Women of Means: The Fascinating Biographies of Royals, Heiresses, Eccentrics and Other Poor Little Rich Girls

Women of Means: The Fascinating Biographies of Royals, Heiresses, Eccentrics and Other Poor Little Rich Girls

by Marlene Wagman-Geller


$14.95 $16.95 Save 12% Current price is $14.95, Original price is $16.95. You Save 12%.
View All Available Formats & Editions
Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for delivery by Wednesday, July 28


A Glimpse Behind the Façade of Rich and Famous Women

“…wild, witty, gossipy, and glamourous. A sheer delight.” ―Becca Anderson, author of Badass Women Give the Best Advice

#1 Best Seller in Women's Studies and Biographies of the Rich & Famous and Royalty

An intimate portrait of women of privilege. As Becca Anderson recommends, read about “heiress Barbara Hutton's outrageous lifestyle, Jackie O as a step-mom, Patty Hearst's many adventures, Peggy Guggenheim's collection of art (and men), and Almira Carnarvon, the real-life counterpart to Lady Cora of Downton Abbey. Simply Splendid.”

The Grass Isn't Greener on the Other Side. Heiresses have always been viewed with eyes of envy. They were the ones for whom the cornucopia had been upended, showering them with unimaginable wealth and opportunity. However, through intimate historical biographies, Women of Means shows us that oftentimes the weaving sisters saved their most heart-wrenching tapestries for the destinies of wealthy women.

Happily Never After. From the author of Behind Every Great Man, we now have Women of Means, vignettes of the women who were slated from birth―or marriage―to great privilege, only to endure lives which were the stuff Russian tragic heroines are made of. They are the nonfictional Richard Corys―those not slated for happily ever after.

Women of Means is a non-fiction best seller, full of the best biographies of all time. Some of the women whose silver spoons rusted include:

  • Liliane Bettencourt, whose chemist father created L’Oreal... and was a Nazi collaborator
  • Nica Rothschild, who traded her gilded life to become the Baroness of Bebop
  • Jocelyn Wildenstein, who became a cosmetology-enhanced cat-woman
  • Ruth Madoff, the dethroned queen of Manhattan
  • Patty Hearst, who trod the path from heiress... to terrorist

If you liked The Last Castle, Upstairs at the White House, or Lean In, you’ll love Women of Means.

Related collections and offers

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781642500172
Publisher: Mango Media
Publication date: 09/15/2019
Series: Celebrating Women Series
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 242,327
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Marlene Wagman-Geller received her B.A. from York University and her teaching credentials from the University of Toronto and San Diego State University. Currently she teaches high school English in National City, California. Reviews from her first three books (Penguin/Perigree) have appeared in the New York Times and the Associated Press article was picked up in dozens of newspapers such as the Denver Post, the Huffington Post, and the San Diego Tribune.

Read an Excerpt

Excerpt: Women of Means
Christina Onassis
Even in death Christina Onassis was subject to the scrutiny she had always endured. Camera crews were allowed into the chapel and the deceased, clad in white tunic with hands folded around a single red rose, was for the final time at the mercy of the paparazzi’s flashbulbs. Her final resting place was the family crypt in Skorpios where the heiress lies beside the modern Midas whose term of affection for his daughter had been, “Chryso mou,” “My gold.”
Ruth Madoff
If the Ponzi scheme had been one of biblical proportions so had Ruth’s punishment; she had lost husband, sons, social standing, and fortune. Mrs. Madoff, the modern Icarus, had flown too near the sun and her fall from grace was as dizzying as her rise. The question remains if Ruth really was a member of the clueless wife’s club. On one hand she may have been like another bottled blonde-Carmela Soprano-who had looked away from her husband’s machinations. If that is the case, then her suffering is the gods dishing out her just dessert. However, if she had been kept in the dark, then she is a woman more sinned against than sinning. In either contingency, money, the biblical root of all evil, is the thread that runs through The Book of Ruth.
Gloria Vanderbilt
Because of the sensational 1930s trial, the death of her husband and the suicide of her son, if Americans were given an auditory Rorschach test with the words ‘poor little rich girl’ odds are the response would be “Gloria Vanderbilt.” Yet this is not an accurate assessment of the heiress who embodies the Duchess of Windsor maxim, “You can never be too rich or too thin.” In her 90s she appears as immune to the ravages of time as the portrait of Dorian Gray. Through the power of persistence she took life on her own terms and reigns as a legendary swan princess.

