A Well-Behaved Woman by Therese Anne Fowler

A Well-Behaved Woman

The riveting novel of iron-willed Alva Vanderbilt and her illustrious family in as they rule Gilded-Age New York, from the New York Times bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.In 1883, the New York Times prints a lengthy rave of Alva Vanderbilt's Fifth Ave. costume ball--a coup for the former Alva Smith, who not long before was destitute, her family's good name useless on its own. Marrying into the newly rich but socially scorned V...

Details A Well-Behaved Woman

TitleA Well-Behaved Woman
Release DateOct 16th, 2018
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Literature, 19th Century, Did Not Finish, Adult, Adult Fiction, Audiobook, Feminism, Womens

Reviews A Well-Behaved Woman

  • Diane S ☔
    THE GILDED AGE, a time of unprecented economic growth, the robber barons and their new money. Huge mansions, larger than life balls, and over the top furnishings. I have read biographies of Rockefeller, The Vsnderbilts, watched documentaries, where their wives were often side notes. If I thought about them at all, I dismissed them as priviledged, money grubbers and ornemental. Now, after reading this book, which tells Alva's story, I admit to tha...
  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    4 gilded stars to a Well-Behaved Woman! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ A childhood visit to The Biltmore Estate will certainly add Vanderbilt intrigue to one’s list of interests, and I lapped up this story of Alva Smith Vanderbilt. Alva Smith’s family had once known prominence but lost it all; that is, until her best friend orchestrates her union with William Vanderbilt. The latter family is new money, but not well-accepted into society. Alva works hard for...
  • Therese Fowler
    Yes, I'm rating my own novel five stars. Would anyone expect an author to do otherwise? If you enjoy Jane Austen or Edith Wharton novels, if reading fiction about real figures from history interests you, or if you share a fascination with the Gilded Age and/or the Vanderbilt family, this book is for you.
  • Liz
    3.5 stars, rounded upI’ve often thanked my lucky stars I was born when I was. The idea of one’s sole goal in life being to manage a “good” marriage is soul deadening. And when that prospect is hampered by a loss of fortune by one’s father… Alva Smith is looking for a husband in the years after the Civil War. “The young men, who were outnumbered three to one...watched and smiled and nodded like eager buyers at a thoroughbred market....
  • Cindy Burnett
    4.5 starsA Well-Behaved Woman is a fabulous story about Alva Vanderbilt and her determination to succeed in cut-throat, Gilded-Age New York. Fowler humanizes Alva and presents her in a way that will have the reader viewing Alva through a more sympathetic lens. The Gilded Age is a fascinating time period to me, and I loved viewing the era through Alva Vanderbilt’s eyes. I very much enjoyed this book and highly recommend it for anyone who loves t...
  • Roman Clodia
    The blurb describes Alva Vanderbilt as 'outspoken, brave, brilliant, fierce': what a shame, then, that the book portrays her as conventional, proper, limited by her attention to social mores and desperate to fit in - in fact, she's written as a generic rich woman who just wants to be queen bee of Gilded Age Manhattan. After her family lose their Southern cotton plantation wealth (er, money made on the back of slavery - though Fowler is at some pa...
  • Erin
    Alva did not need to love William Vanderbilt; she needed only to marry him. In the years after the American Civil War, New York's Astors, Roosevelt's, Rothschilds' and Vanderbilts were the cream of high society and advantageous marriages were at the very heart of the papers. Enter Alva Smith, her father ailing, her mother dead, it's up to Alva to elevate her sisters and her husband's family to the stature of leading New York families. But Alva wa...
  • Chrissie
    Terrible, I must dump this. This was a huge disappointment. I have read six chapters. I rarely dump any book and I only do it when I am sure the book is not for me. Both this book and the last book I have just read, Edith Wharton's False Dawn, are set in the Gilded Age. Side by side, the comparison between the two was shocking. I have not come far enough to say anything about plot composition; I am criticizing the prose and the inability of the a...
  • Chris
