The Tuesday Afternoon Book Club enjoyed an interesting novel set in the late 1800’s in New York City. The book tells the reader about the life of Alva Smith who married William Vanderbilt and became one of the most influential women during the New York City Gilded Age. “A Well Behaved Woman” by Therese Anne Fowler could also be titled “ Money Doesn’t Necessarily Buy Happiness” as Alva creates a place for herself in New York society.
Following the Civil War, Alva Smith and her sisters are left with nothing but their good name. When Alva meets William Vanderbilt she learns his family has also been shut out of New York society. Hoping a union will improve both families’ standings, William and Alva marry but still seem to be on the outside of society until Alva plans a lavish costume ball. Suddenly they are recognized by the old money which controls the social scene. Alva designs a lavish house, the Marble House, and hosts grand balls. Along the way she learns that wealth, status and privilege are not a recipe for happiness. Facing an unimaginable betrayal, Alva puts her future at risk- with a scandalous strategy that changes her life.
Book Club members enjoyed reading about this brave, independent woman of the 1800’s. It is also a story of another segment of society and how their lives were so different from so many Americans at that time. Check out “ A Well Behaved Woman” or one of many other historical fiction novels at the LeRoy Public Library.
Request your copy at the following link. All you need is your library card # and PIN #.