Cover Image: An American Princess

An American Princess

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This is a biography of Allene Tew. Born in a small rural community in the USA, she flourished in the “gilded age” of the 1920s & 30s and in later years became connected to many of the most influential families of the early 20th Century, 
Starting before Allene’s birth, we follow her brothers William & George as they build a successful business & become prominent citizens in a small town that rose from nothing to become a holiday/vacation destination for the wealthy. Allene was born to the less successful younger son of the family and struggled to find her place in life but she had a spirit/personality that attracted the son of a wealthy family. Allene married him, and moved to Pittsburgh, where she wasn't accepted into her husband’s family for many years. Eventually accepted, she became a successful society hostess and had three children, though one died in early childhood. After her husband died, Allene didn’t wallow in misery, she looked for a new husband who could offer her & her children the stability they need. Her second marriage ended in divorce after only a year, but her third marriage was another very happy one which also introduced her to more of the society “elite” of the day. Her two adult children died (one in WW1 & the other during the “Spanish Flu” epidemic) and Allene & her husband were badly affected by the 1929 financial crash. After her husband’s death she resettled in Europe, where she met her fourth husband, a German prince. Although their marriage lasted just 7 years, a difference in opinion regarding the Nazi regime being the likely reason for it’s demise, he introduced Allene into the European aristocracy and particularly the Dutch Royal family (her husband was an heir to the Dutch throne until the birth of Princess Juliana). Her final marriage was to another European noble, and with some influential friends, she became closer to the Dutch Royal Family, introducing Prince Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld to Princess/Queen Juliana of the Netherlands and as a close friend of both sides of the family she became godmother to their eldest daughter & heir to the throne Princess/Queen Beatrix. 

Throughout her life, Allene was determined to not only succeed but to learn from her past and thrive in her future. She wanted to live her own life, somewhat unusual for a woman of her time, and she showed determination, loyalty and the ability to adapt to new circumstances, constantly reinventing herself as circumstances required. 

The book is well researched, but the writing (and this may be more of a problem with the translation than the original writing) is dull, uninspiring and didn’t make me connect with Allene or her story. There were parts that were repeated, disjointed or where the historical detail was inaccurate/overly simplified (almost in the way you’d explain to a child not an adult reading what is quite a detailed in-depth book!). 
Overall, this is a book that will appeal to anyone with a personal link to Allene Tew, or a specific interest in her story/a linked story but it fell flat as a general interest historical biography. As an avid reader of biographies and with a particular interest in this time period, I expected to enjoy this book far more than I did.
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without giving away, this is an interesting book of someone I was totally unfamiliar with, Allene Tew was not as happy as one would think among the richest during the gilded age, a period I love to read about. her life has many twists and turns, and this author is up for the challenge, well researched , recommend this book to anyone interested in gilded age characters
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I really tried to get into this biography because it was about an American who became a European princess. However, this nonfiction book was more about her lovers. The story was dragged and much happened. Still, I recommend this for fans of royalty! This book is perfect for fans of Moniek Bloks, Helen Rappaport, and Kate Williams!
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Wow, what a fascinating and well-told story of the life of An American Princess.

Allene Tew's story is set during the late 1800s in Upstate NY where she weds Tod Hostetter not knowing he was heir to one of the wealthiest families in America.

She lived during the Gilded Age which is one of my favorite eras. However, she lived a very tumultuous life having wed four times, experienced personal tragedies during World War I, and the crash of 1929.

Very well-written this is definitely a must-read.
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Fascinating book about the life of Allene Tew. Born in the Victorian Era, came of age in the Guilded Era, survived two World Wars, and was connected to some of the most influential people of the 20th Century. She led a fascinating life and despite all the tragedies never let the sorrow prevent her from continuing to live.
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historical-figures, historical-places-events, historical-research, history-and-culture, biographical-novel, Europe, European-history, family-dynamics, relationships, loss, love****

If you're into soap operas of the rich and famous, you'll love this book. I can easily think of several friends who would just love it. Me, not so much. I just couldn't get into it. It must be well written from what others have said, and it must have been a bear to translate from the Dutch. I have rated it according to those I spoke with who hopped right off to their libraries to try to check out a copy (one was on waiting list for over 6 weeks!).
I requested and received a free ebook copy from Amazon Crossing via NetGalley.
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Thank you to @netgalley and the publisher for this free eARC in exchange for my honest review. 
The story spans from the 1800's and followes the rise of tho Tew brothers William and George... They became prominent citizens, helped slaves escape from US to Canada all the while building their own families and fortunes. 
The story continues on to tell us about Allene Tew a women way before her time...
A story of love, loss and hope, American princess also shows the power and determination of a woman who didn't want to settle for something she didn't like... Although her life has been shattered by loss of her loved ones, Allene didn't fall.... She helped many as if they were her own children...
The last chapter describing her death in Europe really left an impact on me... Mostly the description of the room she lived in and died...
This was a very good book and I highly recommend it.
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Unfortunately the quality of the ARC was atrocious and I simply couldn't deal with it unless I wanted to really damage my dear eyesight. I really tried but I couldn't go on.

