Sisters of Fortune: America's Caton Sisters at Home and Abroad

Sisters of Fortune: America's Caton Sisters at Home and Abroad

4.5 20
by Jehanne Wake
     
 

View All Available Formats & Editions

Perfect for fans of the Emmy Award–winning series Downton Abbey, whose creator, Julian Fellowes, raved that Sisters of Fortune is “absolutely fascinating”—a real-life Jane Austen story, that follows the fabulous Caton sisters, the first American heiresses to take Europe by storm.

Based on intimate and previously unpublishedSee more details below

Overview

Perfect for fans of the Emmy Award–winning series Downton Abbey, whose creator, Julian Fellowes, raved that Sisters of Fortune is “absolutely fascinating”—a real-life Jane Austen story, that follows the fabulous Caton sisters, the first American heiresses to take Europe by storm.

Based on intimate and previously unpublished letters written by the sisters, this is a portrait of four lively and fashionable women in early nineteenth century America. Much of it is told in their own voices as they gossip about prominent people of their time, advise family members on political and financial strategy, soothe each other’s sorrows, and rejoice in each other’s triumphs.

Descended from one of the nation’s founding fathers and raised to be educated, independent, and opinionated young women, Marianne, Bess, Louisa, and Emily Caton traveled to England in 1816 and won coveted places at the highest levels of Regency society by virtue of their charm, intelligence, and great beauty. An unusual, remarkable true story of money, love, and life at the top, Sisters of Fortune is a romantic family history and an inside look at the adventures of America’s original blue-blooded girls.

Read More

Editorial Reviews

Megan Mashall
Wake…has extracted a fascinating tale from her voluminous materials. The sisters' correspondence is thick with details of dress and d�cor, court gossip, family news and bulletins on health…Wake's truly remarkable accomplishment, however, is extra-biographical. She succeeds in tracing "the filmy threads of women's influence" in high society on both sides of the Atlantic through more than six decades, using the Caton sisters' lives as touchstones.
—The New York Times
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.)
From the Publisher
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

Library Journal
Covering 100 years, from America's Revolutionary beginnings to the death of the last surviving sister at the height of the Victorian age, Wake (Princess Louise: Queen Victoria's Unconventional Daughter) tells the story of the four Caton sisters, granddaughters of the wealthy Charles Carroll of Maryland, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration. Based on unpublished archival sources, this is a meticulously researched, highly readable narrative. Born into a world of wealth and breeding, the sisters were unusually independent, financially savvy, and politically conscious. They traveled overseas and mixed in Europe with the best of post-Waterloo society. This engrossing biography focuses primarily on the three eldest sisters, who came to make their homes in England during a formative period in Anglo-American relations. Wake provides revealing glimpses into the anti-Catholic and anti-American biases of the period, with the sisters' lives challenging the era's stereotypical assumptions about women's lack of financial acumen. VERDICT Enhanced by illustrations revealing the homes, fashions, and personalities of the time, this fascinating book yields rich insights into a world where wealth gave certain women unprecedented access to power and influence. Intended and recommended for readers interested in history and the romantic world of 19th-century European aristocracy.—Marie M. Mullaney, Caldwell Coll., NJ

Read More

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781451607642
Publisher:
Touchstone
Publication date:
04/05/2011
Sold by:
SIMON & SCHUSTER
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
416
Sales rank:
372,532
File size:
9 MB

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network

     

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >