Author & Scholar of Badass Women of The Gilded Age



Donna M. Lucey

Donna is an award-winning author and scholar who loves to rummage in dusty archives and attics seeking out untold stories about women. Her latest book, Sargent’s Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas (W. W. Norton, 2017), chronicles the lives of four women painted by the iconic, high-society portraitist John Singer Sargent. The book won a 2019 Victorian Society in America Book Award, the 2018 Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award, and was a Finalist for Best work of Non-Fiction Library of Virginia Literary Award. Reviewed widely, the book was a New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection. Donna has received two grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities as an independent scholar and was a 2017 writer-in-residence at Edith Wharton’s The Mount.

Her previous works include the New York Times bestseller Archie and Amélie: Love and Madness in the Gilded Age (2006); I Dwell in Possibility: Women Build a Nation, 1600 to 1920 (2001) and the award-winning Photographing Montana 1894–1928: The Life and Work of Evelyn Cameron (1990).

Donna lives in Charlottesville, Virginia, with her husband, author Henry Wiencek, and their Goldendoodle, “Jussi.” Here is a profile of Donna and her husband—as well as a photo of their dog—from Virginia Living, and a cover story in C’Ville Weekly on the creation of Sargent’s Women and Donna’s professional writing career


Sargent's Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas

"Lucey’s superlative group portrait, rendered in crystal-clear prose, is spring-fed by her immersion in vast archives of letters and diaries, her pilgrimages to the extraordinary places that shaped her subjects’ lives, and her keen insights into what drove these women to break out of their gilded cages."—Booklist's starred review

For additional reviews and feature articles, please visit the Press Page on my website.