Many thanks to Netgalley for this missed opportunity
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I was surprised by how much I liked this book. It was so informative and interesting. It taught so much about the early life of the privileged on the East Coast. I thoroughly enjoyed.
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I read this book in translation and I greatly feel that something was lost from the original Dutch. The author noted that she was pleased to do a book about an American after writing about German and Dutch people. Unfortunately, after concluding this book, I feel like what I know about “The American Princess” (Allene Tew) is so minimal. The book is researched (I believe the last 20% of the book lists sources), but rarely felt like I was learning anything other than the factual basics (Allene was born here, she moved here, she married, she remarried, she traveled, etc.) opposed to learning about Allene as a person. While I enjoy historical details in historical books (both fiction and non-fiction), at times either the author went into too much detail, occasionally repeating facts, or else made generalizations that weren’t quite accurate (such as the paragraph explaining Black Thursday). I really wanted to enjoy this book more than I did.
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Very interesting book about a woman who constantly reinvented herself and didn’t let misfortune stop her. She was a very strong person and this insight into her life and times was a good read
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An incredible story about a woman who survives and thrives. She is adaptable and willing to change and learn. Avid at learning from not only her surroundings, but books, people and elements. She is able to create the world she wanted through purely knowing she could do anything and she did. Strong woman who lived her life on her terms.
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The blurb caught my attention but after that I lost my interest and didn't read this book. Maybe next time.
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"If you no longer have a future, what else is there left but dreams of the past?" - Allene Tew

I picked this book as one I wanted to read, because I'm fascinated by those who claim to be American Royalty. This was not a claim that Allene Tew made of herself, but that she acquired as a result of her own marriage to European Royalty later in life.

American Princess by Annejet van der Zijl is a fascinating study on both early American History, and the life of one whose extended family has extreme wealth and drive, yet someone who seems destined for a lesser life. During her early years, Allene's father seems to have skipped the seemingly inherited success gene that all of his siblings had. Instead, he is satisfied with a life of - enough. 

This is not a book to sit and read in one sitting. It requires bite sized pieces to mull over and digest. This is a story of a town rising from literally nothing in the days before towns and cities were commonplace; to become a place that the wealthy, the elite, the aspiring to be wealthy came to vacation. Jamestown, on the banks of the Chautauqua, was a town with two faces: dull, moderate, mundane in its very existence during the cold winter months; the town where no one sleeps and the party continues from dawn to dawn during the summer. It is the story of a young girl, unsure where she fits in amongst her peers, making things work the best way that she knows how.

As the story of her life continues, we find Allene getting married and moving with her husband to Pittsburgh, where she wasn't truly accepted into her new family for many years. After her husband dies, Allene doesn't give up and give in. She has already experienced divorce, the death of a child, vices that destroyed her husband - and ultimately ended in financial destruction. Her spirit, however, is not crushed. She is able to - as they say - pick herself up by the bootstraps, and carry on.

Allene's life is one of tragedy, perseverance, loyalty, hard won success, and hardship - mingled with times of joy acceptance. As you read An American Princess, you will find comparisons in your own life; experiences that have shaped you to become the person that you are today. You might find yourself changing the way you view others around you so that you treat them better. I found - within the first few chapters, a strong desire to seek out those who were on the outskirts of my personal social circle - a desire to draw them in.

This book was NOT available at my local library - or in my library system, but it should be. It should be available to all those who love history and biographies. This book becomes an important source for my own family history when I discovered that Allene Tew is a far distant relative. I desire then, to know more about her circumstances, and I am able to see where my own family lines have come from and what they have done with their heritage.

Pros: Detailed in the history of early America as well as the life of Allene Tew. Allene has an indomitable spirit; she carries on through tragedy and strife. Allene is an example of what the American Spirit was intended to be when the nation was formed.

Cons: Biographies are not easy reading. This is a book to be read at the same time as other books. There are heavy topics discussed in this book; death, addiction, infidelity.

Overall: I give this a 4 star rating. Simply because it is a biography and not easy reading. It's worth having on the library shelf and reading over a period of time. 

This book was published in 2018 and should be easily found at local bookstores and libraries.
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I want to thank NetGalley, the publisher and the author for giving me the opportunity to review this book.  I admit in my joy at joining NetGalley I may have been overzealous in my requesting numbers.  As this book has already been published, I am choosing to work on the current upcoming publish date books in my que.  As I complete those I will work on my backlogged request and will provide a review at that time.  I again send my sincere thanks and apologies.
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I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Being Dutch, it was interesting to read the English translation of a Dutch book instead of just the original version but it never bothered me. 

I had never heard of Allene Tew before but had seen the cover of the book in bookshops before and I was very interested to discover her connection with the Dutch royal family. This is a story about love, hope and courage. Allene was a remarkable woman who grew up in the latter part of the nineteenth century and because of her belief in herself and that everything is possible, was able to travel the world and become one of the richest women in the world and even a real princess. 

I loved reading about the period right after the turn of the century in America and the lifestyle of the rich before the World Wars. 

Thank you to Netgalley, the author and the publisher for the chance to read this interesting story!
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Accurately it is more of a 3.5 stars but rounded up to 4.

When i first got this book i thought it would a biography of the lovely American princess told from her point of view, however i was let down as this book is more properly described as a historical retelling of the people that surrounded her as well as the time period that she lived in.
There was little information regarding her story except from the what the author found out about her and her collection of letters.
Still it was a good short read and i would recommend it if you are interested in such settings.
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I love historical non-fiction/biographies, mostly when they talk about the lives of fascinating women. In such stories,s you can always find examples of strength and perseverance,e and that is what was projected in this story of Allene Tew. This was a great read, and I would highly recommend it.
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I love reading historical fiction but this one sadly fell a bit flat for me. I felt like the author did a great job researching but it felt more like a history textbook. It made it really hard for me to connect to Allene.
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A wonderfully entertaining account of an amazing life woman.  I am very glad I selected this to try.  I enjoy historical family sagas and I especially enjoyed the fact it was American and European.  An interesting pursuit of the American Dream.  I definitely recommend this book to anyone interested in the social history of the wealthy classes.
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