The Astor Orphan - A Memoir-logo

The Astor Orphan - A Memoir

Alexandra Aldrich

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Description:

Alexandra Aldrich, a direct descendant of the famous Astor dynasty, grew up in the servants' quarters of Rokeby, the forty-three-room Hudson Valley mansion built by her ancestors. Her childhood was one of bohemian neglect and real privation. But it was fairly stable until the summer of her tenth year, when her father took up with an alluring interloper, Giselle. Alexandra idolized her father, Rokeby's charismatic lord of misrule, who had attended elite private schools as a child but inherited only landed property, not money. To him, she says, "poverty was amusing, a delightful challenge." All of the family's resources-emotional and financial-went to the maintenance of the Astor house and legacy. If the family had sold the house and its 450 acres, they all would have been able to live comfortably. Instead, Alexandra and her parents lived precariously in the grand house, scavenging for the next meal. Her mother, an icy Polish artist, disguised her maternal indifference by extolling the virtues of independence. Relatives preyed on Alexandra's low status in the household. Once her father got involved with Giselle, Alexandra's only stalwart was her affectionate grandmother (whose great-great-grandfather, Nicholas Fish, was a close friend of Alexander Hamilton's and an executor of his estate). Grandma Claire held Alexandra's life together with family dinner parties, rides to violin lessons, and snacks after school. But as she grew progressively more debilitated by alcohol, she soon became too frail to provide a safe haven for her granddaughter. Determined to impose order on her anarchic world and prove her worth, Alexandra awoke promptly at six thirty each morning, adhering to a strict personal regimen of exercise, grooming, and intensive violin practice. With money borrowed from the owner of the local gas station, she did the grocery shopping, occasionally setting aside four dollars to buy herself clean white socks. The betrayal of her father's flagrant affair, however, ignited a series of familial feuds that shook

Language:

English

Narrators:

Tavia Gilbert

Length:

5h 15m


Chapters

Free Sample

05:00

Introduction
Introduction

05:19


Part 1, Chapter 1
Part 1, Chapter 1

04:59


Part 1, Chapter 2
Part 1, Chapter 2

09:46


Part 1, Chapter 3
Part 1, Chapter 3

15:51


Part 1, Chapter 4
Part 1, Chapter 4

15:15


Part 1, Chapter 5
Part 1, Chapter 5

07:44


Part 1, Chapter 6
Part 1, Chapter 6

11:47


Part 2, Chapter 7
Part 2, Chapter 7

15:17


Part 2, Chapter 8
Part 2, Chapter 8

11:27


Part 2, Chapter 9
Part 2, Chapter 9

16:20


Part 3, Chapter 10
Part 3, Chapter 10

19:01


Part 3, Chapter 11
Part 3, Chapter 11

11:22


Part 4, Chapter 12
Part 4, Chapter 12

11:18


Part 4, Chapter 13
Part 4, Chapter 13

08:57


Part 4, Chapter 14
Part 4, Chapter 14

05:01


Part 4, Chapter 15
Part 4, Chapter 15

09:21


Part 4, Chapter 16
Part 4, Chapter 16

11:35


Part 4, Chapter 17
Part 4, Chapter 17

12:52


Part 4, Chapter 18
Part 4, Chapter 18

13:10


Part 5, Chapter 19
Part 5, Chapter 19

14:57


Part 5, Chapter 20
Part 5, Chapter 20

07:22


Part 5, Chapter 21
Part 5, Chapter 21

09:45


Part 5, Chapter 22
Part 5, Chapter 22

11:31


Part 5, Chapter 23
Part 5, Chapter 23

15:55


Part 6, Chapter 24
Part 6, Chapter 24

15:15


Part 6, Chapter 25
Part 6, Chapter 25

07:24


Part 6, Chapter 26
Part 6, Chapter 26

15:13


Part 6, Chapter 27
Part 6, Chapter 27

01:17