Who were these people really?
The fictional version of the story is now backed up by peer journal documentation.
This special scholar’s courseware edition of Bonfire of the Vanderbiltsincludes the full text of the novel, along with the author’s research whitepaper “Deconstructing the Scandalous Narrative of The Baptism,” which appeared in the Fall 2016 issue of The Journal of Art Crime. Also included in the endmatter are:
- Extensive research bibliography
- Rare photographs from the private collection of the painter’s family
- Links to related audiovisual supplementary materials, including the recording of the author’s presentation on the The Baptism to the American Art Council of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art
In 1892 Paris, Julius Stewart painted The Baptism, a Vanderbilt family scene that contains an embarrassing secret. In the novel, 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.
Praise for Bonfire of the Vanderbilts
“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
The new Scholar’s Edition is available from booksellers worldwide in EPUB or Kindle formats: