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The Two Mrs. Grenvilles

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  2,196 Ratings  ·  136 Reviews
A luscious novel composed of just the right measure of sex, glamour, passion, and psychological motivation . . . . This is a candy of a book."-- "Cosmopolitan.""Smoothly written, engrossing . . . Ann is a heroine you love to hate . . . . Will be read with enormous enjoyment for the personalities, from Brenda Frazier to the Duchess of Windsor, that decorate its pages for th ...more
Paperback, 374 pages
Published November 28th 1998 by Ballantine Books (first published 1985)
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Mar 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Alona by: Nick Pageant
3.5 stars.
This book tells the story of Ann Granville and Her mother in law, Alice Grenville.
It's very openly based on the real life story of Ann and Alice Woodward.

When I started reading the book, I thought that the author, Dominick Dunne, tells us the story, from his POV, his own memories/knowledge. But as I kept reading, it was clear that he is telling us not just the characters story, but also Truman Capote's story, because to me, it was obvious that Dunne has made Capote as the one that wrot
Mar 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
The first Mrs. Grenville is a triplet from the kind of family that the painter John Singer Sargent captured in portrait. The newly-minted Mrs. Grenville is a former showgirl from a small town in Kansas, lying about her age, sexual and marital history. Dominick Dunne's novel The Two Mrs. Grenvilles chronicles a fictional tug-of-war between these characters, based on a factual tug-of-war between the characters on which they are based.

I love Dominick Dunne, whom I affectionately refer to as "that
Nov 02, 2009 rated it really liked it
quasi-fictional book, this is a delicious story about the higher echelons of New York society in the 1940's and 50's. It was inspired by the real life of Ann and William Woodward, and William's murder in 1955 by his wife.The fun of this book is the insider view of those high society circles. Dunne, a writer for Vanity Fair, dishes about these folks with a giggle and takes great pleasure at exposing them and their snobbish ways. The main focus is Ann Grenville (Woodward), social climber extraord ...more
Impacta saber que lo que cuenta Dunne es un caso real. Y qué bien lo cuenta, el maldito... Cómo te va envolviendo en su tela de araña. Lo malo es el contenido de esa tela de araña, cotilleo, chisme, miserias; todo ello referido a personas que a mí no me interesan nada. Así que me quedo con el artefacto literario, pero me faltó contenido.
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Reminded me a bit of "American Eve" another "crime of the century" however this woman shot her husband for spite rather than abuse as Florence Evelyn Nesbit did.

That aside this is based on true events, told from a reporters point of view. I wish Dunne had a better name for him, Basil Plant, really, although there maybe something to read into that name. This is a fun, gossipy, mindless novel about a woman (a gasp show girl from rural Kansas) trying desperately to social climb in the NY Society of
Jul 27, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: people with jewels
Recommended to Gillian by: Neva
Ah, Dominick Dunne, you never disappoint! At the end of this book, I decided that I hated both Mrs. Grenvilles. Actually, I hated almost everyone in this book, with the exception of Billy's childhood friend, but I can't remember what that guy's stupid nickname was. Anyway, DD is great because he writes books about people who have basically no redeeming qualitites, and yet, you are hooked. This makes me want to re-read A Season In Purgatory, which I think is his best one!
Oct 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Our book club decided to read The Two Mrs. Grenvilles upon learning of Dominick Dunne's recent passing. I just finished it, and found it a total, trash, page turner. I'm sure it is based on actual events, as Dunne was a wanna be in the upper class NYC scene, and he has a well-known fascination for crime, and the wealthy's ability to "get away with it." The characters in this story are, sadly, spoiled, mostly amoral, and sadly negligent parents, but I found it hard to put down. Immediately read t ...more
David Avery
Sep 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I am a big fan off Dominick Dunne, and this is the third time I have read THE TWO MRS GRENVILLES. The first time was in the '80s, the second in the '90s. It's an interesting read that is both fun and smart. He's a great writer with a terrific attention to detail. He deftly skewers rich people and social climbers and does a brilliant job of weaving crime, class, motive, and wagon-circling. 5 stars for me.
Feb 19, 2011 rated it liked it
After reading this book and "People Like Us" I FINALLY understand why I love Dominick Dunne so much--reading his books is like watching amazingly awful reality TV.

There I said it. Guilty as charged. Also, who can resist dialogue like this:

