Royal biographer Hugo Vickers, editor of The Quest for Queen Mary, knew Gladys towards the end of her life. He draws on his vivid recollections, diaries, and Gladys's personal archive to bring us the tale of a fascinating, alluring, complex, largely forgotten woman of her age.
... gripping ... Warning: this is far from being a totally fresh new book. It’s an updating of Vickers’s earlier biography ... 'This edition has been completely rewritten,' Vickers writes in the preface. That’s an overstatement. Reading the two versions in parallel, I noted swathes of prose from the first book reproduced word for word, or with tiny adjustments. So this is not so much a rewriting as a reheating with fresh seasoning ... Vickers paints an unforgettable picture of the world in which Gladys and Sunny grew up ... Vickers has an unerring eye for telling social details ... This is a pitiful, jaw-dropping story, brilliantly told.
... narrated with an admirable balance of sympathy and wit ... Vickers has ensured that Marlborough’s last duchess won’t return to obscurity any time soon by giving us this richly anecdotal and oddly captivating book.
Vickers has extensively reworked the book with the addition of new archive material. As the tale of a doomed American adventure into the British aristocracy, this revised edition couldn’t be better timed ... Vickers tells Gladys’s tale with brio and wit, but is nevertheless respectful of a life which could easily be presented as farce.