To Marry an English Lord Book Review

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If you’re a fan of Downton Abbey, the novels of Edith Wharton, or similar period pieces, I can’t recommend To Marry an English Lord, by Gail MacColl and Carol McD. Wallace, highly enough. Starting in the 1870s, many wealthy and beautiful American heiresses, snubbed by stuffy New York high society, moved to England, where they married into the British aristocracy, saving many a bankrupt family estate in the process. These matches had surprisingly far reaching consequences for both British and American society, and included Randolph and Jennie Churchill, parents of Winston, George and Mary Curzon, who became the second highest ranking woman in the British Empire after Lord Curzon was named viceroy of India, and James and Frances Burke-Roche, great-grandparents of Princess Diana. The book also focuses a great deal on Alva Vanderbilt and her daughter Consuelo (pictured on the cover), who married the Duke of Marlborough and later shared her experiences in the classic memoir The Glitter and the Gold. (If you’re interested in the Vanderbilt ladies, I also recommend Consuelo and Alva Vanderbilt: The Story of a Daughter and a Mother in the Gilded Age.)

To Marry an English Lord is a well-written, informative, and highly entertaining peek into the lives of wealthy and aristocratic Americans and Brits in the late Victorian and Edwardian eras. Many parts read kind of like a Victorian People magazine, and the gossip is still as scorching now as it was 120 years ago! My only complaint is the format of the book, which is copiously illustrated and stuffed with so many info boxes and two page spreads on different details that it can be difficult to read. Hard to fault a book too much for providing too much information, though, especially when it’s as fascinating as this one!

Originally published in 1989, To Marry an English Lord has been re-released as a result of the popularity of Downton Abbey, which features an Anglo-American marriage between Lord Robert and Cora Crawley that is similar to those described in this book.

My rating: (4.5 / 5)

The Phantom of the Opera (2005) Movie Review

The Phantom of the Opera (Widescreen Edition) (DVD)
Actors: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson, Minnie Driver
Director: Joel Schumacher
Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, Dubbed, NTSC
Studio: WarnerBrothers
Running Time: 141 minutes

List Price: $5.97
Price: $3.95
98 offers available from $1.43
4.6 out of 5 stars (3585)


As a longtime “phan,” I was pretty excited about this film, but I’m sad to say it disappointed me. Though visually stunning (the opening scene when the theater is restored to former glory was particularly breathtaking), the vocals were not up to par, especially Gerard Butler as the Phantom, whose voice was gravelly rather than seductive and bore no resemblance to anything that might be realistically mistaken for the voice of an angel. There were also some alterations to the plot that managed to be both pointless and stupid, and I can’t get over the awfulness of Butler’s makeup, which resembled a bad sunburn or case of hives more than a terrifying deformity.


Oh well.

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My rating: (2 / 5)

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