The Million Dollar Duchesses by Julie Ferry blogtour book review

the million dollar duchesses

The Million Dollar Duchesses: How America’s Heiresses Seduced the Aristocracy written by Julie Ferry, publisher Aurum Press Ltd is available NOW in paperback format.  The book was previously titled The Transatlantic Marriage Bureau and is available in ebook, hardcover and audiobook with this title.

To buy link:

Product Details (as per amazon page)

On 6th November 1895, the beautiful and brilliant heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt was wedded to the near-insolvent Charles Spencer-Churchill, 9th Duke of Marlborough in a dazzling yet miserable match – it glittered above all others for high society’s marriage brokers who, in this single year, forged a series of spectacular, and lucrative, transatlantic unions.

The bankrupt and ailing British aristocracy was suddenly injected with all the wealth and glamour of America’s newest dynasties. Millions of dollars changed hands as fame, money, power and privilege were all at play.

Brimful of scandal, illicit affairs, spurned loves and unexpected tragedy, The Million Dollar Duchesses reveals the closed-door bargaining which led to these most influential matches and how America’s heiresses shook-up British high society for ever.

million dollar duchesses blogtour poster

I voluntarily reviewed an arc of this book. All opinions are my own and no content may be copied. However, authors and publishers may use elements of my reviews for quotes.

I am so pleased to be involved in the blogtour celebrating and promoting the paperback launch of Julie Ferry’s debut book: The Million Dollar Duchesses.

I don’t tend to read many factual books but I was fascinated by Julie Ferry’s The Million Dollar Duchesses.  In a way the book almost felt like a story from a Hollywood script with its glamour, scandal, tragedy and nouveau riches.  The book highlights a specific year, 1895, that started off the invasion of young American ladies; highly educated ladies with their own dowry seeking the employs of a ‘society matron’ to guide them into English society with the sole interest in wedding a member of the English aristocracy.  These ‘society matrons’ with which one of the major players was Minnie Paget, orchestrated a very strategic game of chess with people as pawns being moved into position to make the best possible first impression.  It was a business of strategic introductions, a secret transaction for an employ that was economically beneficial to all parties.

I loved the phrase “social godmother” that the author Julie Ferry used to describe these conductors of English social etiquette.  The “social godmothers” were quite manipulative and gained much from their machinations including the friendship of the Prince of Wales (Bertie) as he loved the grand gestures from the heiresses and was in attendance at many of their extravagant parties.  It almost sounded like a game of one-upmanship as heiresses tried to out-do each other in their tasks of entertaining the fun loving prince.

Sadly tragedy, scandal and gossip followed some of the young proteges.  Their new married lives started off with such great promise but life was to throw many hardships their way.

An interesting, quite fascinating read into a year that the business of people became a highly effective profession for many and has left a defined mark on the English aristocratic history we know of today.

About the Author

Julie Ferry is a freelance journalist who has written for the Guardian, Sunday Times, Sunday Telegraph and the Independent, among others. She writes on subjects ranging from protecting women’s rights to discovering Paris alone.

She graduated from Cardiff University with a degree in English Literature and then upped sticks and moved to a tiny island between Japan and South Korea to teach English, where she quickly got used to being followed around the supermarket by her students. It was in Japan that she got her first byline and was quickly hooked. Since then, she’s been fortunate to write for most of her favourite publications, but always harboured dreams of seeing her name on the front of a book.

Now, she’s managing to combine her love of writing and an obsession with interesting and largely unknown women from history, with the school run in Bristol, where she lives with her husband and two children.






Wellington’s Dearest Georgy: The Life and Loves of Lady Georgiana Lennox by Alice Marie Crossland


Wellington’s Dearest Georgy: The Life and Loves of Lady Georgiana Lennox written by Alice Marie Crossland, publisher Uniform Press is available NOW in paperback format.

Product Details (as per amazon page)

Using largely unpublished sources, this book tells the story of Lady Georgiana Lennox and the unique friendship she cherished with the Duke of Wellington. She first met the Duke on his return from India when he was serving under Georgy’s father as Chief Secretary. The Lennox family moved to Brussels in 1813 and Georgy’s mother the Duchess of Richmond threw the now legendary ball the night before the Battle of Waterloo. Georgy was a young, beautiful and immensely popular young lady at the time with many suitors. She and the Duke enjoyed a flirtatious early friendship, which blossomed into a true bond between families as the years went by. Georgy had a front row seat to the Battle of Waterloo, and remained in Brussels after the battle to help tend to the wounded. At 29 she married the future 23rd Baron de Ros who became a diplomatic spy, and later Governor of the Tower of London. Georgy had three children, and died at the impressive age of 96.


Now and again I like to read a book that takes me out of my comfort zone. I do love historical fiction but have not read a historical biography before. As soon as I read the synopsis of Dearest Georgy summarising Georgy’s friendship with the Duke of Wellington and that she had witnessed such a pivotal moment in history I knew there was much to learn about this lady that lived to such a grand age.

The author, Alice Marie Crossland, has done extensive research with reference to numerous footnotes to support her words. The book is also filled with wonderful illustrations which brings the story and its real life characters to life.

Georgiana Lennox was born into aristocracy, one of 14 children to the Duke and Duchess of Richmond. It was the early 18 hundreds, a time when young ladies were introduced to society and families searched for a good, wealthy pedigree for their daughter’s to marry.

Georgy, as she was fondly known by the Duke of Wellington, had an almost precious relationship with the Duke. The dramatic scenes unfolding at the ball before the Battle of Waterloo were quite poignant. Scenes of joviality were dramatically left with ladies feeling quite bereft from the sudden absence of men.

Georgy’s life experienced many tragedies from this date on. Tragedy and uncertainty of war, separation from loved ones, terrible illnesses, death. She had moved from London, Ireland, Brussels and back. Visits to Paris also. The travelling must have been horrific, I can’t imagine moving a family of fourteen children to another country by ship then by cart. Long, very cold journeys that must have felt never ending.

When Georgy did find a husband it was so humbling to read of this side of her. Moving from lavish surroundings to a more meagre accommodation. Georgy took it in her stride and embraced this new chapter of her life.

A very informative and interesting read about a remarkable young woman growing up experiencing and living through many pivotal historical times. A story of long lasting friendship and of a love that was so strong facing many turbulent times but equally many enjoyable memorable scenes. Evoking and dramatic and deeply moving. I would love to see Georgy’s story on the big screen.

To find out more about Alice Marie Crossland and her work please visit the following pages: