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Sisters of Fortune: America's Caton Sisters at Home and Abroadby Jehanne Wake
Synopses & Reviews
As gripping as the best historical novel, Sisters of Fortune is the story of the exuberant Marianne, Bess, Louisa, and Emily Caton, the American sisters who enthralled the highest levels of English Regency society decades before the notorious Dollar Princesses of the Victorian era. The Caton sisters were descended from prominent first settlers of Maryland, brought up by their wealthy grandfather Charles Carroll of Carrollton, the only Catholic signer of the Declaration of Independence, and were expected to “marry a plantation.” Instead, their grandfather made sure that they were well educated, raising four beautiful and charming young women who were unusually independent, intelligent, fascinated by politics, clever with money, and very romantic.
Arriving in Britain, the Caton sisters swept into the set of the Duke of Wellington and went on to forge their own destinies in the face of intense prejudice against Americans and Catholics. After capturing the heart of the Duke of Wellington, who could never marry her, Marianne shocked the world by marrying his brother Richard, Marquess Wellesley, Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, and taking a prominent place as a Catholic Yankee among the Protestant Anglo-Irish. Emily married Scots- Canadian John McTavish, heir to Montreal’s North West Company, and stayed home in Maryland, where she managed the family’s estates and wealth. Louisa became the Duchess of Leeds and a member of Queen Victoria’s court, while Bess made a fortune speculating in the stock market.
Based on the sisters’ intimate, unpublished letters and lavishly illustrated, Sisters of Fortune is a portrait of four lively and opinionated women, much of it told in their own voices as they gossip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. It is also a meticulously researched history of Anglo-American relations and the political, financial, and social world of the nineteenth century. From post-revolutionary America’s White House and wealthiest plantations to Europe’s rarefied world of titled aristocracy, the story of Maryland’s Caton sisters is a stunning work of scholarship that is intimate in tone, sweeping in scope, and as compelling as any novel.
Now in paperback: Like a real-life Jane Austen story, Sisters of Fortune is the exuberant story of four blue-blooded American sisters who enthralled British high society in the first half of the nineteenth century—“A true story worthy of Henry James” (Vogue.com).
Sisters of Fortune follows the fabulous Caton sisters, the first American heiresses to take Europe by storm, as they travel from their well-appointed Maryland home, across the Atlantic, and into the hearts of the British aristocracy.
Based on intimate and previously unpublished letters written by the sisters, and filled with gossipy details about life in nineteenth-century ballrooms and boudoirs, this meticulously researched book introduces these veritable American princesses. 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 Europe in 1816 and won coveted places at the highest levels of Regency society by virtue of their charm, intelligence, and great beauty. Marianne found a loving soulmate in the Duke of Wellington. Emily married a fur-trader and ran the family estate. Bess was a wizard at the stock market, becoming a successful lady speculator. And Louisa became the first American duchess and a member of Queen Victoria’s court.
An unusual 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.
Perfect for fans of the Emmy Awardand#8211;winning series andlt;I andgt;Downton Abbeyandlt;/Iandgt;, whose creator, Julian Fellowes, raved that andlt;I andgt;Sisters of Fortuneandlt;/Iandgt; is and#8220;absolutely fascinatingand#8221;and#8212;a real-life Jane Austen story, that follows the fabulous Caton sisters, the first American heiresses to take Europe by storm.andlt;brandgt;andlt;brandgt;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 otherand#8217;s sorrows, and rejoice in each otherand#8217;s triumphs. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Descended from one of the nationand#8217;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, andlt;I andgt;Sisters of Fortuneandlt;/Iandgt; is a romantic family history and an inside look at the adventures of Americaand#8217;s original blue-blooded girls.
About the Author
andlt;bandgt;Jehanne Wakeandlt;/bandgt; graduated from Oxford University and is the author of the biography andlt;iandgt;Princess Louise, Queen Victoriaand#8217;s Unconventional Daughterandlt;/iandgt;. She lives in London. Visit her website at andlt;a href="http://www.jehannewake.com/"andgt;JehanneWake.comandlt;/aandgt;.
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