    “A Well-Behaved Woman is a gem: a fascinating tale of Gilded Age manners and mores, and one remarkable woman’s attempts to transcend them. Therese Anne Fowler, the immensely gifted writer who gave us all new insights into Zelda Fitzgerald in her novel, Z, has done it again for Alva Vanderbilt Belmont.”-- Chris Bohjalian, #1 New York Times Bestselling Author of The Flight Attendant
  • Lisa
    A fascinating and fabulous story of a strong, independent woman well ahead of her time. SUMMARYAlva Smith’s mother was deceased, her father was ailing and her family was quickly becoming destitute. Her family‘s good name was useless on its own. She needed to quickly marry someone with money. Alva, with the help of her best friend Consuelo Yznaga, was able to secure a proposal from the young William K. Vanderbilt. The hope from the Vanderbilts...
  • Karen
    4.5 stars. I enjoyed Therese Anne Fowler’s ‘Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald’ and looked forward to reading her latest story of Alva Belmont Vanderbilt, her rise in social status and that of the Vanderbilt family as seen through Alva's eyes.Alva is introduced as a dynamic young woman in the courting stage who catches the eye of William Vanderbilt, marrying him in 1875. I had no knowledge of her prior to picking up the book but could tell earl...
  • Erin
    Find this and other reviews at: https://historicalfictionreader.blogs...Knowing something about the history that inspired a story is a double-edged sword. On one hand, you’re dying for a creative mind to fictionalize the material, but on the other, you want to see it done a certain way and you get intensely frustrated when the author fails to deliver your private expectations. It is, of course, ridiculous to expect anyone to read your mind, but...
  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    A WELL-BEHAVED WOMAN is a story about the notorious Alva Vanderbilt who married a rich man to save herself and her sisters from destitution. Once Alva Smith lived a prosperous life, but that was until their fortune was lost. She has to wed really well and she catches the eye of William Vanderbilt from the very rich, but socially outcast Vanderbilts. Alva is hell-bent on getting herself and the Vanderbilts everything they want, no matter the cost....
  • Rae
    A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts by Therese Anne Fowler centers around the life story of Alva Smith, a well-connected woman who married (and later divorced) William Vanderbilt.I really enjoyed this book! It's technically a biographical historical fiction novel, so while the the conversations and meetings are mostly works of fiction, the events and timeline are all biographical. I don't consider myself a history buff, but I do en...
  • Terry ~ Huntress of Erudition
    An interesting and beautifully written historic novel with just enough romance for emotional impact.Therese Anna Fowler has a magical way of weaving famous people and historical facts together to make all her characters come to life in a timeless and engrossing story of the life and times of socialite and social activist, Alva Smith Vanderbilt Belmont.As with "Z", her novel about the life of Zelda Fitzgerald, this book is meticulously researched ...
  • Ashley
    This was okay. I mean really, just okay. I think I skipped around a lot. BUT. I now know everything about the Vanderbilt family and other swanky 19th century families in NYC. So, I wasn’t a huge fan, but it did instigate further research.* Whatever. I love research. This book was kind of a win on that front. *starts planning summer trip to Newport so I can pretend to be a distant relation.
  • Janet
    I received a DIGITAL Advance Reader Copy of this book from #NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. From the publisher --- The riveting novel of iron-willed Alva Vanderbilt and her illustrious family as they rule Gilded-Age New York, from the New York Times bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald.Alva Smith, her southern family destitute after the Civil War, married into one of America’s great Gilded Age dynasties: the newly we...
  • Annette
    Alva Smith’s family could trace their bloodline to royalty of France and Scotland, but their fortune was gone.William K. Vanderbilt is the third Manhattan generation of a wealthy family, but their bloodline has no connection to any royalty, no title or lands, nothing in history to claim glory, not even by extension.The Knickerbockers of Manhattan closely guard their tight high society and will not let the Vanderbilts in.Alva is so poor that she...
  • Donna Hines
