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The Glitter and the Gold

The American Duchess - In Her Own Words
Narrated by: Coleen Marlo
Length: 9 hrs and 44 mins
3.5 out of 5 stars (88 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Consuelo Vanderbilt was young, beautiful and the heir to a vast family fortune. She was also deeply in love with an American suitor when her mother chose instead for her to fulfill her social ambitions and marry an English Duke. Leaving her life in America, she came to England as the Duchess of Marlborough in 1895 and took up residence in her new home: Blenheim Palace.

The ninth Duchess gives unique first-hand insight into life at the very pinnacle of English society in the Edwardian era. An unsnobbish, but often amused observer of the intricate hierarchy both upstairs and downstairs at Blenheim Palace, she is also a revealing witness to the glittering balls, huge weekend parties, and major state occasions she attended or hosted. Here are her encounters with every important figure of the day - from Queen Victoria, Edward VII, and Queen Alexandra to Tsar Nicholas, Prince Metternich, and the young Winston Churchill.

This intimate, richly enjoyable memoir is a wonderfully revealing portrait of a golden age.

©1953 Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan (P)2012 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"A woman of poise, beauty, and charm looks back on her life at the very center of the most opulent and aristocratic society of three countries, the United States, Britain, and France... and emerges... a woman of courage, public spirit, refinement, and surprisingly democratic convictions." ( The New York Times)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Story

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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • May Lou
  • Half Moon Bay, CA
  • 03-15-17

Narration is awful.

What did you like best about The Glitter and the Gold? What did you like least?

It's too bad that the narrator's voice was affected and pretentious. I really wonder if Consuelo Vanderbilt spoke like that. The story is interesting from her perspective, but I had to drop the book after 3 hours, because I could not stand the reader's presentation.

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Coleen Marlo?

Someone with a less pretentious speaking style.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Entertaining w/ very distracting mispronunciation

What made the experience of listening to The Glitter and the Gold the most enjoyable?

Very enjoyable, especially if you are familiar with the public figures of the Edwardian period. Wonderful descriptions of the upper class life style of the time.

Would you be willing to try another one of Coleen Marlo’s performances?

Not unless I was very eager to listen to the book, which in this case, I was. She was obviously trying to affect a "posh" American accent and rightly so. However, her constant mispronunciations in her reading made me gnash my teeth!

12 of 13 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

interesting history

great narration. interesting history lesson. beautiful storytelling. pleasure reading. do indulge yourself in a bit of storytelling.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Speed reading

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

The book was interesting. It was a "surface" autobiography, There was not much depth to it. It was more along the lines of a fluff magazine story. The narrator spoke so quickly in so very many places I repeatedly had to replay sections of the story to try to figure out what she was saying. I would like to have known more about her life after she returned to the United States.

What didn’t you like about Coleen Marlo’s performance?

She read as though she was going to run out of time to get the whole story read.

If this book were a movie would you go see it?

Yes

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Fascinating story, poorly narrated

The story is terrific for the view into British and American society of the period. Narration, however, is both pretentious in tone, and riddled with weird mispronunciations of English and foreign words.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Nice story, haughty-sounding narrator

Consuelo was a gem. Coleen, not so much. Insights on the Victorian/Edwardian eras as well as the 2 world wars from a wealthy philanthropic woman's perspective.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Vintage name dropping

What disappointed you about The Glitter and the Gold?

I was hoping for some insight into her life and times. But it's just a litany of name dropping. I guess she could't afford to offend any of the illustrious people she knew during her long life. But I would have loved a little juicy vintage gossip about some of them.

What three words best describe Coleen Marlo’s performance?

a little stilted

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Facinating Story- Terrible reading

I looked forward to the history of this story, but the narrator did a terrible job! It was read too fast, and with little or no emotion so there was no way to discern the feeling of the Dutchess.

8 of 10 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • Mary
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • 03-18-13

Not goldl

I expected a more detailed and insightful account by CV of her life as a member of the British nobility. I was disappointed. She offered little.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Don't LISTEN...READ Instead

I'm not even 3 hours into this audio and I can't stomach another minute. The narrator is deplorable. It's read with very little emotion and the words are scrambled due to how fast they are rambled. Where's the return button?????

1 of 1 people found this review helpful