"It's Junior sowing his wild oats. He'd never marry her."
"How can you be so sure?"
"She pronounces the 't' in 'often.' "
Mientras Leo
Jul 02, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Una novela escrita por un cronista social que parte de un hecho real
Más aquí
Connie Hodges
Jul 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was impossible for me to put down. The story of how Ann Grenville, former show girl turned society wife and Alice Grenville, aristocratic mother-in-law to Anne interacted over time is fascinating.
The book centers mainly on Ann, the outrageous firebrand who so wanted to be accepted into society and then ruined her life and the lives of many others with her violently unbalanced behavior.
As much as Ann's detestable and selfish behavior made me want to hate her, Dunne did a fantastic job o
Feb 08, 2010 rated it liked it
Are there really people like this? I'm afraid there are, but I don't know any. Reading Dominick Dunne is like watching great bad TV. It's better, because the writer creates an intimacy that TV cannot provide. This is the story of a beautiful poor girl, Ann, who is determined to climb up to the highest social level in NYC and beyond. She meets an innocent rich boy and they marry despite his family's horror. It works for a while. But Ann's goal is to become as refined, dignified, and commanding as ...more
It's not that the writing is bad - I didn't think about the writing or characterization - so both were good. I just did not like a single character in any part of this story. I don't care that anybody got shot, or if there was a reason. I'm just not interested in someone else's money and snobbery. I admitted to myself I was only finishing this book because I started it on my reading challenge. So there's my bit of snobbery.
Sep 19, 2007 rated it liked it
Not my favorite Dominick Dunne book. Although, it features my favorite aspects in a Dominick Dunne tale: rich people, sass, pill-popping, affairs, craziness, and murder! Murder!!!

It's the tale of a lovely dancing lady with the most amazing rack known to man (allegedly) who marries a rich guy before he goes off to war..She's from the wrong side of the tracks but becomes a lovely pill-popping New York society lady, and then kills her husband. Somehow, this is also a fun read.
Jun 05, 2014 rated it really liked it
The narration is on point, a quiet, well told story that creeps up on you. I was expecting something else however, because of the title, more interaction between the 2 Mrs Grenvilles. The book slowed down tremendously in the last 50 pages or so. I found myself wanting to finish. But due to the peek inside NYC society and the attention to detail, and how it made me feel like I was gossiping with the girls over tea, I gave it a 4.
Dec 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
They say you cant make this stuff up, and he didn't have thanks to the murder mid-century in the Woodward family. I love the way Dunne's character is Truman Capote. I loved comparing the facts online with the novel . Good read and probably not that unusual of a story in the fame vs. shame category. Not a pretty portrayal of the female persona, young or old.
May 19, 2011 rated it liked it
The first of many Dominick Dunne books I've read---like most of his books, this one was inspired by real people and a Truman Capote like figure reveals the sordid details of notorious gun "accident" where a wealthy man was accidentally shot to death by his social-climbing wife. Dunne's books are most readable and often quite fun.
Sep 22, 2009 rated it really liked it
I was really sad to learn that Dominick Dunne had died because I always enjoyed his articles and his views on the court system. So I thought I should read his best seller. I got sucked into all the lives and the fact that it was based on a true story made it even better. It's not a great work of art but a fun read.
May 17, 2009 rated it really liked it
An easy summer read. How does this guy get away with turning truth into fiction?
Oct 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
Dominck Dunne is one of my favorites for deliciously bad weathly people. He can really skewer them.
Feb 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read this book probably 15 years ago! I really liked it while hating many of the characters! I do enjoy Dominick Dunne's writing....great summer read.
Sep 29, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2010
Thoroughly enjoyable tale of New York's snobby rich & upper classes in the 1940's. Dunne is fantastic at dialogue, very little scene-setting -characters are revealed by their talk.
Jun 04, 2009 rated it liked it
Another good book by Dunne. His writing is always compelling and the story is fascinating.
Feb 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Using Ann and William Woodward, and perhaps Truman Capote's unfinished novel, Answered Prayers, as his inspiration, Dunne wants you to think that this is really a biography, not a novel. Sure there are some differences, for instance Ann and William Woodward had two sons, not a son and a daughter, as is the case in this book, and other names changed to protect identities. Then, Basil Plant, the "author" of Anne's story in The Two Mrs. Grenvilles, well, one wonders he was modeled after Capote, con ...more
Jul 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
A flashy trashy look into the ultra rich and the lives they covet & protect. In spite of the flawed characters, you can't help but root for them. Even though it's pretty evident that the end result won't be good.
An easy read in typical Dunne style, it's a fascinating fictionalization of the famous Woodward murder of the 1950s.
Dorothy Clark
Oct 24, 2017 rated it it was ok
I've read Dunne's work before and liked it, but this was a hard slog. Ann Arden was detestable; Billy was about the only sympathetic character in the whole story. It seems to be true that the rich are different than the rest of us.
Rebecca Addy
Mar 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was written incredibly well. It was never slow, but the main character (based on a real woman) is such a hedonist, it kind of makes me sick. I thought I’d hate the mother-in-law, but she knew who she was and was honest about it.
Jul 05, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Leaning a little toward 3.5 stars, but was hoping to like this more than I did. Review is based on its "couldn't put it down" factor and is low because I could, and did, put it down too many times. I will read another Dunne book though.
Kathleen McRae
May 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novel
This book is a work of fiction but there are similarities to a real life story. this story was well written and interesting
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this...didn't want to put the book down.
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Dominick Dunne was an American writer and investigative journalist whose subjects frequently hinged on the ways high society interacts with the judiciary system. He was a producer in Hollywood and is also known from his frequent appearances on television.

After his studies at Williams College and service in World War II, Dunne moved to New York, then to Hollywood, where he directed Playhouse 90 and
More about Dominick Dunne