    How can you portray a woman in a favorable light when all she wants is money and fame?That's the problem with Alva as she is desperate for love, for attention, for wealth, for the elite status that comes with marrying into money for the family name and royalties.Once married to a 'Vanderbilt' she plots and plans using materialistic values rather than standing on her own moral compass and values.Nothing really called out to me of interest as there...
  • Laura Rash
    Another great history story from the Gilded Age from TF! Alva is a woman way ahead of her time and shows the men how it’s done. I love the way TF can bring history to life with amazing characters so you learn a few things you didn’t know at the same time as being highly entertained! Thanks to St. Martins Press for this copy:)
  • Sarah at Sarah's Book Shelves
    [3.5 stars]Thank you to St. Martin's Press and Netgalley for an advanced copy of this book.I absolutely adored Fowler’s 2013 novel, Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald…so, A Well-Behaved Woman had big shoes to fill. While I liked A Well-Behaved Woman, it was a lukewarm like and it didn’t come close to filling Z‘s shoes. Alva is interesting, but not nearly as dynamic a character as Zelda. I liked that Alva was a modern woman in some ways (i.e. ...
  • Laurel
    For years, I thought Gilded Age New York socialite Alva Vanderbilt's ferocious ambition was only rivaled by Jane Austen's Mrs. Bennet in Pride and Prejudice as the most grasping, husband hunting mother imaginable, however author Therese Anne Fowler has proved my assumptions totally unfounded. Through in-depth historical research and a thought provoking fictional characterization, we discover the back story of Alva's privileged but impoverished ch...
  • fortuna.spinning
    During the late nineteenth century, the Vanderbilts were like royalty in the northeast United States. This is the story of Alva Vanderbilt, her accomplishments in high society, architecture, and women’s suffrage. It’s about her family and heartache. While I learned a few things of historical significance, it’s very slow-moving and, at times, tedious. In the Author’s Note, Fowler mentions that she wrote this in the form of a nineteenth-cen...
  • Ampersand Inc.
    From the author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald; I was super excited to read this when I heard about it…and it did not disappoint.This is the story of Alva Vanderbilt who went on to become an important person in the suffragette movement. For those are fans of Downtown Abby; this one’s for you.I love literary and historical fiction and this novel is both and does not disappoint. Based on true events and set in the Gilded-Age of New York City...
  • Susie | Novel Visits
    My Thoughts: I generally prefer my historical fiction a little more on the gritty side, but I thoroughly enjoyed taking a trek through late nineteen century high-society with Alva Vanderbilt. This woman was a kick! It seems few women of her day had any illusions about marrying for love, and that was especially true for Alva whose family had the pedigree, but had lost their money. If Alva didn’t marry well her family would be left destitute. So,...
  • Patricia
    I found this novel to be more of a 3.5 stars. A pretty good accounting of the gilded age, the robber barons and the Vanderbilts, this novel left me wanting a little bit more.
  • Jess Clayton
    Oh, the Gilded Age...what a glorius time it was to be a man...particularly, in the wealthy set! If you don't know what I mean, try reading a bit of Edith Wharton or Henry James and you'll see the pattern: women should be seen and not heard. (sad trombone) This novel transports us back to high society in New York City during the late 1800's, and gives a biographical history of how Alva Smith broke the rules and used her marriage to W.K. Vanderbilt...
  • Heather Fineisen
    A strong entry of historical fiction about a strong young woman who had to marry to care for her family. Alva married a Vanderbilt and progressed through the nuances of society. Raising her children and taking on various causes including suffrage were her interests. This was an interesting and well researched story at a life I knew little about. Now I want to read Z about Zelda Fitzgerald.Copy provided by the Publisher and NetGalley
  • Deirdre Metcalf
    This was a fantastic historical fiction based on real people and real events. There is a lot of fact in this fiction. The book follows the Vanderbilt family in the late 19th Century. We get to follow Ava from a young girl when she meets William K. Vanderbilt, marries him, and is thrown into the fierce and competitive upper crust society of New York City. We view things through Ava’s perspective and the author presents her with a soft sympatheti...