Author & Scholar of Badass Women of The Gilded Age




Awards and Press for Sargent's Women:  

Winner of a 2019 Victorian Society in America Book Award

Winner of the 2018 Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award

Finalist for Best work of Non-Fiction Library of Virginia Literary Award

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A New York Times Book Review Editors’ Choice Selection

“A rollicking snow globe version of an almost unimaginable world of wealth … Lucey is a persistent detective and a bemused, sometimes amused, storyteller, attentive to interesting, hilarious, disturbing detail.”

“[Isabella Stewart Gardner] comes across as … a riotous mix of Bette Midler and Dame Maggie Smith’s upper-crust characters.”


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“Donna Lucey’s lyrical meditation on life, love, and art in the Gilded Age … Sargent’s Women abounds with dazzling characters in atmospheric settings. Yet because it lacks a natural arc … its success owes entirely to the skills of the author [a] dogged sleuth, a confident stylist and a clever narrative architect. … As rich as these portraits are, the textual evidence in which Ms. Lucey ensnares them is finer still."


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“[Lucey] delivers the goods, disclosing the unhappy or colorful lives that Sargent sometimes hinted at but didn’t spell out … [B]ehind the illusions of breezy confidence that Sargent created, struggles and losses sometimes prevailed.”


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"Like characters from the writings of Edith Wharton, these women were smart, passionate, willful, adventurous and striking-looking … Lucey's prose is invitingly conversational and quick-flowing. Her character sketches are colorful and she is not, thank goodness, above conveying some wonderfully catty gossip."

–The Washington Post (

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Richmond-Times Dispatch, Richmond, VA: Announcement of the 2018 Library of Virginia Literary Awards and the presentation of The Art in Literature: The Mary Lynn Kotz Award for Sargent’s Women

C’Ville Weekly, Charlottesville, VA: Cover story on Sargent’s Women and my professional career writing about unknown women

Fluvanna Review, Fluvanna County, VA: Feature story on Sargent’s Women book event at the Fluvanna County Public Library

The Herald, Glasgow, Scotland: Review

The Newport Daily NewsNewport, RI: Feature story on Sargent's Women book event at The Chanler at Cliff Walk in Newport

Interview with What'sUpNewp Radio, Newport, RI: Listen here (Minutes 10:15 through 26:30)

The Gazette, Colorado Springs, CO: Feature story on the return of John Singer Sargent's painting of Elsie Palmer 

Citizen Times, Asheville, North Carolina: Feature story on Sargent's Women book event at Malaprops Books

Hasty Book List: Review and interview

Virginia Living: Profile of Donna Lucey and her husband

Times Literary Supplement: Bawdry in the bloodstream  (

The Times (London): Book review: Sargent’s Women: Four Lives Behind the Canvas by Donna M Lucey (

ELLE: Who Were Sargent's Women?: Author Donna Lucey on the stories behind these iconic American faces. (

Kirkus Reviews: Perceptive biographies of a quartet of Gilded Age women (

Publisher’s Weekly: Review (

Booklist Online: Starred review (

The Weekly Standard (London): Water and Light (

With Good Reason: Radio Interview with Donna Lucey (

Library Journal: Starred Review (

Lit Lovers: Reader’s Guide (

The Bay Area Reporter: John Singer Sargent's Painted Ladies  (

Antiques and The Arts Weekly: Review (

Choice, American Library Association, October 2017 (link to PDF)