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


Choose Expedited Shipping at checkout for guaranteed delivery by Wednesday, October 23


Glimpse Behind the Façade of Rich and Famous Women

If you liked The Last Castle and Lean In , you’ll love Women of Means.

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 bound to be a non-fiction best seller, full of the best biographies of all time. Some of the women whose silver spoons rusted include:

  • Almira Carnarvon, the real-life counterpart to Lady Cora of Downton Abbey
  • Liliane Bettencourt, whose chemist father created L’Oreal... and was a Nazi collaborator
  • Peggy Guggenheim, who had an insatiable appetite for modern art and men
  • 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

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781642500172
Publisher: Mango Media
Publication date: 09/15/2019
Pages: 224
Sales rank: 845,336
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 0.80(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

From the foreword:

Okay, let’s get this part out of the way first: If I had been born into enormous fortune, I would have been generous, and cautious about marriage and other personal entanglements; my purchases would not have been ostentatious, and I would not have been arrogant. And of course, that is exactly how you would act. In short, we would not behave as did the twenty-eight subjects of Wagman’s collection did. What connects them are the excesses and eccentricities that result when enormous wealth meets immaturity.

In A Delicate Balance , Edward Albee’s Pulitzer Prize winning play of 1967, Agnes laments that as men age, they are eventually obsessed with money and death – “making ends meet until they meet the end.”1 The women in these pages could not escape death – many died young, and most died in abject conditions – but for most of their lives, they did not have to be concerned with making ends meet. But if people of wealth are to be content, they have to have ends to be served by their means, and they must be as deliberate as those who are slowed and matured by financial concerns. The actions of the women you are going to meet here were flagrant, and eventually desperate, but never deliberate.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents


Prologue: A Rocky Ride
Chapter 1: Did I Make the Most of Loving You? (1876)
Chapter 2: The Golden Lion (1896)
Chapter 3: All the Difference (1898)
Chapter 4: Indian Summer (1901)
Chapter 5: What Profit a Man? (1902)
Chapter 6: The Porcelain Faces (1906)
Chapter 7: King Midas’s Granddaughter (1912)
Chapter 8: Lucky Strike (1912)
Chapter 9: Round Midnight (1913)
Chapter 10: She and Trouble (1920)
Chapter 11: Was It Worth It? (1922)
Chapter 12: The Beautiful and the Damned (1922)
Chapter 13: The Swan Princess (1924)
Chapter 14: Prince Charming (1931)
Chapter 15: Amazing Grace (1937)
Chapter 16: The Wounding Thorns (1938)
Chapter 17: A Facial Attraction (1940)
Chapter 18: The Book of Ruth (1941)
Chapter 19: The Comedy Is Over (1948)
Chapter 20: My Gold (1950)
Chapter 21: Rosebud (1954)
Chapter 22: The House of Hancock (1954)
Chapter 23: The Alchemist (1962)
Chapter 24: The Death of the Hired Hand (1962)
Chapter 25: Protects What’s Good (1964)
Chapter 26: Googoosha (1972)
Chapter 27: No More Tears (1979)
Chapter 28: Flowers in Their Attic (1997)

Richard Cory (1897)
About the Author

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 postrait. Marlene Wagman-Gellar's Women of Means does not diappoint. 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 Guggehein'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

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See All Customer Reviews