Table of Contents

Foreword 12

Prologue A Rocky Ride 16

Chapter 1 Did I Make the Most of Loving You? (1876) 30

Chapter 2 The Golden Lion (1896) 38

Chapter 3 All the Difference (1898) 46

Chapter 4 Indian Summer (1901) 54

Chapter 5 What Profit a Man? (1902) 62

Chapter 6 The Porcelain Faces (1906) 70

Chapter 7 King Midas's Granddaughter (1912) 78

Chapter 8 Lucky Strike (1912) 88

Chapter 9 Round Midnight (1913) 98

Chapter 10 She and Trouble (1920) 106

Chapter 11 Was It Worth It? (1922) 114

Chapter 12 The Beautiful and the Damned (1922) 122

Chapter 13 The Swan Princess (1924) 130

Chapter 14 Prince Charming (1931) 140

Chapter 15 Amazing Grace (1937) 148

Chapter 16 The Wounding Thorns (1938) 158

Chapter 17 A Facial Attraction (1940) 168

Chapter 18 The Book of Ruth (1941) 176

Chapter 19 The Comedy Is Over (1948) 186

Chapter 20 My Gold (1950) 194

Chapter 21 Rosebud (1954) 202

Chapter 22 The House of Hancock (1954) 210

Chapter 23 The Alchemist (1962) 218

Chapter 24 The Death of the Hired Hand (1962) 226

Chapter 25 Protects What's Good (1964) 234

Chapter 26 Googoosha (1972) 242

Chapter 27 No More Tears (1979) 252

Chapter 28 Flowers in Their Attic (1997) 260

Epilogue 269

Acknowledgments 271

Richard Cory (1897) 273

Bibliography 274

About the Author 295

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“If you’ve ever wished you had all the money in the world, read Women of Means by Marlene Wagman-Geller. Written in her usual witty prose, these enthralling but petrifying mini-biographies show that when a woman is too wealthy, it can be a curse rather than a blessing.” ―Jill G. Hall, author of The Black Velvet Coat

“The best women's history books are deeply researched and, therefore, filled with personal details that provide an intimate portrait. Marlene Wagman-Gellar's Women of Means does not disappoint. It is wild, witty, gossipy, and glamourous. A sheer delight. I could not get enough of reading about heiress Barbara Hutton's outrageous lifestyle, Jackie O as a step-mom, Patty Hearst's many adventures, Peggy Guggenheim's collection of art (and men) and Almira Carnarvon, the real-life counterpart to Lady Cora of Downton Abbey. Simply Splendid.” ―Becca Anderson, author of Badass Women Give the Best Advice

“Does money facilitate happiness, fulfillment, the good life? How much time do we all spend wishing we had more of it? These questions and more bubbled up from Marlene Wagman-Geller’s crisp, exacting prose in her powerful compilation of stories about the richest women in history, Women of Means. Wagman-Geller’s stories made me gasp and lodged my chin firmly on my chest as she chronicled the lives of women without a financial care in the world, whose appetites led so often to disaster. And, no, Patrizia, I would rather gleefully ride the bicycle!” ―R. D. Kardon, author of Flygirl

“Many of these women lived their lives caught between distrust and wanting to be loved. Yet, they would never know if the love was real or solely for their money. It seems like a horrible place to be in.” —History of Royal Women

“Wagman-Geller does an excellent job with each of these stories, keeping us turning the page, but every once in a while you need to set the book down, it’s just so heartbreaking. But soon enough you’re picking it up again, not putting it down until the final page. In the author’s epilogue, her hope for all of us is ‘that this window into the biographies of the poor little rich girls makes us more content with our own lot.’ She certainly succeeds in this.” —Betty Lou Roselle, DelcoCultureVultures

Customer Reviews