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The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  1,946 ratings  ·  241 reviews
A poignant, evocative, and wonderfully gossipy account of the two sisters who represented style and class above all else—Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill—from the authors of Furious Love.

When sixty-four-year-old Jackie Kennedy Onassis died in her Fifth Avenue apartment, her younger sister Lee wept inconsolably. Then Jackie’s thirty-eight-page will was read. Lee dis
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published September 25th 2018 by Harper
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  1,946 ratings  ·  241 reviews

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Aug 23, 2018 rated it liked it
I’ve never been enormously fascinated by the Kennedys but as an American of a certain age, it is impossible not know more than you need to know about their triumphs and tragedies. However, I didn’t know much about Lee Radziwill so I thought I would give this a try. As the title states, this book is about the sibling rivalry between Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her sister Lee Radziwill. It follows their journey from childhood through Kennedy Onassis’ death and beyond. Fraught with jealousy, estrang ...more
Valerity (Val)
I originally read this in July, then lost my first review when I went to post it. So this is just what I could remember. I found this to be very much to my liking for the most part, as I’ve always enjoyed reading about Jackie and wanted to know more about her family and her sister Lee. This book provided that and quite well. During their heyday these two ladies were always fascinating as they were in the news, dressed in something noteworthy, dating someone noteworthy and usually up to something ...more
May 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
This is a very readable, but not compelling, biography of Jackie Kennedy and her sister Lee Radziwell.

It is hardly the author's fault that I found these women less than admirable, but in some ways I was sorry that I read enough about them to dislike both women. Their competitiveness was the essence of this biography--and, real or imagined, it did not present either one in a very positive light.

There is no argument that they were both style icons, but their beauty, style and fame seemed to contri
This interesting book provides intimate details about the lives of sisters
Lee Bouvier Canfield Radziwill Ross and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. Born into a socially prominent New York family and in a pre-feminist era, the sisters were brought up with expectations that they would marry well and live lives of privilege.

Based on articles and public records, interviews with Lee as well as with family, friends and colleagues of both sisters, authors Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger reveal th
Another Kennedy book? Yes, please. Sign me up--always. I'm always fascinated by sister relationships in general, because I have a sister, and I'm a mom to sisters, and I don't think there's any more special yet complex relationship dynamic in existence. And, of course, the relationship between Lee and Jackie is the most complicated of the most complicated. I feel for Lee, who is fascinating (and beautiful, and stylish) in her own right but she'll never not be a footnote to Jackie. Imagine your s ...more
Book Concierge
Digital Audio narrated by Bernadette Dunne.

The subtitle is all the synopsis anyone needs: The Tragic and Glamorous lives of Jackie and Lee
The book jacket notes that when Jackie Kennedy Onassis died she left numerous bequests to friends and family, but nothing to her sister. Jackie’s will stated: I have made no provision in this my Will for my sister, lee B Radziwill, for whom I have great affection, because I have already done so during my lifetime.” Ouch.

Based on interviews with Lee Radziwill a
Oct 17, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The rendering of these 2 essentially shallow and spoiled sisters is neither good nor bad - it tells the story. it is hard to come away with much admiration for the sisters who life revolved around the pursuit of money and beauty - to the extent that at a White House dinner Jackie instructed that only "beautiful" guest were to be included. Lee was once upset at having to move to a "smaller penthouse". The feeling is that neither of these women would have ever been noteworthy in any way without th ...more
Kate Loveton
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Okay, I am going to be upfront with you and tell you that I am a sucker for books written about Jackie Kennedy. I have admired that woman since I was an 8 year old kid, watching the coverage of JFK’s funeral. Her dignity and beauty just caught me, even back then.

It was refreshing to find a book that looked at both Jackie and her beautiful socialite sister, Lee Bouvier Radziwill, without spite or gushing. Both sisters were presented warts and all, but in a kind and empathetic manner. The author
Amelia Poole
Oct 26, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
These women, I really adore. But this book is full of lazy writing. There is no flow, just a bunch of facts repeated in every paragraph. If you want to know about these fantastic women watch the documentary Jackie: A Tale of two sisters. Very well done and worth it. This book, skip it.
Dec 15, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A poignant, evocative, and wonderfully gossipy account of the two sisters who represented style and class above all else—Jackie Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill—from the authors of Furious Love.

When sixty-four-year-old Jackie Kennedy Onassis died in her Fifth Avenue apartment, her younger sister Lee wept inconsolably. Then Jackie’s thirty-eight-page will was read. Lee discovered that substantial cash bequests were left to family members, friends, and employees—but nothing to her. "I have made n
Aug 02, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Basically, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her sister, Lee, dated and married shitty men. Biography & Memoir
If you want a gossipy but thoroughly well-researched and well-told biography, look no further than Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger’s latest collaboration, THE FABULOUS BOUVIER SISTERS. So much has been documented and published about the famous sisters, each having their own jam-packed histories of extraordinary highs and epic lows. So what more could be said? Here, we see the women in the light of their relationship to each other, which makes the book a standout. Also, it benefits greatly fro ...more
Linda Goodman
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5/5.0 This was a fascinating book about Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her younger sister, Lee Radziwill. There was much I already knew about these women, but I also learned things I didn't know. Such as, Jackie was a life long smoker and Lee had an affair with Onassis before Jackie married him. It was a bit dry in parts, but a comprehensive look at their lives and those of the people closest to them. ...more
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I'm curious about the "fabulous Bouvier Sisters" but this book had really nothing much to offer beyond other peoples' reporting, and an interview or two with Lee Radziwill. But it was a quick read, and if you don't know anything about either woman, you might learn something... ...more
Poor little rich girls, but there were some interesting bits in it.
Kathleen Nightingale
"The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters" is a biography of Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her younger sister, Lee Radziwill. Coming of age when Jackie married Onassis I felt I was kinda in the know through the gossip magazines. I felt before reading this book that Lee was always flitting in the very near shadows of her sister Jackie. I have not changed my opinion -- Lee remains trying to one up her sister without much success. As they say history is for the winners. It is also for the survivors because in thi ...more
Sarah Beth
Aug 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received an uncorrected proof copy of this book from HarperCollins.

