Thursday, June 27, 2019

Audio Book Review: The Husband Hunters by Anne de Courcy

Genre: Non-Fiction/Audio Book
Pub. Date: August 7, 2018
Publisher: MacMillan Audio 
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "A deliciously told group biography of the young, rich, American heiresses who married impoverished, British gentry at the turn of the twentieth century – The real women who inspired Downton Abbey  Towards the end of the nineteenth century and for the first few years of the twentieth, 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, fifty 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."

This non-fiction audio book was just as riveting as some of the fictional tales I've listened to lately.  De Courcy focuses on the Victorian and the Edwardian eras and the American heiresses who married into the British aristocracy.  I was worried a non-fiction audio book wouldn't work for me and that I'd be lost. However, not once did I get confused; de Courcy brings it all to life in an easy way to understand. The Husband Hunters was deliciously addicting, especially for fans of this time period as well as Downton Abbey.

I needed a Downton Abbey fix and The Husband Hunters was the perfect solution.  Anne de Courcy didn't just focus on American women, she also focused on the time period and how difficult it was for women at times.  She goes over gender roles, expectations, money issues, class issues, social issues, American women vs, British, and so much more. I feel like I have a stronger grasp on the time period and how its impact on women, especially those seeking to marry into the British aristocracy.

The Husband Hunters focuses on a few important women, but the ones who stood out for me were Jennie Jerome (Winston Churchill's mother), Consuelo Vanderbilt, and the "marrying" Wilsons.  I had just read a few novels featuring some of these women, so this was a perfect followup.

The Husband Hunters is narrated by Clare Corbett and her voice is absolutely perfect for this audio book. She was clear, easy to understand, and really brought the facts to life in a way that made it entertaining.  It is easy to see how Corbett has a successful career on the stage as her voice is outstanding; in fact, she may be one of my favorite narrators second to Davina Porter.

If you are interested in the time period or you love Downton Abbey, check out The Husband Hunters.  It was not only educational, but it was juicy at times. The truth is often stranger than fiction and that is definitely the case here.  

Perhaps I should listen to more non-fiction audio books in the future. Are you a fan of non-fiction audio books? If so, let me know some of your favorites.


  1. I'm really interested in this book. I tend to like listening to nonfiction books because there's not really a plot that I have to keep track of. I tend to listen to a lot of memoirs.

    1. Yeah, I am starting to lean towards more non-fiction audio books, because the current fiction book I'm listening to, I have to keep going back b/c I am missing plot points, etc. Thanks for visiting, Angela!


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