... exhaustively researched and elegantly written ... In addition to her expertise in horticulture, Griswold drew on her personal familiarity with the Mellon family ... With the book’s breaks in chronology, characters sometimes ricochet through it ... Notwithstanding her extreme discretion, Griswold sees Mellon ultimately as an impresario and a showman who theatrically created one spectacular work of fantasy after another. She sure had quite a run.
... meticulously researched and engaging ... Like an expert tour guide Ms. Griswold takes you around the Mellons’ 'self-sufficient universe [where] acquiring the best became expected, ingrained,' commenting with scholarly detail on the gardens and the décor of the houses ... This is a lot of information about a talented woman whose personality isn’t that sympathetic. But Ms. Griswold notes that what saved Bunny 'from being a complacent, undereducated, rich society woman with time on her hands was her bottomless curiosity.' She was a gifted horticulturalist, and this book is certain to inspire gardeners, even if they don’t have Mellon millions to spend on topiary.
... impressive ... Incorporating thorough research and excerpts from Mellon’s personal archive, Griswold captures America’s changing social and cultural landscape through the eyes of a socialite who wanted to 'always give something back' ... Griswold’s rich narrative highlights Mellon’s extravagance, but avoids mythologizing ... This is a fast-paced charmer for design enthusiasts and art mavens.