20893377WHAT THE LADY WANTS: A Novel of Marshall Field and the Gilded Age

Renee Rosen




Genre: Historical Romance/Gilded Age

Source: Received for an honest review from the publisher.




  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade (November 4, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451466713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451466716


(From Amazon)

In late-nineteenth-century Chicago, visionary retail tycoon Marshall Field made his fortune wooing women customers with his famous motto: “Give the lady what she wants.” His legendary charm also won the heart of socialite Delia Spencer and led to an infamous love affair.

The night of the Great Fire, as seventeen-year-old Delia watches the flames rise and consume what was the pioneer town of Chicago, she can’t imagine how much her life, her city, and her whole world are about to change. Nor can she guess that the agent of that change will not simply be the fire, but more so the man she meets that night.…

Leading the way in rebuilding after the fire, Marshall Field reopens his well-known dry goods store and transforms it into something the world has never seen before: a glamorous palace of a department store. He and his powerhouse coterie—including Potter Palmer and George Pullman—usher in the age of robber barons, the American royalty of their generation.

But behind the opulence, their private lives are riddled with scandal and heartbreak. Delia and Marshall first turn to each other out of loneliness, but as their love deepens, they will stand together despite disgrace and ostracism, through an age of devastation and opportunity, when an adolescent Chicago is transformed into the gleaming White City of the Chicago’s World’s Fair of 1893.

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WHAT THE LADY WANTS: A Novel of Marshall Field and the Gilded Age by

Renee Rosen is an interesting Historical Fiction/Gilded Age set in 1871-1906 Chicago. It is a story based on the infamous love affair between Marshall Field, retail  tycoon and the socialite, Delia Spencer,  their spouses, adultery, high society,gossip, the Great Chicago Fire aftermath, the early days of Marshall Field & Company and everything in between.

Charming, womanizer Marshall Field was a visionary,who made his fortune charming socialites of High society, but his most famous affair was with Delia Spencer. What a tangled, compelling and emotional read. Filled with devastation, the Gilded Age of Chicago, heartbreak, tragedy, suicide, scandal and gossip.

It is a captivating tale to be sure. Addictive and entertaining as well. Emotional at times, filled with heartbreak, labor organizers, the Haymarket Riots, and many life changing decisions. One of the most annoying parts of this tale to me was the value the Prairie Avenue placed on their set, above all others. Not withstanding the adultery Marshall and Delia engaged in with little regard to their spouses and families. Delia was devoted to Marshall. While, I believe or hope she had a genuine love and friendship, for her own spouse, Arthur Spenser. I understand it was very difficult for women in the 1800-1900’s to get a divorce, but I do not condone adultery, and infidelity. Which, I suppose is what made it such a captivating and emotional read.

Well written with tack and intrigue. The characters were engaging and interesting. The storyline was intriguing, captivating and emotional. If you are looking for a HEA ending, not so much so with this read. Although, it has it’s moments. An enjoyable and unique read.

*Received for an honest review from the publisher*


Rating: 4

Heat rating: Mild
Reviewed by: AprilR, courtesy of My Book Addiction and More