A Young Heiress’s Quest for Independence in Gilded Age America and George V’s Coronation Year England
It must be said. Scandal follows her family like an ever-faithful hound. No matter how hard they kick it away, it comes slinking around time-after-time. Although her relatives are obsessed with social position and the opinions of others, heiress India Elisabeth Petra De Vries Ledbetter is determined to live life by her own terms, family expectations and society’s demands be damned.
Reared away from the social whirl of Gilded Age New York, India would prefer a life of philanthropy in her native Appalachia, but Mother and Grandmama have far grander plans. They believe Mrs. Astor’s old 400 are ready to overlook the past and that an advantageous marriage will cement their place in society once more. In fact, they have already selected the prospective bridegroom. The only problem? No one consulted India.
With captivating insights into the human spirit and heart, The Last Dollar Princess leads us on a riveting quest for self-determination through the most elegant and glamorous settings of the early 20th century. Perfect for fans of Marie Benedict, Daisy Goodwin, and Julian Fellows, this sweeping work of historical fiction will stay with readers long after the last page is turned.
Controlled with an iron fist by her stepmother and grandmother, India grows up in North Carolina where her stepmother wants her to be titled. Her father moved to North Carolina to get away from the oppressive status seekers. Meanwhile, the stepmother takes her to every society ball she can muster to expose India to the elite of both American and English society. Her substantial dowry is the bait.
Charles Kelnsey is looking for a bailout for his ancestral estate. His title attracts her stepmother and so the tale expands. Charlie, as he prefers to be called, is attracted to India, particularly because of her large inheritance. The courtship lags as India realizes that she is a bargaining chip for her stepmother. At nineteen years old she is beginning to rebel against the intrigues that hobble her life. Charlie seems smitten but has not declared his love.
A trip to Kelnsey manor discloses an 18th century castle without running water, proper electricity or indoor toilet facilities. Additionally, Charlie is still carrying a torch for a woman he met before India. The story is well developed with a satisfactory ending and marvelous character development. Enjoy! 4.5 stars – CE Williams
Many thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for providing me with the opportunity to read and review this book.
Rosepoint Publishing: Four point Five Stars
Genre: US Historical Fiction, Women’s Historical Fiction, Historical Fiction
Publisher: Black Rose Writing
Print Length:335 pages
Publication Date: May 31, 2022
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Links: The Last Dollar Princess [Amazon]
Barnes & Noble
The Author: I have been in love with the past for as long as I can remember. Anything with a history, whether shabby or majestic, recent or ancient, instantly draws me in. I suppose it comes from being part of a large extended family that spanned several generations. Long summer afternoons on my grandmother’s porch or winter evenings gathered around her fireplace were filled with stories both entertaining and poignant. Of course being set in the South, those stories were also peopled by some very interesting characters, some of whom have found their way into my work.
As for my venture in writing, it has allowed me to reinvent myself. We humans are truly multifaceted creatures, but unfortunately we tend to sort and categorize each other into neat, easily understood packages that rarely reveal the whole person. Perhaps you, too, want to step out of the box in which you find yourself. I encourage you to look at the possibilities and imagine. Be filled with childlike wonder in your mental wanderings. Envision what might be, not simply what is. Let us never forget, all good fiction begins when someone says to herself or himself, “Let’s pretend.”
I currently reside in the Houston area with my sweet husband and a German Shorthaired Pointer who thinks she’s a little girl.
Favorite quote regarding my professional passion: “History is filled with the sound of silken slippers going downstairs and wooden shoes coming up.” Voltaire.
©2022 CE Williams – V Williams