From the front flap of this 266 page book: "Sparkling with all the glitter of an opulent age, here is a dramatic, richly detailed biography of Consuela Vanderbilt (1877-1964), the American heiress who became a duchess at the expense of love and whose fabled palaces were truly gilded cages. Heiress to the largest personal fortune American has ever known, sheltered in resplendent mansions on Fifth Avenue and in Newport, rigorously trained to assume a role at the pinnacle of society. Consuela Vanderbilt had every luxury imaginable - except a life of her own. Even in marriage she was permitted no freedom. Consuela's mother, Alva, a Southern belle with an iron will and ruthless social aspirations, was determined that her daughter be an aristocrat - and Charles Spencer Churchill, ninth Duke of Marlborough, was the era's most eligible bachelor. Short of royalty, no title was more glamorous than Duchess of Marlborough, no home more stately than Blenheim Palace - nor, Consuela soon discovered, more loveless. Ignored by a husband whose sole passions were house and heritage, intimidated by Britain's rigid aristocratic society. Consuela became a prisoner of her own enormous wealth. But 'Consuela' is also a story of a struggle for self-determination, of the transformation of a shy American girl into an independent woman who risked society's displeasure with divorce and supported social causes with a fervor as well as checks. And it is, finally, the portrait of a woman who found love late in life and treasured it as her real fortune." Contains twenty-eight black and white photos and reproductions.