'The Gilded Age' | What to Read and Watch Next

Obsessed with HBO’s The Gilded Age? Here is a list of resources for readers and viewers to fulfill their need for ballroom intrigue and more.

Waiting is hard—hence, the delightful activity known as binge-watching. Alas, not every show can be binge-watched. Such is the case for HBO’s The Gilded Age, which centers on Marian Brook, a young woman who in 1882 moves from rural Pennsylvania to New York City to live with her wealthy aunts. Waiting a week to get the next The Gilded Age fix can be more than a body can bear. There are so many questions begging to be answered. Who will Marion choose? Will Turner finally get her mitts on George Russell? Will Mrs. Bauer get away with her get-out-of-debt plan? Would I buy a feather fan? Creator Julian Fellowes, the genius behind the obsession-worthy Downton Abbey, presents another show that is the talk of the town. How can viewers feed their need for ballroom intrigue and more in the meantime? Here are some suggestions:

When one thinks of Gilded Age stories, the first author who leaps to mind is Edith Wharton. The Buccaneers is based on her unfinished novel of the same name and follows four young heiresses who go to England to find titled husbands. Produced by the BBC and filmed on location in England, this is a lush miniseries with plenty of intrigue. Available on Amazon Prime and BritBox.

Husband Hunters: American Heiresses Who Married into the British Aristocracy by Anne de Courcy (St. Martin’s Griffin) explores the real-life heiresses fictionalized in The Buccaneers. This is a fascinating look at the lives of these “Dollar Princesses,” as they were known, whose duty was to marry the man with the best title so that their families would be accepted into proper society.

Spanning 1870 to 1920, The Forsyte Saga tells the story of an upper-middle-class British family. Based on John Galsworthy’s trilogy, this two-season series was adapted by the British company Granita and WGBH in Boston. Sure, the Forsytes present a respectable front to the outside world, but don’t be fooled by appearances; steamy maneuvering abounds! Plenty to keep you saying to yourself, “Just one more episode.” Available on Amazon Prime.

Consider dipping into the real story behind new New York Society with Season of Splendor: The Court of Mrs. Astor in the Gilded Age by Greg King (Wiley). Beginning in the 1870s and ending with the sinking of the Titanic in 1914, this is a meticulously, deliciously detailed look at the world sportrayed in The Gilded Age.

The Personal Librarian by Marie Benedict and Victoria Christopher Murray (Berkley) examines a very different side of the Gilded Age. In this novel based on actual events, Belle da Costa Greene curates J.P. Morgan’s personal library and becomes a glittering fixture in New York society, but she has a secret that she must keep at all costs. She is not of Portuguese descent—she is Black and trying to navigate as best she can in a society governed by prejudice.

Still need more about The Gilded Age? How about listening to the podcast? TCM host Alicia Malone and Tom Meyers from The Bowery Boys podcast dish about each week’s episode. Joined by cast and crew, they dive deep into the history and go behind the scenes for content that makes viewing that much richer.

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