The Social Graces

Berkley. Apr. 2021. 416p. ISBN 9781984802811. pap. $17. F
In wealthy society in 1876 New York, men may have the means and money, but women possess their own power. Alva Vanderbilt marries into one of the wealthiest families in America and aspires to climb to the top of the social ladder. The Vanderbilts are “new money”; instead of inheriting their wealth over time and through pedigree, they made money more recently through the railroad industry. “Old money” social elites like Caroline Astor, whose in-laws are fabulously wealthy from inherited fur trade and New York real estate monies, snub the ways of new money families, whom they call crass and uncouth. Alva, bright and determined to be counted and prominent in high society, begins a decades-long test of will against Mrs. Astor, who is as determined to keep the Vanderbilts out of society as Alva is determined to enter.
VERDICT Rosen (Park Avenue Summer) paints a vivid and ravishing picture of the Gilded Age, bringing to life some of the people and parties that rocked this particular era, in an altogether believable tale. Recommended for fans of Rosen’s other works and readers who enjoy historical fiction and authors such as Kristin Hannah and Elizabeth Gilbert.
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