Sunday, January 11, 2009

Books about high society: five best

Meryl Gordon, author of Mrs. Astor Regrets: The Hidden Betrayals of a Family Beyond Reproach, compiled a list of the five best "chronicles of high society" for the Wall Street Journal.

One book on her list:
Frankie's Place
by Jim Sterba
Grove, 2003
In 1982, when New York Times reporter Jim Sterba (now with The Wall Street Journal) fell for journalist Frances FitzGerald, he was initially daunted by her patrician New England background. Sterba was the product of a lonely childhood on a Michigan farm; she was the daughter of the swashbuckling deputy director of the CIA, Desmond FitzGerald, and the socially connected Marietta Peabody. Frankie, as Frances was known, had always summered at Northeast Harbor, an elite retreat in Maine (though the "Frankie's place" of the title is a decidedly non-luxurious uninsulated cabin). Reporting with wit and affection his experiences as a new spouse adjusting to this privileged patch of Maine, Sterba paints a memorable portrait of the village's local characters but also of the vacationing aristocracy, whose number included Brooke Astor.
Read about all five books on Gordon's list.

--Marshal Zeringue