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  • Writer's pictureJudith D Collins

The Social Graces

ISBN: 198480281X

Publisher: Berkley

Publication Date: 4/20/21

Format: Hardcover

My Rating: TBR

The author of Park Avenue Summer throws back the curtain on one of the most remarkable feuds in history: Alva Vanderbilt and Mrs. Astor's notorious battle for control of New York society during the Gilded Age.

1876. In the glittering world of Manhattan's upper crust, a woman’s value comes from her pedigree, dowry, and most importantly, her connections. They have few rights and even less independence—what they do have, is society, and society is paramount. The more celebrated the hostess, the more powerful the woman. And none is more powerful than Caroline Astor—the Mrs. Astor.

But times are changing.

Alva Vanderbilt has recently married into one of America's richest families. But what good is dizzying wealth when society refuses to acknowledge you? Alva, who knows what it is to have nothing, will do whatever it takes to have everything.

Sweeping three decades and based on true events, this is the mesmerizing story of two fascinating, complicated women going head to head, behaving badly, and discovering what’s truly at stake.


“Rosen always writes whip-smart women, and I can’t wait for her depiction of notorious social dragons Alva Vanderbilt and Mrs. Astor, who battle for control of New York society during the Gilded Age. Bridgerton’s Lady Whistledown and Lady Danbury have nothing on these two!”


"Witty and beautifully imagined…Rosen delights with breezy dialogue and keen insights into the era. Historical fans will love this."—Publishers Weekly (starred review)

"[P]ants a vivid and ravishing picture…recommended for fans of Rosen’s other works and readers who enjoy historical fiction and authors such as Kristin Hannah and Elizabeth Gilbert.”

—Library Journal (starred review)

“…Rosen presents an engaging novel of 1870s high-society foibles that will please book clubs and fans of glittering frock flicks.”


“Rosen’s novel opens with a sly wink to that grande dame of the Gilded Age, Edith Wharton, before she deftly spins a captivating tale of her own, based upon the legendary rivalry between Caroline Astor and Alva Vanderbilt. And what a rich story it is, full of opulent balls and monstrous mansions, yet firmly rooted in the parallel struggles of two very different heroines as they fight for their dignity and rights as wives, as mothers, and as women.”

—Fiona Davis, bestselling author of GMA Book Club Pick The Lions of Fifth Avenue

"As ever, Rosen shines with impeccable research and eloquent prose. Readers will relish this peek behind the curtain of New York’s most rich and famous families and follow with interest, amusement and even shock, the escapades of these strong and savvy women. Enjoy!”

—Pam Jenoff, New York Times bestselling author of The Lost Girls of Paris

“Delightful! Prepare to be caught up in a high society feud between The Mrs. Astor and upstart Alva Vanderbilt in this wonderful novel of manners and social survival in a time before women could vote. The Social Graces is written with the talented Renee Rosen's unique blend of heart and humor and I flew through the utterly charming pages, not always sure which of these majestic women I should be rooting for.”

—Stephanie Dray, New York Times Bestselling author of The Women of Chateau Lafayette

“Both an intimate portrait of two intriguing women and a sweeping depiction of Gilded Age society. Rosen’s characters leap off the page with vivid description and poignant emotion. Richly detailed and meticulously researched—historical fiction readers will love The Social Graces!”

—Chanel Cleeton, New York Times bestselling author of The Last Train to Key West

“By turns tender and devastating, this beautifully written novel kept me in thrall to the end.”

—Kerri Maher, author of The Girl in White Gloves

“Renée Rosen at her finest! Pulling back the curtain on the blood-sport world of Gilded Age high society, Rosen’s captivating story of rivals Alva Vanderbilt and Caroline Astor shows what happens when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.”

—Bryn Turnbull, author of The Woman Before Wallis

"Meticulously researched and absolutely absorbing, The Social Graces chronicles the eye-popping extravagances and catty magnificence of the brassy nouveau riches who fought to seize control of high society during the Gilded Age. I can’t remember the last book that made me gasp “Oh, no!” as many times at unexpected reversals. The pages all but turned themselves!"

—Julia Claiborne Johnson bestselling author of Be Frank With Me

“Renée Rosen’s The Social Graces is a fascinating look into the lives of women who created their own power in a world that granted them none. Rosen weaves a captivating story full of mounting rivalries, glittering balls, and social intrigue, but it's also a tale of women striving to manage their own lives and legacies. Enthralling, thought provoking, and memorable, this is a must read!”

—Kristin Beck, author of Courage My Love

"Rosen once again brings history to life with vivid storytelling and impeccable research. Caroline Astor and Alva Vanderbilt are formidable opponents as old money clashes with new money in the battle to reign among New York’s upper crust. Rosen shares the details of their infamous parties, the salaciousness of society's scandals as well the small, personal moments that show their humaneness and vulnerability. This is a must read for historical and/or women’s fiction fans.”

—Lauren Margolin, The Good Book Fairy

About the Author

Renee Rosen is the bestselling author of historical fiction. Her novels include Park Avenue Summer, Windy City Blues, White Collar Girl, What the Lady Wants and Dollface as well as the young adult novel, Every Crooked Pot. Her new novel, The Social Graces, a story about Mrs. Astor and Mrs. Vanderbilt vying for control of New York society during the Gilded Age, will be out April 20, 2021 from Penguin Random House/Berkley).

Renee is a native of Akron, Ohio and a graduate of The American University in Washington DC. She now lives in Chicago where she is at work on a new novel. Website







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