This biography hones in on the relationship between Jackie Bouvier Kennedy and her lesser known sister Lee Bouvier. Raised to expect men to bankroll their expensive lifestyle, both women were known for their cultured and European sense of style in both fashion and design, their grace and beauty, and their captivating personalities. Yet Lee, who according to this biography had the more outgoing, star-seeking personality, was fo
Laurie Hoppe
Sep 22, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio-memoir
I was looking forward to this book because I looooved Furious Love (the authors' look at the epic Taylor/Burton love affair). I was disappointed. I think it's because Lee Radziwill participated. You'd think that would give the book greater authenticity, but there's an unintended consequence: too much Lee-centric detail. It derails the story.

For example: in 1959, Lee married a second time and set out to decorate an English country house. She turned it into a showplace with the help of an Italian
Zachary Torkos
Jun 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have read a lot of books about Jacqueline Onassis' fascinating life. Therefore, I was a bit weary when beginning this one because it seemed to me like it would be a "beginner" book examining the lives of Jackie and her sister, Lee Radziwill, especially after reading the gossipy and lengthy, "Jackie, Janet & Lee: The Secret Lives of Janet Auchincloss and Her Daughters Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and Lee Radziwill" by J. Randy Taraborrelli. I was more than pleasantly surprised at the detail and i ...more
Sep 23, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a fast, fun and interesting read. It’s filled with anecdotes, interviews and photographs and gave me a deeper understanding of the sisters. I appreciated that the Kennedys didn’t dominate the story — only fleeting mentions — and that the book focused on Jackie and Lee. It was sad that both were always in competition with each other and seemed unable to enjoy their own talents.
This book is far more sympathetic to Lee than some of the other Bouvier/Kennedy books I’ve read.
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book wasn’t quite what I was hoping for. I thought it shed a very sordid and often negative light on the sisters. I was looking for the high fashion glitz and glamour but instead found infidelity at every turn. Parts of the book were interesting but my favorite section by far was the photo collection at the end.
Rose Winters
Fascinating book about Jackie Kennedy and Lee Radziwill. A book all sisters should read. Shows the nuances of friendship, hatred and love in a life filled with extreme wealth and tragedy.
Karla Osorno
Certainly many women of my generation are obsessed, interested or even mildly curious about the Kennedy family - and especially Jackie. This book scratched my own Kennedy itch but also created a mild rash of wanting to know even more about more people. I love biographies and this one is interesting and insightful about Jackie and her sister Lee and the many characters in their orbit. You get a peek into their big lives and hints at their motivations from their own writings and words. The authors ...more
Mike Dee
Aug 31, 2020 rated it liked it
interesting but not gripping
Jan 09, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book read like a Greek tragedy. A serious play with many unhappy events and endings. The worth of two lives being famous in living and famous in death. Jackie, the goddess of Aphrodite and Lee, the goddess of Athena. I vacillate between enlightenment and bewilderment. For some of us , it takes a village to raise. For Jackie and Lee, it took the world.
Feb 16, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
These girls were spoiled rotten people. Cheating lying and always trying to beat the other one. Lost some respect for Jackie with this one
May 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a deliciously gossipy book, giving me a peek into the wealthy world of the Kennedys, the Bouviers, and the Radziwills. Not knowing a whole lot about Lee Radziwill, I was very interested in learning more about her, so I enjoyed reading the tales of the places she went, dear friends of hers (particularly the stories of Truman Capote), and all of the homes in the Hampshires (can't forget the Beales!). I wasn't always impressed with the character of these two sisters, particularly their focu ...more
Oct 30, 2018 rated it liked it
It wasn’t biographical. I wouldn’t even feel comfortable calling it non-fiction. There was just too much rumor, and unsubstantiated gossip. These authors felt comfortable saying anything as long as someone else said it first. For the life of me I can’t recall what prompted me to put this on a ‘to read’ list. Must have been a NYT book review. But, I can’t fathom why the Times would ever review this book. It is pure candy. I didn’t mind reading it. There were glimpses into life’s as far away from ...more
Nov 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very interesting account of the lives and relationship between the two Bouvier sisters -Jackie and Lee. While I've read countless stories about Jackie over the years, I had read little about Lee and her life. What was interesting to me was the rivalry between the two - for men, money and fame (despite Jackie's claims and wishes for privacy). Lee as the younger sister, was seemingly always chasing Jackie, jealous of her marriage to Jack (did she really bed him at one point during Jackie ...more
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