I am perhaps enjoying this book a little too much. It almost seems, so far, like a re-hash of that book about the Vanderbilt family's rise and fall (Fortune's Children?) with a dash of The Gilded Hour due to the inevitable over-elaborate descriptions of the first major nouveau rich ball that caused such a social upset in the city at the time, but of course certain figures recur frequently in historical texts depending upon the topic.
Given the title of the book, I can't help but be tickled pink by the writing. It calls to my inner Downton Abbey fan.
(Although the pictures chosen to be featured in this book and around these pages so far are a little... odd... in the "what is the purpose again?" variety, I mean, not the "omg totally irrelevant?!" kind -/ or at least that's been the case so far... The fine line is being treaded.)
Of particular note is the following passages which I cut down to my favorite bits.
"But the Self-Made Girl was working... to make herself into a grand lady. Being American, she believed that anything could be accomplished by an act of will and plenty of effort. So, from her power base as a belle, she set out on that most American of paths: a campaign of self-improvement. She went to singing lessons and dancing lessons and drawing lessons. A great believer in book learning, she read constantly. She studied history, and foreign languages, and the “society pages.”If she decided she needed to attend Miss Brown’s School for Young Ladies in New York, she sent herself to New York. If she decided she needed to become more sophisticated... then she purchased Baedeker Guides to various foreign capitals, recruited her parents... and set off on a step-by-step tour of Europe. And when she decided she was ready, this girl from the American Midwest went to London. Husband-hunting. Simple as that."
On the same page where it is followed by this nugget from the pen of Oscar Wilde...
"...but American girls are pretty and charming—little oases of pretty unreasonableness in a vast desert of practical common-sense."