At the time, however, she was often considered scandalous and vilified for her feminist, antagonistic views and a staunch independence that unsettled the status quo. Fowler, also a self-proclaimed modern feminist, has established her modus operandi to be the restoration of the reputations of legendary American women whose legacies have become warped by media and myth. We meet Alva Smith at a moment of crisis where she hovers at the brink of poverty with only her respectable lineage offering hope of salvation. A calculated union with William Vanderbilt, one of the nouveau riche who cannot enter the upper echelons of society despite his family fortune, rescues Alva and her sisters from destitution.
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A Novel of the Vanderbilts
Raised in the Midwest, she moved to North Carolina in This novel looks below the surface of the Vanderbilt family during the Gilded Age from the little-known perspective of this fiery heroine. Do these changes alter her essential nature or character? Does she stay devout to her sense of ethics or empathy? You must always put sense over feeling. How does she justify this decision? Does it matter if there is no love in a marriage?
Search: Title Author Article. Rate this book. Alva Smith, her southern family destitute after the Civil War, married into one of America's great Gilded Age dynasties: the newly wealthy but socially shunned Vanderbilts. Ignored by New York's old-money circles and determined to win respect, she designed and built 9 mansions, hosted grand balls, and arranged for her daughter to marry a duke. But Alva also defied convention for women of her time, asserting power within her marriage and becoming a leader in the women's suffrage movement. With a nod to Jane Austen and Edith Wharton, in A Well-Behaved Woman Therese Anne Fowler paints a glittering world of enormous wealth contrasted against desperate poverty, of social ambition and social scorn, of friendship and betrayal, and an unforgettable story of a remarkable woman. Meet Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont, living proof that history is made by those who know the rules - and how to break them.