books that make you go hmmm...

by Jehanne Wake

Release Date:  April 5, 2011

SYNOPSIS:  Sisters of Fortune is the exuberant, illustrated history of the Caton sisters, four aristrocrats in republican America who captivated nineteenth-century European society with their charm, wit, and beauty.

Like a true romantic tale from Jane Austen, Sisters of Fortune follows the fabulous Caton sisters, the first American heiresses to take Europe by storm, as they travel from their well-appointed Maryland home, across the Atlantic, and into the hearts of the British aristocracy.

Based on intimate and previously unpublished letters written by the Caton sisters, filled with gossipy details about life in nineteenth-century ballrooms and boudoirs, this meticulously researched book introduces readers to Marianne, Bess, Louisa, and Emily—arguably the first American princesses. Descended from one of our nation’s founding fathers and raised to be educated, independent, and opinionated young women, when the Caton sisters traveled to Europe in 1816, they were a force to be reckoned with. Despite prejudice against Americans, the sisters won coveted places at the highest levels of Regency society by virtue of their charm, intelligence, and great beauty. Marianne found a loving soulmate in the Duke of Wellington. Emily married a fur-trader and ran the family estate. Bess was a wizard at the stock market, becoming a successful lady speculator. And Louisa became the first American duchess and a member of Queen Victoria’s court.

An unusual true story of money, love, and life at the top, Sisters of Fortune offers readers a romantic family history and an insider look at the adventures of America’s original blue-blooded girls.


After graduating from Oxford, Jehanne Wake worked as a trainee at Solomon Brothers in New York City. Returning to London, she worked as a researcher at Burke's Peerage and in the House of Commons. Her first book was a biography, Princess Louise, Queen Victoria's Unconventional Daughter, followed by a history of Kleinworh Benson, one of London's leading merchant banks. She lives in London.



  1. Tried to google them but can't make any sense of it all, one page says one thing, another page another

  2. Amy, this author sounds like she's had a really interesting professional life...the researcher job at Burke's Peerage particularly :)

  3. OMG I'm adding this to my TBR RIGHT NOW! I live in Catonsville, named after the family!

  4. Wow, this sounds like it would be a great read. I'm going and add it to my wish list now. Thanks for the intro!

  5. This is definitely intriguing ... Can't wait until it comes out and can get more info/read it!


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