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The Glitter and the Gold

The Glitter and the Gold 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 fulfil her social ambitions

  • Title: The Glitter and the Gold
  • Author: Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan
  • ISBN: 9781444731002
  • Page: 302
  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • 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 fulfil her social ambitions and marry an English Duke Leaving her life in America, she came to England as the Duchess of Marlborough in 1895 and took up residence in her new home Blenheim Palace.TheConsuelo 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 fulfil her social ambitions and marry an English Duke Leaving her life in America, she came to England as the Duchess of Marlborough in 1895 and took up residence in her new home Blenheim Palace.The 9th 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 V11 and Queen Alexandra to Tsar Nicholas, Prince Metternich and the young Winston Churchill.Causing a scandal by separating from the Duke after 11 years, Consuelo began her new life as philanthropist, public speaker and campaigner for women s suffrage Her literary soirees would include H G Wells, JM Barrie and George Bernard Shaw In 1921 she remarried aviator Jacques Balsan moving with him to a chateau in the South of France.This intimate, richly enjoyable memoir is a wonderfully revealing portrait of a golden age.

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      Published :2019-07-26T17:23:29+00:00

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    426 Comments

    1. This was a fascinating look at how the 1% lived at the turn of the twentieth century, including an interesting description of Winston Churchill as a young man.Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan was the American born wife of the 9th Duke of Marlborough. She was a member of the immensely rich Vanderbilt family and her cruel and ambitious mother arranged her marriage to an English duke who needed money to repair his house and pay his bills. An intelligent, well meaning, and kind lady, Consuelo did a great [...]


    2. 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


    3. 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 [...]


    4. 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 [...]


    5. 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 says more about the would-be "critic" rather than any hubris of the writer [...]


    6. 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 i [...]


    7. I think I'd enjoy a third person biography of Consuelo Vanderbilt-- I get the sense that there's a lot more to 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 th [...]



    8. What a wonderful "sleeper" book! I say sleeper because when I purchased this, I didn't expect more than the shallow musings of a life spent attending and giving parties. I was wrong! This American Duchess whom I had never heard of, led an adventurous life . Through her wealth and altruistic nature she undoubtedly affected future generations for the better. She lived through significant historical changes, from circulating in royal circles during the reign of Queen Victoria, to championing women' [...]


    9. Consuelo Vanderbilt's memoir tells the story of a famed trans-Atlantic marriage where the wealthy bride was sold to the bidder with the best title, the 9th Duke of Marlborough. The bride was famously locked in her room in the weeks before the wedding. This is a fascinating look at the world of titled European families in the last years of the 19th century up to the beginning of WWII. For those with money it seemed to be world of snobbery, ridgid hierarchy, obsessive attention to pointless detail [...]


    10. On PBS, Jessica Fellowes wrote about Downtown Abbey: "Americans may have picked up on the reference to the Marlboroughs –the marriage, or rather, divorce, between Consuelo Vanderbilt and the Duke of Marlborough. You can read more in her her autobiography, The Glitter and the Gold – it is a gripping tale of an unhappy marriage in the Edwardian era." This prompted me to borrow The Glitter and the Gold from the library; I quickly learned how realistic the BBC series is about American and Britis [...]


    11. I would have given this book 5 stars, but I found out while reading that it was ghost written, and not fully by the author. I was very impressed by the writing and the matter-of-fact descriptions of a sometimes depressing childhood and early marriage of an American heiress who becomes the Duchess of Marlborough, has her obligatory two male heirs and then finds true love with a Frenchman.The biography/memoir is beautifully written and my love for stories like Wharton's The Buccaneers makes me wan [...]


    12. A very interesting book. As a Downton Abbey fan, I found the real life goings on of Consuelo Vanderbilt very intriguing. I'm mystified that there weren't more beheadings. Actually I'm surprised that we aren't still beheading people today. The flagrant unfair distribution of the wealth and disregard for our fellow man is sickening no matter which century it occurs. Consuelo did a very good job of retelling her life. I'm impressed. This book gets an 8 on my 10 scale.


    13. I won this book in a First/Reads giveaway.I think I would enjoy a third person biography better. I get the sense that there is more to the story than what she herself presents. I also found the need to google her to read more about the people she was talking about since she tends to not use names. (i.e. “Marlborough” in place of “Charles”) But it is a good story and quite interesting for those interested in the gilded age.


