The Astor Orphan: A Memoir by Alexandra Aldrich
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Quirky memoir about growing up Astor... in name, sort of. Ms. Aldrich is related to the Astors, Livingstons and other aristocratic Americans but is definitely the poor cousin. Her family lives at Rokeby, the Chanler estate, a decrepit mansion on 450 acres in Duchess County, New York. Dad Teddy is the unpaid handyman, trying to keep things ticking along, at war with his brother over what happens with and on the property. Grandmother Claire, an alcoholic, despairs of her younger son's life and tries to take care of Alexandra, eventually organizing things so she goes away to boarding school at age 14. All Alexandra wants is a clean house, good food and to fit in. You can guess how that goes.
The writing style is a little breezy, and some of the relationships between Astors would benefit from a family tree, but this is definitely a fast, fun read.
ARC provided by publisher.