"This is a wonderfully written, meticulous account, at times hilarious, at times heartbreaking, of a well-intentioned, charitable couple's journey on the Road to Ruin. The book also tells us of a way of life, almost within living memory, and yet as far removed from our own as the time of the pharaohs, and shows how the Aberdeens achieved much good, at the price of their own financial survival. In a way, Simon Welfare has written a parable of how that whole class of benevolent paternalists, the Eminent Victorians, so often thought they could spend forever for the benefit of others, without undermining their own way of life, but they reckoned without the forces of the modern world that would engulf them. It is sad, of course, to trace the decline of one of our greatest families, but much of what they did was inspiring, and while their descendants may have a legitimate gripe about their conduct, most of us should be grateful for their efforts."
– Julian Fellowes, creator of "Downton Abbey"
“With the feel of a real-life Brideshead Revisited, full of towering good deeds and devastating miscalculations, Fortune’s Many Houses is a fantastic fusion of biography and memoir. At its heart, Simon Welfare has placed his extraordinary family story of an aristocratic heroine who dazzled British high society while attempting to make the world a better - and kinder - place.”
– Gareth Russell, author of Young and Damned and Fair and The Ship of Dreams
“The riveting tale of how one of Victorian Britain’s golden couples rose to pre-eminence then lost everything. Ishbel and Johnny Aberdeen were on intimate terms with many of the key figures of the age, and their story is an extraordinary window into Victorian society. Theirs is a story so rich and absorbing it reads like fiction"
– Neil Oliver, author of Wisdom of the Ancients
"The Victorian John and Yoko...Simon Welfare spins out the do-good couple's saga with brio and warmth...a teeming portrait of the era."
– Air Mail
"I enjoyed every word of this biography...it is a wonderful, run-along on wheels read, an always engaging account of the efforts of a gallant couple to change, if not actually save the world."
– The Irish Catholic
"A vibrant portrait of British society through his animated, well-informed dual biography....A fresh, engaging cultural history of the rich doing good."
– Kirkus Reviews, starred review
"A vibrant, rich, and dynamic historical portrait" drawn from an invaluable insider viewpoint."
"These imperfect do-gooders make for entertaining company."
– Publishers Weekly