The Husband Hunters: Book summary and reviews of The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy

The Husband Hunters

American Heiresses Who Married into the British Aristocracy

by Anne de Courcy

The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy X
The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy

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Book Summary

A deliciously told group biography of the young, rich, American heiresses who married into the impoverished 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.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Fascinating…enough glitz and glamour to enthrall those who couldn't get enough of the recent royal nuptials." - Publishers Weekly

"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

"A highly readable social history that contains all of the juicy drama of a prime-time soap opera." – Kirkus

"Anne de Courcy has a sharp instinct for absurdity and there is much of that in this entertaining book." – Literary Review (UK)

"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." - The Times (UK)

"Cleverly researched, sparkling with diamonds and wickedly funny." – Jane Ridley, The Spectator, "Books of the Year" (UK)

"An acidly funny account of the unholy alliance between eye-wateringly rich and socially ambitious American women and a clutch of impoverished British peers ... Lively, shrewd and fresh as a gilded rose. ... I can't wait to read it again." - The Daily Telegraph (UK)

"A sparkling and richly entertaining account of an intriguing and unusual culture clash." - The Mail on Sunday (UK)

"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's thrilling prose, and fascinating diaries and letters of the period, means the story of the capitulation of British lords to 400 energetic American heiresses is impossible to put down." - Rebecca Fraser, author of The Mayflower

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Author Information

Anne de Courcy

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.

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