life in Blenheim palace.Hobnobbing with little Winston Churchill and his mother, there are pages and pages about the families who snipped and sneered.There were way too many pages of who royalty , when always and how in high style gliding their way throughout the glamours balls.I should have stopped reading at 50 pages, but after visiting New Port, RI often and touring the homes, I thought this book would be interested.Not recommended Save your time and money for something worthwhile Or, if you buy it, donate it to the poor and be like Consuelo, give yourself a hearty dose of self congratulation for sharing Consuelo Vanderbilt Was Young, Beautiful And The Heir To A Vast Family Fortune She Was Also Deeply In Love With An American Suitor When Her Mother Chose Instead For Her To Fulfill Her Social Ambitions And Marry An English Duke Leaving Her Life In America, She Came To England As The Duchess Of Marlborough InAnd Took Up Residence In Her New Home Blenheim PalaceThe Ninth Duchess Gives Unique First Hand Insight Into Life At The Very Pinnacle Of English Society In The Edwardian Era An Unsnobbish, But Often Amused Observer Of The Intricate Hierarchy Both Upstairs And Downstairs At Blenheim Palace, She Is Also A Revealing Witness To The Glittering Balls, Huge Weekend Parties And Major State Occasions She Attended Or Hosted Here Are Her Encounters With Every Important Figure Of The Day From Queen Victoria, Edward VII And Queen Alexandra To Tsar Nicholas, Prince Metternich And The Young Winston ChurchillThis Intimate, Richly Enjoyable Memoir Is A Wonderfully Revealing Portrait Of A Golden Age

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  • Audio CD
  • The Glitter and the Gold
  • Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan
  • 08 April 2019
  • 9781452610269

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