This is the last of the three books I have read during the three-month quarantine that I am reviewing. As well, it would be the last non-academic reading material I will be engaging in as school will start in two weeks! I have to admit though that I am quite excited about going back to school, online, or otherwise.
The American Duchess is not the first book I have read from Karen Harper’s work. It was engaging, and the marketing tagline was “Before there was Meghan Markle, there was Consuelo Vanderbilt.” As I was fascinated by the lives of those “Million Dollar American Princesses”, I was overjoyed to find the book in Scribd, of all places.
In a nutshell, The American Duchess is a fictionalised account of Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan’s life–starting from her debut in society, then her wedding to Charles, Duke of Marlborough, and then her divorce, and her second marriage, this time to Jacques Balsan. All well and good. The story was a page-turner, like The Royal Nanny, the first book of Karen Harper’s that I’ve read.
I loved the book, but there are parts of it that sounded forced. I can’t reveal particular passages, as it would be very spoilery. Nevertheless, it was an engaging read, and it also imparted an important lesson: Money does not bring happiness. Money didn’t guarantee Consuelo a happy marriage to the Duke of Marlborough.
However, the book made me imagine what Consuelo must’ve looked like at that time, what she did, and what she thought. And despite those cringey portions, it made Consuelo a little more human.
While I recommend reading this book, I would also like to warn the reader not to expect to be bowled over. I give this book three stars.