Just when I was doing so well with my blogging, I missed a post. My only excuse is I was working on the first draft of book 4, and when I’m drafting (as opposed to revising) I need to stay focused and get it done quickly or the story becomes too choppy. I’m 40k words in and I hope to be done with this draft in five weeks! (But I’ll try not to miss another blog post.) This time I have a bit of news and another heiress profile.
There’s been quite a bit of excitement since my last post. For one thing, there will be a book 4 in the Countess of Harleigh series! And a 5 and a 6! I’m very excited about that. Book 4 is tentatively titled A Lady’s Guide to Scandal and Murder and will include some members of the Romanov family, which has been a lot of fun to research.
I’ve also learned that A Lady’s Guide to Etiquette and Murder is up for a Macavity award, specifically the Sue Feder Memorial Award for best Historical Mystery! The awards are given out at the opening ceremonies of the Bouchercon Mystery Convention. This year that takes place in Dallas, TX October 30th through November 3rd.
I’ll be doing two Historical Mystery panels with authors L.A. Chandlar and C.M. Gleason later this month. If you’re in the area, please come by and say hello. They should be fun events!
Wednesday, August 28th at 7:00 pm
2513 Jackson Avenue, Ann Arbor, MI 48103
Thursday, August 29th at 6:00 pm
Pages is at 19560 Grand River Avenue, Detroit, MI 48223
That’s it for the news, so how about a new heiress profile?
American Heiress Anna Gould
Anna was the fifth child of Jay Gould, one of the most ruthless robber barons and one of the richest men of the Gilded Age. She grew up with every possible luxury, had a pleasant manner, and an iron will inherited from her father. Her determination to get her way both got her into a bad marriage and saved her from it.
In 1894 she was nineteen and engaged to Oliver Harriman, a financier and friend of her brother, when she traveled to Paris to purchase her trousseau. It was there she met twenty-seven-year-old Paul Ernest Boniface, Comte de Castellane, known as Boni. Boni was handsome, charming, and extravagant, with an inflated sense of his own worth. He was also way over his head in debt. Whatever he thought of Anna, she had to be the answer to his financial woes. Anna’s fortune was approximately $12 million. That would be equivalent to $366 million today.
Anna was captivated but wary. Boni wooed her for nearly a year, borrowing from his banks and friends to follow her back to the US where he finally popped the question, and she accepted. She had one caveat, which should have made Boni concerned; she would not convert to his family’s religion, Catholicism, and admitted if she was not happy, she would divorce him.
The newlyweds returned to France and proceeded to spend their way through Anna’s annual income of $750,000 ($23 million in today’s dollars). It wasn’t enough for Boni who could deny himself nothing. Now that he had credit again, he spent far beyond their income. Anna didn’t mind his spending habits, but his infidelity hurt. Boni had an eye for the ladies, and as with his spending, nothing would stop him from indulging himself.
They lived this way for ten years, occasionally refinancing their debt, until Anna grew tired of her husband’s affairs, extravagance, and general way of life. In one day, she put an end to it. Boni was a member of the Chambre des Deputes and while he was away from home one afternoon on state business, Anna made her move—literally. When Boni came home the house was dark, the furnishings gone, and the telephone cut off. The next day he was served with an application for separation, which led to spectacularly public divorce. She’d warned him, and what Anna wants, Anna gets.
I’m not saying either party was right or wrong, but so many histories of the American heiresses ended with them stuck in a loveless marriage, it’s kind of refreshing to see one save herself. For more of Anna’s story, you might want to read The Husband Hunters, by Anne De Courcy.