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Summary

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 64-year-old Jackie Kennedy Onassis died in her Fifth Avenue apartment, her younger sister Lee wept inconsolably. Then Jackie’s 38-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 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", read Jackie’s final testament. Drawing on the authors’ candid interviews with Lee Radziwill, The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters explores their complicated relationship, placing them at the center of 20th-century fashion, design, and style.

In life, Jackie and Lee were alike in so many ways. Both women had a keen eye for beauty - in fashion, design, painting, music, dance, sculpture, poetry - and both were talented artists. Both loved pre-revolutionary Russian culture, and the blinding sunlight, calm seas, and ancient olive groves of Greece. Both loved the siren call of the Atlantic, sharing sweet, early memories of swimming with the rakish father they adored, Jack Vernou Bouvier, at his East Hampton retreat. But Jackie was her father’s favorite, and Lee, her mother’s. One would grow to become the most iconic woman of her time, while the other lived in her shadow. As they grew up, the two sisters developed an extremely close relationship threaded with rivalry, jealousy, and competition. Yet it was probably the most important relationship of their lives.

For the first time, Vanity Fair contributing editor Sam Kashner and acclaimed biographer Nancy Schoenberger tell the complete story of these larger-than-life sisters. Drawing on new information and extensive interviews with Lee, now 84, this dual biography sheds light on the public and private lives of two extraordinary women who lived through immense tragedy in enormous glamour.

©2018 Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Fabulous Bouvier Sisters

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An informative listen

I enjoyed this book as I enjoy knowing more about figures who have become iconic in my lifetime. The human side between the 2 sisters was revealing and believable. I also enjoyed a look into the privileged lifestyle of super rich lives which still have to deal with the emotional life of being human with all the .decisions , as well as the good and bad thing s which we all ,as human beings on earth for our allotted time have to deal with.

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Not exciting

This turned out to be a very boring listen. Narrator has a strange robotic voice to my ear. I regret the credit used.

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Profile Image for Laura Ellis
  • Laura Ellis
  • 22-01-19

Fascinating and Sad

Lee Radziwell should love this book. Really highlights her career achievements and personal influence on Jackie and others. She may not like all of the book and its parts on her personal life but a good life is full of flaws and flourishes - shes had them all,. Narration was a little mechanical but good.

8 people found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-05-20

Sisters of endurance

I remember as though yesterday when the world stops still and the word that our beloved Pres. Kennedy was murdered that 22 day of Nov 1963 and held love in my heart for Jackie and the strength she showed that day and following. Ok maybe the book was true about both sisters knew what they wanted and married , lust for wealth but in was the 60's and that is what Women ( mostly ) thought it was to be but event though she and Lee showed the world they could stand on their own two feet in the end. Jackie and now her Sister Lee for both had to endure things that most could not imagine, from deaths of your children, so true there is nothing more devastating another than having your husbands brains fly out before you. (I too lost my only daughter, she was murdered in Dallas TX, not far from the actually site where our beloved Pres. Kennedy was murdered. My only daughter Chané was murdered on March 29 2009, just 24yrs old.) I'm so happy that Jackie didn't have to experience a horrible, bullshit trial of injustice, which you never get over along with your loss. Maybe a Kennedy curse but do we not all have one.

6 people found this helpful

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  • inwitinthemidwest
  • 24-07-19

Trashy & Fantastic

I enjoyed this a lot. Bargeloads of familiar gossip, very cleverly configured around the relationship between these two sisters and their differing experiences of their emotionally deprived & materially privileged lives. As a result of this cleverness, many new and quite believable insights are offered here. That JKO was the jock & LR the culture vulture (who schooled JKO on many points) is to me the most significant insight. It carries through everything and explains circumstances, choices, scenarios. LR'ss experiences with Truman Capote, Gore Vidal and Baryshnikov add much knowledge about the time period and its travails. LR's long, well-loved life has made a book like this possible-- we're all indebted to her graciousness. A bit too much drumrolling over the "deathbed scene," but thanks, Sam & Co, for taking all the Kennedy-Radziwill road warriors on this freedom ride.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Freckles
  • 06-02-19

Fascinated from start to finish!

I was so naive. I had no idea about all of this! I think my mouth was gaping open during most of my listening. This book opened my eyes and kept me riveted from start to finish. I became instantly obsessed with learning more and moved on to listening to Janet, Jackie & Lee immediately upon finishing this. I also had to watch Grey Gardens right away. I very much enjoyed this book. Totally worth the time and the credit. I learned so much.

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  • Jeffrey Mejia
  • 03-01-19

Wonderfully narrated!

Loved learning more about this family! Kept me very engaged. I would highly recommend it.


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  • forrest
  • 21-04-20

It was okay..

Not a review as such just some observations
1. I had no idea they were such vipers.
2. Amazing people thought they were gold diggers..
3. They were disliked
4 They were two skanks, they bedded down one another's husbands and lovers.
5. I had no idea that Lee introduced Aristotle Onassis and Jackie married him..Iwould like to know that story.
6. If I had to live as one I would choose Lee she had a much more interesting life

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 12-12-18

Not so fabulous

4 stars is stretching it a bit, but I couldn’t get the stars to cooperate. It’s good, but somewhat biased . Wondered if Carol aka daughter-in-law (ny housewife) didn’t have a big hand in this tribute to Lee. Maybe deserved, who knows??? I was expecting more for some reason. Interesting but I kept listening for the oh wow this is great moment. A solid 31/2 ⭐️. Not a total waste of time, but not a juicy book. If you know what I mean.

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  • Elizabeth
  • 26-05-20

Repetitive!

The authors fill space by using the same quotes multiple times. You will hear Jackie’s favorite books 3 times and how Lee “doesn’t do death well” at least 4 times. I lost count.

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  • Linda Zumpf
  • 25-03-19

2 Sisters

I found the book to be very whiny about how two sisters were always in competition with each other and were never happy with their lot in life. At my ripe old age of 70, money, clothes, etc., aren’t important. Relationships and character are. I wasn’t impressed with the poor little rich girl scenario.

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  • ladonna Boston
  • 07-10-18

Just delicious!!

Every sentence was like a delectable morsel of the most fabulous food I think I’ve ever tasted! What a view into a golden age...at times I felt like I was there.

1 person found this helpful