Friday, May 10, 2019

An American Princess: The Many Lives of Allene Tew, by Annejet van der Zijl (author), Michele Hutchison (translator), Teri Schnaubelt (narrator)

Brilliance Audio, May 2018

Allene Tew was born in 1872 to the less successful branch of the Tew family, who had a major role in the founding and growth of Jamestown, NY. She was a slightly wild child, and a real beauty, and at eighteen she impulsively married a young man she met at a local dance. That young man was Tod Hostetter, wealthy scion of a Pittsburgh family dealing in a patent medicine that was, in fact, mostly alcohol. She made herself into a successful Pittsburgh hostess, but the marriage fell apart due largely to Tod's gambling and general irresponsibility, and when he died twelve years later, she left Pittsburgh for New York City and never really looked back.

Over the course of the Gilded Age, World War One, the Roaring Twenties, the Depression, and World War Two, she married four more times, became a leading socialite, a successful businesswoman, and a European aristocrat by marriage--first a German princess, and then a Russian countess.

It was a wild, exciting life, but what stands out about it is Allene's fundamentally level, pragmatic head, that enabled her to keep going whatever reversals she hit, including taking a large hit but not being financially ruined by the 1929 stock market crash and the ensuing Depression. She was an interesting and apparently very likable woman, and this is a story well told.


I bought this audiobook.

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