BookBrowse Reviews A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler

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A Well-Behaved Woman

A Novel of the Vanderbilts

by Therese Anne Fowler

A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler X
A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler
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  • First Published:
    Oct 2018, 400 pages
    Paperback:
    Oct 1, 2019, 528 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Davida Chazan
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Marrying William K. Vanderbilt may have solved Alva Smith's financial problems, but it was her own tenacity that gained her and this wealthy family recognition in society. But at what cost?

The full title of A Well-Behaved Woman includes the subtitle A Novel of the Vanderbilts which is mostly accurate, but in truth this story is more specifically about Alva Erskine Smith, who married into the Vanderbilt family to save herself and her sisters from their family's failing fortunes. The marriage was a political one; despite Alva's family's relative penury, they had enough social cachet to be considered worthy of the higher echelons of society, whereas the Vanderbilts, despite their enormous wealth, were considered nouveau riche and unworthy of high society. Alva was the person who changed all of that (see Beyond the Book).

Therese Anne Fowler begins her novel with Alva trying to catch William K. Vanderbilt's eye, and get him to propose to her. Once that happens, the story moves steadily forward, giving us a portrait of a very determined woman, with ...

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