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The Second Mrs. Astor

Kensington Books

ISBN-13: 978-1-4967-3205-7 (e-book)

ISBN-10: 1-4967-3205-7 (e-book)

ISBN-13: 978-1-4967-3204-0

ISBN-10: 1-4967-3204-9

Jack Astor was American royalty, the richest man in the United States and Fifth Avenue scion of the Gilded Age.


Madeleine Force was a beautiful young debutante unexpectedly thrust into fame simply for falling in love with a famous man nearly three decades her senior.


Their remarkable story, both tragic and epic, captured the scandalized attention of the world.

Madeleine Force is just seventeen when she meets dashing war hero and canny businessman John Jacob Astor IV. She's beautiful, intelligent, and solidly upper-class, but the Astors are Knickerbockers, the elite of the elite. Jack's  mother was the Mrs. Astor, New York's most formidable socialite. Despite their age difference and the disgrace of his recent divorce, Madeleine falls headlong in love—and becomes the press's favorite target, a young Princess Diana of her time.​

After an extended honeymoon abroad away from the spotlight, the newlyweds plan to return home aboard the most luxurious, state-of-the-art steamship ever imagined: Titanic

When the liner hits an iceberg, there's no immediate panic since Titanic is, after all, unsinkable. As Jack helps his newly pregnant wife into a lifeboat, he assures her that he'll see her again soon...

Months later, the press has once more reshaped Madeleine's identity, transforming her from a gold-digging social climber into a brave, virtuous "girl widow," a true heroine of the disaster. But her most important decision still lies ahead: will she accept this assigned role, or carve out her own remarkable path?


“I was brought to tears by this shimmering account of the tragically brief courtship and marriage of Jack and Madeleine Astor. Abé is an exquisite storyteller, gracefully transporting the reader from Newport to Egypt to cold seas of the Atlantic. Rich in detail and deeply moving.”

—Fiona Davis, New York Times bestselling author of The Lions of Fifth Avenue


“One of the most beautifully written books I’ve ever had the pleasure to read, The Second Mrs. Astor brings to glittering life the romantic love story between John Jacob Astor and his young bride, Madeleine. You’ll find yourself glued to every page, falling in love with this dazzling couple, and despite knowing better, hoping against hope that they avoid the tragedy that awaits them on the ill-fated Titanic. A gorgeous, phenomenal novel I won’t soon forget.—Ellen Marie Wiseman, New York Times bestselling author of The Orphan Collector


“In The Second Mrs. Astor, Shana Abé revisits the Titanic tragedy from the intriguing new perspective of Madeleine Astor, a teenage society bride whom history has mostly forgotten. Through Madeleine, we see a young woman fall in love with America’s wealthiest man, the society scandal that follows, a level of media intrusion not dissimilar to that endured by a young Princess Diana and, of course, the tragic events that unfold during Titanic’s maiden voyage. The Second Mrs. Astor is a touching, compelling and haunting love story that will delight fans of historical fiction and enthrall those of us for whom the Titanic will always fascinate.”

—Hazel Gaynor, Award-winning, New York Times, USA Today, and Irish Times bestselling author of The Bird in the Bamboo Cage and When We Were Young and Brave