86 of 87 people found the following review helpful
What a World! What a World!,
This review is from: To Marry an English Lord or, How Anglomania Really Got Started (Paperback)
Those few of us who have wondered why in the world a comfortable, cosseted American girl would want to marry an Englishman and live in a cold climate in an even colder stone castle will find answers here, even if the answers aren't satisfactory to the modern ear.
Think of it: wealthy American society girls, products of generations of men and women who gave lives and fortunes to escape a Royalist society, thought it a worthy investment of their lives, loves and wealth to buy an English title in the form of a husband. It's understandable that men who have no money and are saddled with huge estates and titles with no way to support themselves "in the manner to which they have become accustomed" would search out these women. It's another matter to understand the women, especially if they were bright and energetic (like the fabled Jenny Jerome).
Of course the first women to get involved in this weird method of social climbing didn't realize what was involved. (Though why American society decided that an English title was important in the United States, especially if it could be bought with money, still escapes me.) The problems included loveless husbands who paid little attention to their wives and carried on affairs; cold and drafty castles into which Papa sank tons of money to no avail as far as comfort was concerned; families who refused to accept them in spite (or because) of the fact that they provided the money to keep the lifestyle intact; servants who often were sulky and rebellious ("but we've ALWAYS done it that way"); children they handed over to nannies. The first brides must have kept the hardships and loneliness from the succeeding generation, for the rage for English titles prevailed from the mid-19th century almost through the mid-20th century.
TO MARRY AN ENGLISH LORD is a fascinating and complete look at these women and the lives they led. Illustrations showing the homes and households of the times and how they operated, fashions, maps, photographs of the women and their friends, families and husbands all combine to present the core of that particular section of society in that particular age.
The book is meticulously researched and includes a bibliography, a register of American heiresses, a suggested walking tour of the women's London and a very handy index. It's built around the stories of these women and the men who wooed and won them. Who they were, what they did and what the consequences were -- all adds up to an intriguing and fascinating read.
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Initial post: Jan 24, 2013 6:57:32 PM PST
Good and interesting review of this book. Sad, though, to think these woman, American or otherwise could and would enter into these " contracts" really, for some kind of title etc. tells much about their self esteem or lack there of and their character. Another time and place, although similar things occur nowadays. Kind of ticks me off. Actually kind of boils my blood when I think about exactly what they gave up for a title. Themselves! Makes me sad.
Posted on Jan 28, 2014 3:28:09 PM PST
Anne W says:
Great review and well written. Thank you.
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