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Sisters of Fortune: America's Caton Sisters at Home and Abroad Hardcover – April 5, 2011

4.0 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Marianne, Louisa, Bess, and Emily Caton were heiresses of the early 19th century with impeccable American breeding. Three of them sailed to England, married aristocrats, and left a legacy of public success, financial savvy, and an independence worthy of their family's heritage: their grandfather, a wealthy planter, was a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Wake (Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Unconventional Daughter) details the sisters' formative years with their grandfather Charles Carroll, their early favorable impression in England, and their high-status marriages. Although the sisters were sometimes labeled fortune seekers, Wade proves that their intelligence and diplomacy often improved the positions of their husbands, including Emily, who married a Canadian and eventually returned to Maryland. In between descriptions of parties in Regency England and post-Restoration France and intimate pre-Victorian royal relationships, the Catons' deep interest in financial ventures, improving acceptance of Catholicism, their founding of orphanages, and their intense familial relationships support Wake's assertion that these remarkable women successfully negotiated unpopular issues that might have ruined lesser women. In Wake's hands, the sisters still dazzle, blending continental influences with their enviable but heartbreaking adventures in England and France. 16 pages of color and 16 pages of b&w photos; 2 maps. (Apr.)
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Sisters of Fortune is a fabulous parade through the best drawing rooms of 19th Century Europe. Rich, beautiful, and utterly fascinating, the Caton sisters deserve to be celebrated just like the Langhornes and the Mitfords.” --Amanda Foreman, bestselling author of Georgiana

"A fascinating picture of a transatlantic world where rich women could achieve extraordinary social power by sticking with their sisters and being shrewd with their money." --Jane Ridley, Spectator UK

"The story of the Caton sisters sounds like the plot of an Edwardian novel by Henry James or Edith Wharton ... remarkable ... fascinating ... a rare pleasure." --Frances Wilson, The Sunday Times

"Enthralling ... This transatlantic celebration of sisterhood is a most gripping and fascinating tale, both scholarly and a page turner. Jehanne Wake handles a vast amount of material with confidence and even-handedness."--Anne Sebba, The Literary Review

"A true story worthy of Henry James, Jehanne Wake’s Sisters of Fortune: America’s Caton Sisters at Home and Abroad (Touchstone) follows the divergent fates of four strong-willed heiresses who, in the early nineteenth century, took European hearts by storm." --vogue.com

“The voice of each sister shines through. . . . Catnip for those who appreciate thorough research . . . If Masterpiece Theater or HBO has not grabbed this property, they should do so.” –The Washington Times

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Touchstone (April 5, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 145160761X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1451607611
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,093,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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on April 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover
44 comments| 23 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on September 24, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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on June 8, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
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on April 24, 2012
Format: Hardcover
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