A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts

A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts

A novel of a family as they rule Gilded-Age New York,

In 1883, the New York Times prints a lengthy rave of Alva Vanderbilt's Fifth Ave. costume ball--a coup for the former Alva Smith, who not long before was destitute, her family's good name useless on its own. Marrying into the newly rich but socially scorned Vanderbilt clan, a union contrived by Alva's bestfriend and now-Duchess of Manchester, saved the Smiths--and elevated the Vanderbilts.

From outside, Alva seems to have it all and want more. She does have a knack for getting all she tries for: the costume ball--no mere amusement--wrests acceptance from doyenne Caroline Astor. Denied abox at the Academy of Music, Alva founds The Met. No obstacle puts her off for long.

But how much of ambition arises from insecurity? From despair? From refusal to play insipid games by absurd rules? --There are, however, consequences to breaking those rules. One must tread carefully.

And what of her maddening sister-in-law, Alice? Her husband William, who's hiding a terrible betrayal? The not-entirely-unwelcome attentions of his friend Oliver Belmont, who is everything William is not? What of her own best friend, whose troubles cast a wide net?

Alva will build mansions, push boundaries, test friendships, and marry her daughter to England's most eligible duke or die trying. She means to do right by all, but good behavior will only get a woman so far. What is the price of going further? What might be the rewards? There's only one way to know for certain...

Title:A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts
ISBN:9781250095473
Format Type:

    A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts Reviews

  • Therese Fowler

    Yes, I'm rating my own novel five stars. Would anyone expect an author to do otherwise? If you enjoy Jane Austen or Edith Wharton novels, if reading fiction about real figures from history interests y...

  • Diane S ?

    THE GILDED AGE, a time of unprecented economic growth, the robber barons and their new money. Huge mansions, larger than life balls, and over the top furnishings. I have read biographies of Rockefelle...

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    4 gilded stars to a Well-Behaved Woman! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ A childhood visit to The Biltmore Estate will certainly add Vanderbilt intrigue to one’s list of interests, and I lapped up this story of Alva...

  • Dem

    Well behaved women seldom make history Laurel Thatcher UlrichA detailed, fast paced and well written historical fiction novel which is based on the life of Alva Vanderbilt the powerful socialite of...

  • Liz

    3.5 stars, rounded upI’ve often thanked my lucky stars I was born when I was. The idea of one’s sole goal in life being to manage a “good” marriage is soul deadening. And when that prospect is...

  • Marialyce

    4.5 well done historical starsThey say you can never have enough money. They say that money can't buy happiness. They say that money is the route of all evil. Alva Vanderbilt to the world had everythi...

  • Roman Clodia

    The blurb describes Alva Vanderbilt as 'outspoken, brave, brilliant, fierce': what a shame, then, that the book portrays her as conventional, proper, limited by her attention to social mores and despe...

  • Susan

    Alva Smith marries William Vanderbilt when her family is destitute and headed for the poor house. The well to do in New York said she married him for his money and she did but he married her for other...

  • Cindy Burnett

    4.5 starsA Well-Behaved Woman is a fabulous story about Alva Vanderbilt and her determination to succeed in cut-throat, Gilded-Age New York. Fowler humanizes Alva and presents her in a way that will h...

  • Lisa

    A fascinating and fabulous story of a strong, independent woman well ahead of her time. SUMMARYAlva Smith’s mother was deceased, her father was ailing and her family was quickly becoming destitute. ...