The Author Stories Podcast Episode 571 | Karen Harper Interview
My guest today is Karen Harper, author of American Duchess: A Novel of Consuelo Vanderbilt
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Before there was Meghan Markle, there was Consuelo Vanderbilt, the original American Duchess. Perfect for readers of Jennifer Robson and lovers of Downton Abbey.
Karen Harper tells the tale of Consuelo Vanderbilt, her “The Wedding of the Century” to the Duke of Marlborough, and her quest to find meaning behind “the glitter and the gold.”
On a cold November day in 1895, a carriage approaches St Thomas Episcopal Church on New York City’s Fifth Avenue. Massive crowds surge forward, awaiting their glimpse of heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt. Just 18, the beautiful bride has not only arrived late, but in tears, yet her marriage to the aloof Duke of Marlborough proceeds. Bullied into the wedding by her indomitable mother, Alva, Consuelo loves another. But a deal was made, trading some of the vast Vanderbilt wealth for a title and prestige, and Consuelo, bred to obey, realizes she must make the best of things.
At Blenheim Palace, Consuelo is confronted with an overwhelming list of duties, including producing an “heir and a spare,” but her relationship with the duke quickly disintegrates. Consuelo finds an inner strength, charming everyone from debutantes to diplomats including Winston Churchill, as she fights for women’s suffrage. And when she takes a scandalous leap, can she hope to attain love at last…?
From the dawning of the opulent Gilded Age, to the battles of the Second World War, American Duchessis a riveting tale of one woman’s quest to attain independence—at any price.
Karen Harper is the New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author of romantic suspense and historical novels. A native Ohioan, Karen is a former high school English teacher and English-and-writing instructor at the Ohio State University. (Go Bucks!) The Harpers are avid Ohio State football fans, but they have a serious side too. They were on the 10-year committee which revamped the main library on campus. The Ohio State Library houses her author collection in Rare Books and Manuscripts.
The Harpers love to travel, and Karen often uses her favorite places as settings for her novels. She’s recently written books set in Edwardian England and South Florida, the latter where she lived for 30 winters. Her latest trilogy is THE SOUTH SHORES NOVELS, with forensic psychologist Claire Britten and criminal lawyer Nick Markwood. Her most recent historical is THE IT GIRLS.
These bring her published books to over 70 in a 35-year writing career.
Karen belongs to several writer’s organizations, including International Thriller Writers, Mystery Writers of America, Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and The Historical Novel Society. She appreciates hearing from readers on her website at www.KarenHarperAuthor.com and www.facebook.com/KarenHarperAuthor–and she answers!
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