Reviews of A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and Her Life in Fashion, Art, and Letters are below:
"A Dash of Daring is Penelope Rowlands's wonderful new biography."
-- Anna Wintour
From USA Today:
"In her absolutely delectable biography, A Dash of Daring, Penelope Rowlands brings back to the spotlight the deserving Carmel Snow....
Without turning her admiring biography into a fawn fest, Rowlands brings alive the heyday of Manhattan magazine publishing, when an editor didn't fret over marketing plans and cover sales.
Writing in a lively, personable manner, Rowlands traces Snow's childhood in Ireland, her large family's move to the USA and her passion for Paris and the world of haute couture....."
From The New Yorker:
"Rowlands's finely researched biography is a frothy read—like leafing through decades' worth of fashion magazines...."
From The Independent (Ireland)
"Snow died in 1961 but Rowlands's biography restores her nobility. As vibrant and engaging as a Dorothy Parker piece, and full of Snow's spirit, the book places Snow at the hub of 20th-Century American culture at a time when Irish immigrants were still a notch below second class."
-- Anne Roper
From The Washington Times:
"...Two publications reigned supreme throughout much of the mid-20th century: Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. And the legendary Carmel Snow, the subject of Penelope Rowlands's intelligent, illuminating, and probing biography, held sway in turn over each of these publications....
In many ways, A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and Her Life in Fashion, Art, and Letters is a book as impressive and unusual as its subject. ..Does Mrs. Snow deserve such a serious exploration and examination? But by the time you have read its 500-plus pages of text, you realize that she does -- particularly if it is being undertaken by as skillful a biographer as Penelope Rowlands.
...Ms. Rowlands succeeds brilliantly in bringing to life the character of her subject....
But perhaps the most fascinating part of a consistently interesting book is the account of Carmel's dethronement from her position of unparalleled power and eminence at Harper's Bazaar. There have doubtless been harder falls from the top perch, but this one was painful enough and Ms. Rowlands describes its effects with just the right touch of sympathy to elicit the requisite pathos.
... A Dash of Daring is a fitting tribute to a grande dame and a sad reminder that they don't make them like Carmel Snow anymore."
-- Martin Rubin
From The Atlantic:
"I found this energetic but deeply elegiac book...endlessly absorbing, because it’s among the most detailed, precise, and hence evocative accounts of a notoriously rarefied world."
-- Benjamin Schwarz
From the New York Post:
From The International Herald Tribune:
"...Although her protégé, Diana Vreeland, was considered the ultimate public vision of a fashion editor as seen in the movie Funny Face, it was Snow, in her 24-year tenure at Bazaar, who put Audrey Hepburn on the cover of her magazine, who nurtured the talents of the photographers Edward Steichen, Louise Dahl-Wolfe and a fledgling Richard Avedon and who created the modern glossy as we know it....
As the story of "a little Irish firecracker" who became a white- haired (or occasionally purple-rinsed) "brilliant, alcoholic mother superior," a new biography of her life makes fascinating reading.
In A Dash of Daring: Carmel Snow and Her Life in Fashion, Art, and Letters, Penelope Rowlands tells a dense, fast-paced story and deftly puts it in the context of magazine history. Snow, in her melon-colored Balenciaga suits (except when she chose stand-out scarlet for her daughter's wedding), comes vividly to life.
... Rowlands does justice to the character and achievements of a high priestess of fashion who marked magazine history."
-- Suzy Menkes
From The New York Times Book Review:
"The first significant Snow biography ..."
-- Cathy Horyn