    14. Interesting story written in a most uninteresting way. Consuelo Vanderbilt had an amazing life: raised with unlimited money by an evil, social-climbing mother, married off when young to the Duke of Marlborough, living a life as duchess in a Downton-Abbey-style castle, traveling the world, later (finally) divorcing and going on to be a great philanthropist and women's rights activist. But not a writer, sadly. The book was a snore.


    15. I read this book a couple of years ago after visiting Biltmore (Consuelo's uncle's home in North Carolina), but I wanted to revisit it after reading To Marry An English Lord and understanding more about the time period and society that Consuelo lived in. I found it even more fascinating the second time around! If you are interested in the Gilded Age and the British aristocracy at the turn of the last century, this is a treat.


    16. I can truly say this book has beaten me. It's a rare thing for me to completely give up halfway through a book but this one takes the cake. It has officially bored me to death.


    17. This is Consuelo Vanderbilt's memoir, the tale of her life in her own words. Born in 1877, Consuelo was the great-granddaughter of Commodore Vanderbilt, the founding father of the wealth that made the family famous. Consuelo grew up in great luxury but with a rigid and authoritarian mother who achieved her crowning ambition for her daughter by marrying her off (against Consuelo's will) to the Duke of Marlborough. As Consuelo relates, the marriage was not a success from the beginning and ultimate [...]


    18. I really enjoyed it, although it ended up being more about Consuelo Vanderbilt's life as a philanthropist than about her privileged upbringing as a member of the Vanderbilt family. I toured Marble House in Newport, Rhode Island a few years ago, a gorgeous, opulent mansion where Consuelo lived part-time for a few years as a youth. I got interested in her story then, how her domineering mother married her off young to an English lord, and how her life wasn't her own. It seemed so sad. It was a fas [...]


    19. This was one of those books that straddled the line between three and four stars for me. I read a lot of people complaining about the poor little rich girl mentality that often came across from the author, but isn't that to be expected from someone who grew up with the name Vanderbilt and became the Duchess of Marlborough? At points Consuelo came across as positively upbeat about her lot in life, despite tales I've heard to the contrary. I saw this book as a window into a way of life in a certai [...]


    20. This memoir tells the tale of an American heiress, who must leave the man she loves and marry her mother’s choice of an English Duke in the late 1800s. She and others like her, brought the financial means to save many aristocratic estates in England, but struggled with the differences in societal norms between England and the U.S. While she lacked love, Consuelo did her best to use her position for good, and reports on both the internal and external society of the times, mentioning some of the [...]


    21. I bought the book after visiting Blenheim Palace and was fascinated by the history. Unfortunately, although it is a great story the style of the writing in the book was very poor. I felt it was more a book of who's who then an insight into her personal thoughts and life. The story just goes from one party to another with no real detail or perspective.


    22. This is an interesting depiction of the life of the very rich at the start of the 20th Century. However, she is self righteous to the highest degree. The criticisms of anything she doesn't approve of get annoying. Many stories are told too fast and sound like a recital of facts rather than an interesting anecdote. I struggled to finish the book.


    23. Very interesting story of Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, Consuelo was one of the many rich american women who married British men with a title and the money they brought with them helped save many historic homes and estates. Consuelo traveled the world with her first husband and was a fashion icon with her clothes and jewelry.


    24. I am always intrigued with the lives of women in history. This biography definitely shows that dysfunctional families are in every socioeconomic status. Poor Consuelo she was a complete pawn of her birth. A lamb sold to the highest bidder of a title and then used as a brood mare. She was lucky enough to be able to find love later in life.


    25. Consuelo led a fascinating life. One would think it was all easy but in truth it wasn't. True, wealth was helpful, especially towards helping others in the onset of WWII. She certainly was kind hearted towards children and didn't seem to mind but thought it was her duty.




    26. A very interesting and well-written account of a fascinating life. Consuelo had two very separate chapters In her life and the book is divided into two parts, written quite differently.


    27. I was very much looking forward to reading this memoir. Consuelo Vanderbilt was one of the "American duchesses" who basically exchanged a fortune in order to marry into a title, and she clearly had an extremely interesting life. This book is told in a very straightforward manner, though, and she was careful not to discuss the Duke of Marlborough (her first husband) as well as a lot of the other important people she spent time with. It's a good read if you're interested in who she socialized with [...]


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