A poignant, evocative, and wonderfully gossipy account of the two sisters who represented style and class above all else—Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill—from the authors of Furious Love.
When sixty-four-year-old Jackie Kennedy Onassis died in her Fifth Avenue apartment, her younger sister Lee wept inconsolably. Then Jackie’s thirty-eight-page will was read. Lee discovered that substantial cash bequests were left to family members, friends, and employees—but nothing to her. "I have made no provision in this my Will for my sister, Lee B. Radziwill, for whom I have great affection, because I have already done so during my lifetime," read Jackie’s final testament. Drawing on the authors’ candid interviews with Lee Radziwill, The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters explores their complicated relationship, placing them at the center of twentieth-century fashion, design, and style.
In life, Jackie and Lee were alike in so many ways. Both women had a keen eye for beauty—in fashion, design, painting, music, dance, sculpture, poetry—and both were talented artists. Both loved pre-revolutionary Russian culture, and the blinding sunlight, calm seas, and ancient olive groves of Greece. Both loved the siren call of the Atlantic, sharing sweet, early memories of swimming with the rakish father they adored, Jack Vernou Bouvier, at his East Hampton retreat. But Jackie was her father’s favorite, and Lee, her mother’s. One would grow to become the most iconic woman of her time, while the other lived in her shadow. As they grew up, the two sisters developed an extremely close relationship threaded with rivalry, jealousy, and competition. Yet it was probably the most important relationship of their lives.
For the first time, Vanity Fair contributing editor Sam Kashner and acclaimed biographer Nancy Schoenberger tell the complete story of these larger-than-life sisters. Drawing on new information and extensive interviews with Lee, now eighty-four, this dual biography sheds light on the public and private lives of two extraordinary women who lived through immense tragedy in enormous glamour.
About the Author
Sam Kashner is the author of four nonfiction books, including the memoir When I Was Cool: My Life at the Jack Kerouac School, and one novel, Sinatraland. He has written extensively for Vanity Fair as a contributing editor.
Nancy Schoenberger is the author of Dangerous Muse: the Life of Lady Caroline Blackwood; Wayne and Ford: the Films, The Friendship, and the Forging of an American Hero; and three prize-winning books of poetry. She teaches at The College of William and Mary where she directs the Creative Writing Program.
Poet and biographer Nancy Schoenberger is the author of Dangerous Muse: The Life of Lady Caroline Blackwood. She directs the Creative Writing Program at the College of William and Mary.
“This lavish portrait plumbs the tensions between bookish, regal Jackie and “lady-in-waiting” Lee, who sought the limelight only to be eclipsed by her iconic sister.”
— O magazine
“Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger paint a lush picture of the complicated relationship between sisters Jackie Onassis and Lee Radziwill.... Gossipy gems are studded throughout.”
— Vanity Fair
“Don’t be too put off by the salacious title – though the co-writers definitely don’t avoid gossipy material, their book is no hatchet job, and actually draws from extensive interviews with Radziwill, who’s now 84 years old. The result is a lively and highly entertaining profile of two dynamic and super-stylish sibling-rivals.”
— BBC America
“[A] taut and fascinating work.”
— In Style
“The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters is journalism. . . . it is a tale for the curious, with an excellent index allowing readers to retrace their steps as the plot thickens.”
— East Hampton Star
“To-be-devoured-like-a-box-of-chocolates, Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberg’s juicy page-turner, The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters is. . . . a poignant account.”
— Wag Mag
“A complex portrait of Jackie and Lee Bouvier and how their lives and loves defined them and their relationship as sisters.”
— Shelf Awareness
“One would think there couldn’t be much more to say about Jackie Kennedy and Lee Radziwill, but The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters proves otherwise. So many gossipy stories and recollections fill this breezy and entertaining, yet informative, read.”
“Readers drawn to the Kennedy mystique will savor this intricate chronicle rife with romance, tragedy, and surprising details, such as that Jackie may have helped choose JFK’s paramours. The authors provide an intimate view of two sisters, both famous in their own rights.”
— Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Suffice it to say, more than 50 years on, explorations of the truths and fictions of Camelot continue to mesmerize.”
— Kirkus Reviews