Kate Cambor is the author of Gilded Youth, which chronicles the lives and loves of three friends in belle époque France: Léon Daudet, son of beloved novelist Alphonse Daudet; Jean-Baptiste Charcot, son of legendary neurologist Jean-Martin Charcot; and Jeanne Hugo, granddaughter of the immortal Victor Hugo. Set against a backdrop of social upheaval, scientific innovation, and the terrifying turbulence of world war, Gilded Youth takes the reader on an unexpected journey from the most elegant salons of Paris to the shores of Antarctica and beyond, as these three friends struggle to turn the great expectations of their privileged childhoods into heroic narratives of their own making.
Praise for Gilded Youth:
- “Gilded Youth” is full of glittering things — ideas, salons, dreams — ultimately blinding to the three young people. Paris burns brightly in the background.” — Susan Salter Reynolds, Los Angeles Times
- “Cambor’s group portrait is efficiently researched, and narrated with brio and style.” — Miranda Seymour, The New York Times Book Review
- “[Cambor] succinctly and masterfully offers an illuminating glimpse into belle époque realities through the experiences of three childhood friends destined to do great things, who later saw the golden world of their childhoods disappear . . . This fascinating volume is highly recommended to a broad readership in 19th and 20th century French studies and literature.” — Library Journal
- “This is a Proust lover’s idea of a sexy read: the tale of the offspring of three of belle epoque Paris’s most celebrated figures—with a hint of glamour, scandal and approaching doom.” — Sarah F. Gold, Publisher’s Weekly
- “A beautiful writer, [Cambor] crafts biographical detail into lucid prose illuminating a universal story of childhood dreams wilting under the dry, burning sun of reality.” — David Luhrssen, Express Milwaukee
- “Kate Cambor’s Gilded Youth reads like a Balzac novel. The reader is enchanted by young Charcot and by Victor Hugo’s granddaughter, and comes to loathe the odious Leon Daudet, archetype of all French anti-Semites. This book is at once a marvelous narration and a dark vision of the anxieties of familial influence.” — Harold Bloom
- “Gilded Youth is a mesmerizing account which combines biography and history of the highest order. Cambor combines a scholar’s deep knowledge of French society and politics with a novelist’s grasp of psychological nuance: the result is a story about how the most urgent dispositions of the human heart can be shaped by history.” — Christine Stansell, author of American Moderns: Bohemian New York and the Creation of a New Century
- “Gilded Youth is the indispensable companion to Roger Shattuck’s classic, The Banquet Years. Drawn with grace, sympathy, and shining intelligence, the characters in Kate Cambor’s group portrait are more than engaging. To know them is to understand how their time–a time of great promise and unsurpassed beauty—gave way to a century of unending destruction.” — Patricia O’Toole, author of The Five of Hearts: An Intimate Portrait of Henry Adams and His Friends and When Trumpets Call: Theodore Roosevelt after the White House.
- “Gilded Youth is a fascinating insight into the long shadows cast by the famous upon their children. The lives of Daudet, Hugo and Charcot are proof that an exceptional heritage can be as much as a burden as a blessing. Kate Cambor has written a remarkable book.” — Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana: Duchess of Devonshire