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Sunday, February 24, 2019

Book Review: Tragic Mansions by Mrs. Philip Lydig

Life and relationships in wealthy Gilded Age society is a fascinating topic, but there are only a few first hand accounts from the women who ruled the upper echelons of society during this era.  Maverick in Mauve: The Diary of a Romantic Age by Florence Adele Sloane (a great-granddaughter of Cornelius Vanderbilt) is a published account of diary entries in the years before and during the author's marriage.  Another great example written by Sloane's cousin, Consuelo Vanderbilt Balsan, was entitled The Glitter and the Gold.  Both provide unique insights into love and marriage within a society with very strict rules.  A third example provides an equally fascinating and perhaps darker look into the lives of those who appeared to have it all.  Published in 1927 by Rita de Acosta Lydig, the book came at a time when Rita was in ill health and a lot of debt.  She wrote the book to earn money and in the meantime provided a unique window into her world.

Portrait of Rita de Acosta Lydig by Giovanni Boldini, 1911