Bonfire of the Vanderbilts

Bonfire of the Vanderbilts

Historical fiction about The Baptism, a painting, and its 100-year-old secrets

In 1892 Paris, Julius Stewart painted The Baptism, a Vanderbilt family scene that contains an embarrassing secret. In the present day, art historian Grace Atwood becomes obsessed with the painting and its hidden clues for reasons that have more to do with her personal ghosts. Either her doting husband is trying to make her think she’s crazy, or she really is in the early stages of dementia.

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About the Book


“Mysteries hidden in plain sight in a grand painting. A fascinating adventure in the world of art and artists. Amateurs of the works of Roberson Davies will love it.” – Catherine Delors, author of Mistress of the Revolution and For the King

From the Inside Flap

The Paris Herald is run on the theory that most society people, and Americans generally, would much rather see their names in print and those of their friends than read any amount of news.
— Albert Stevens Crockett

From the Back Cover

Mr. Julius Stewart is at present engaged upon a large work, the subject of which is a fashionable christening in a private parlor. He might not possibly care to have the scheme made public, and it is sufficient to say that he has treated his subject in an original manner. –“Art Notes,” New York Herald (Paris), March 31, 1892



“I must say, I am impressed with your sleuthing, your imagination and your ability to weave a story. Your theory is fascinating, and I personally would be quite excited if any piece of it proved true.”  —  Carson Joyner Clark, biographer of painter Julius Stewart

“Alva Vanderbilt Belmont would be very grateful to you for researching a Vanderbilt family painting – as will all the family. And as I do. Historians keep us alive!”  —  Margaret Hayden Rector, Vanderbilt biographer, author of Alva, That Vanderbilt-Belmont Woman

“Of the many inquiries we get, this has been the most interesting in a long time.”  —  The Very Rev. Harry E. Krauss (retired)

“I think you’ve done an extraordinary job of researching and speculating on the painting. You’ve certainly convinced me that this was a Vanderbilt affair!”  —  Mary Sudman Donovan, Historian, Episcopal Church USA, Author of A Different Call: Women’s Ministries in the Episcopal Church, 1850-1920 

Genres: Historical Fiction, Thriller
Tags: art history, art scandal, historical novel
Publisher: LaPuerta Books and Media
Publication Year: 2015
ASIN: 0996543805
ISBN: 9780996543804
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