Tag Archives: turn-of-the-century

Let’s make a deal

I finished reading a great book today on the plane — a non-fiction, history book even.

I know, right?

To Marry an English Lord” is the book that inspired Julian Fellowes to create the award-winning series Downton Abbey on PBS.

It tells the true story of the more than 100 American heiresses who traded money for marriage —  and a nifty title in Britain — around the turn of the century.

Sound just like Lady Grantham, doesn’t it?

The real life stories, as told by Gail MacColl and Carol Wallace, are no less entertaining and compelling.  Perhaps that’s why it doesn’t feel one bit like a high school history class.

I was even inspired to order The Glitter and the Gold, a first-hand account of American heiress Consuelo Vanderbilt, who married the ninth Duke of Marlborough in 1895.  It’s considered to be one of the best accounts of the ‘aristocratic life.’

Sign me up.


Happy Bunny Day!

If you’re hanging out at home with family and friends and looking for a ‘bunny of a film,’ I recommend Miss Potter, starring Renee Zellweger and Ewan McGregor.

It wasn’t a big box office hit in 2006, and I haven’t seen it on premium channels much, either.  That’s why I bought the DVD.

I love it that much.

It tells the story of Beatrix Potter, the author of the beloved children’s book, “The Tale of Peter Rabbit,” and her quest for personal independence and publication at the turn of the century — no small achievement for a female in 1902.

She is assisted by rookie editor Norman Warne (McGregor), who publishes her books and becomes much more than a business colleague.

Their growing relationship is not happy news to everyone, and the movie tells the tale with old-world charm and romance, for which I am a sucker.  I think you will like it, too.  It is Easter, after all…

Enjoy the sweetness.

Favorite places

While re-watching 500 Days of Summer recently, I found myself wondering…

What are my favorite buildings in Manhattan?

The lovesick architect Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, was able to find inspiration in Los Angeles.  I live in New York City, home to some of the most iconic buildings in the world.  What speaks to me?

The Lucerne Hotel

When I was looking for my first apartment in the city back in 2006, this Upper West Side building immediately caught my eye.  The realtor had made an appointment for me at a nondescript high-rise across the street; I just wanted to talk about this beautifully ornate structure.

I soon learned it was a boutique hotel with a decidedly European influence — a French restaurant occupies the entire ground floor — and that had it just undergone a major renovation.

But at the turn-of-the-century, The Lucerne was a residence hotel.  Eugene O’Neill is one of its more storied occupants.  I’m sure it was less grand back then, but the man knew his architecture.

I wish the darn thing would go co-op now!