The Husband Hunters

American Heiresses Who Married into the British Aristocracy
Narrated by: Clare Corbett
Length: 10 hrs and 41 mins
4 out of 5 stars (331 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The Husband Hunters is a deliciously told historical audiobook about the young, rich, American heiresses who married impoverished, British gentry at the turn of the 20th century - the real women who inspired Downton Abbey 

Towards the end of the 19th century and for the first few years of the 20th, a strange invasion took place in Britain. The citadel of power, privilege, and breeding in which the titled, land-owning governing class had barricaded itself for so long was breached. The incomers were a group of young women who, 50 years earlier, would have been looked on as the alien denizens of another world - the New World, to be precise. From 1874 - the year that Jennie Jerome, the first known "Dollar Princess", married Randolph Churchill - to 1905, dozens of young American heiresses married into the British peerage, bringing with them all the fabulous wealth, glamour, and sophistication of the Gilded Age.  

Anne de Courcy sets the stories of these young women and their families in the context of their times. Based on extensive first-hand research, drawing on diaries, memoirs and letters, this richly entertaining group biography reveals what they thought of their new lives in England - and what England thought of them.  

"Witty and well researched, Anne de Courcy brings to colorful, dramatic life these dollar princesses whose vast fortunes propelled them to glittering trans-Atlantic marriages that captivated international society." (Daisy Goodwin, New York Times best-selling author of American Heiress)

©2017 Anne de Courcy (P)2018 Orion Publishing Group

Critic Reviews

Downton Abbey fans will swoon over this trip through the privileged turn-of-the-century world of cash, class, and coronets." (Kirkus)

"[Narrator Clare Corbett's] lively performance and clear diction help listeners understand the complicated social rules underlying the splendor of the world's richest as they vied for the perfect spouse." (AudioFile Magazine)

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

Very interesting and well read!

I enjoyed this book. There were many fascinating stories about people in the Gilded Age and how the very rich lived and thought. Really interesting.
My only complaint is the repetition of information. Many times I thought, “you told me this already!” So I guess a little tighter editing would have been good. That being said, I really enjoyed this. The quotes and references were evidence of the extensive research, which I think made the book so good. The narrator is excellent, her somewhat posh accent is perfect for this book.

12 people found this helpful

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Bondfide Valuable History Lesson

Who would understand the allegiance between the U.K.and the U.S. during WWll without having this information? Or even understand the history of the U.K.? These marriages saved the aristocracy of Britain. The income from America into the U.K. as a result of these arrangements was vast. American daughters and grandchildren filled the seats of financial power and changed Britain. Winston Churchill was a product of one such arrangement. This is such vital information to understand the social intercourse between nations. The obsessions with "Rank" and "Status". And "Reputation". The lot of women and children used as pawns in arranged marriages to improve one's status in society. The lack of charity among the most affluent. The obscene acts of the "self-important". It is all here. Even fashion history. This book is fascinating if you are a social studies buff. Rich with the history of women's rights. And it is all so beautifully written and narrated. The burdens placed on these "princesses" was backbreaking. Dynasties lived or died upon their efforts to please and impress. Families bankrupted themselves to host the Prince of Wales. Who seemed perfectly oblivious to their plight. I will most definitely read this book again. You will not lay the book down and forget that you read it.

20 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

The astonishing gilded age

This book is far more instructive and illuminating than its title would suggest. It is an in-depth view of the culture and values of the gilded age and insightful in showing the differences between the English and American values . Sadly, both were corrupt and superficial.

5 people found this helpful

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Too busy

Struggled to stay up with the many names all going at once. Highlights, no story.

4 people found this helpful

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Intriguing and informative

Didn’t realize it was non fiction when I purchased but I’m glad. It was very interesting. I looked lots of the names up and learned a ton.

3 people found this helpful

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Excellent

This is a fascinating history of the "underbelly" of the Gilded Age (late 19th/early 20th century) in the U.S. and Britain which elegantly portrays the viciousness and constrictions of life at the top of the social and financial worlds. It also puts into stark focus the centuries-old practice of using marriage as commerce, in this case telling the story of several wealthy young American women who were essentially traded (sadly, too often by their conniving mothers) to British aristocrats in exchange for titles and status. Full of interesting detail and anecdotes and Clare Corbett's narration was very good, apart from a few jarring mispronunciations.

2 people found this helpful

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  • S.
  • 03-30-19

Enjoyed it -

I loved this book - it was a fascinating aspect of American/English history of which I was unaware. It was, in some ways, a fun read.

1 person found this helpful

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Really Really Interesting

A really interesting book with a lot of unknown nuggets of information in an otherwise well covered era.

1 person found this helpful

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New and Old Stories delightfully told

I'm a bit obsessed with real life stories of the Gilded Age Heiresses. So I was afraid to get this book afraid it was just going to be rehash, but while some of the stories will be very familiar to anyone in love with this era (such as Consuelo Vanderbilt and Jennie Jerome) there were plenty of new details and perspectives I had never heard before and they were all woven together in a delightful way. The narrator is excellent and does the America quotes very well.

1 person found this helpful

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Differnet way of thinking...

In the words of the infamous 'Tina Turner'...What's love got to do with it!?! I guess the main reason for marrying was to better the family position in society...Odd way of living yet so many young women did it.

1 person found this helpful