Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Review: The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

First line: The visiting hour was almost over, so the hummingbird man encountered only the occasional carriage as he pushed his cart along the narrow strip of road between the mansions of Newport and the Atlantic Ocean.

Synopsis: Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts’, suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage.

My thoughts: I  was completely entranced with the story of Cora Cash - a beautiful, smart, headstrong and extremely rich American heiress. This book had me glued to the pages until I finished and it is definitely a story that stays with you long after you finish reading the last page.

Cora's mother is determined to find a husband with a title for her daughter. Cora has other ideas. She can't help but feel that everyone she meets only sees her money, and doesn't even look for the girl underneath. When her mother decides Cora will go to England in search of a titled husband, Cora has no choice but to obey, and even secretly hopes that once there, taken out of the spotlight of New York society, someone may even want her for her, and not for her fortune. While in England, Cora quickly finds a Duke all on her own without even looking and a marriage is soon arranged. She quickly finds out that everything is not as it appears in English society, and she will be tested. Ivo, Cora’s new husband, is not a man without secrets and his mother is almost as overbearing and interfering as her own mother. Will she find that her marriage was only for her money, or will her husband turn out to be the man that Cora Cash deserves?  

This book is lush and gorgeous with period detail. Daisy Goodwin does a fabulous job of capturing the essence of America's Gilded Age and contrasting it with its English counterpart. I especially liked the way the author interspersed the story with little snippets from the points of view of some of the regular, everyday people who crossed paths with the Cashes and the Warehams. It really helped define the distance between the haves and the have nots while at the same time illuminating that the one could not exist without the other, adding to the authenticity of the story, and bringing together both the grit and the glamour of the Gilded Age. 

I would love to see more about the lives of Cora and Ivo, as well as some of the other minor characters. In the meantime, I think I will be looking into the show Downton Abbey as I've heard this book is similar in many ways.

I received a complimentary copy of The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin  from Ann-Marie at Get Red PR  to review.

3 comments:

  1. I just started this book yesterday and one of the things I noticed right away was the beautiful, detailed descriptions. I can't wait to see what happens to Cora! Great review!

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  2. I really enjoyed this book as well. I listened to the audiobook and the narrator did a fantastic job.

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  3. I want to read this, been trying very hard to win it! Maybe Santa will bring it :D Thanks for your thoughts on the book.

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