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Arts & Culture

Can Well-Behaved Women Make History?

a headshot of Therese Anne Fowler

Many North Carolinians have witnessed firsthand the wealth and grandeur of the Vanderbilt family at the Biltmore Estate in Asheville. And while the stories of Cornelius, and other Vanderbilt men are well known and documented, less is known about the Vanderbilt women.

In her new book, “A Well-Behaved Woman: A Novel of the Vanderbilts” (St. Martins Press/2018), New York Times bestselling author Therese Anne Fowler explores the life and legacy of Alva Smith, a southern-born socialite who married into the Vanderbilt family. Fowler credits Alva with rebranding the family name from nouveau riche to a family accepted by high society New Yorkers. Fowler joins host Frank Stasio to discuss her historical novel, and the connection between Alva Smith and other contemporary women like Hillary Clinton who she feels are misrepresented in history. Fowler will be the featured guest at a fundraising event for the Durham Literacy Center Thursday, Oct 18 at 5:30 p.m. at the Rubenstein Library on the Duke University campus. She will also be at the Reading Between The Wines benefit in Goldsboro on Saturday, Oct. 20 and at the University of North Carolina Asheville on Tuesday, Oct.30.

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