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The American Heiress: A Novel [Bargain Price] [Hardcover]

Daisy Goodwin
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)

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Hardcover, Bargain Price, June 21 2011 --  
Paperback CDN $12.26  
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Book Description

June 21 2011
"Anyone suffering Downton Abbey withdrawal symptoms (who isn't?) will find an instant tonic in Daisy Goodwin’s The American Heiress. The story of Cora Cash, an American heiress in the 1890s who bags an English duke, this is a deliciously evocative first novel that lingers in the mind." --Allison Pearson, New York Times bestselling author of I Don’t Know How She Does It and I Think I Love You

Be careful what you wish for. 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 Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals.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.

Witty, moving, and brilliantly entertaining, Cora’s story marks the debut of a glorious storyteller who brings a fresh new spirit to the world of Edith Wharton and Henry James.

"For daughters of the new American billionaires of the 19th century, it was the ultimate deal: marriage to a cash-strapped British Aristocrat in return for a title and social status. But money didn’t always buy them happiness." --Daisy Goodwin in The Daily Mail
 
One of Library Journal's Best Historical Fiction Books of 2011

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Product Description

Review

Advance Praise for The American Heiress:

 
"The detailing is beautiful, the great phalanx of historical characters amusing, and the relief of reading a novel that puts enjoyment first so rare and gratifying that I am ready for a sequel." --Amanda Foreman, author of GEORGIANA, DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE, winner of the Whitbread Prize for Biography
 
"A shrewd, spirited historical romance with flavors of Edith Wharton, Daphne du Maurier, Jane Austen, Upstairs, Downstairs and a dash of People magazine that charts a bumpy marriage of New World money and Old World tradition.... Goodwin’s debut, a knowing, judicious blend of Gilded Age extravagance, below-stairs perspective,...and sophisticated social tableaux, offers reader satisfaction....Superior entertainment." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
"Top-notch writing brings to life the world of wealth on both sides of the Atlantic. This debut’s strong character development and sense of place will please fans of historical romance, including book club members." --Library Journal (starred review) 
 
"This lush look at Edwardian excess and scandal on both sides of the Atlantic...is a propulsive story of love, manners, culture clash, and store-bought class from a time long past that proves altogether fresh."
--Publishers Weekly
 
"Deliciously classy. A story that gallops along, full of exquisite period detail." --Kate Mosse, author of  LABYRINTH and SEPULCHRE

"I was seduced by this book, rather as Cora was seduced by her duke: with great skill and confidence. Intriguing, atmospheric, and extremely stylish, I was still thinking about it long after I had reached the end." --Penny Vincenzi, author of THE BEST OF TIMES
 
"Sparkling and thoroughly engaging…a delight. Filled with vitality and peopled by a vigorous supporting cast of characters…the story of a poor little rich girl learning the hard way… makes for a highly enjoyable and intelligent read." --London Sunday Times

Review

Advance Praise for The American Heiress:

 
"The detailing is beautiful, the great phalanx of historical characters amusing, and the relief of reading a novel that puts enjoyment first so rare and gratifying that I am ready for a sequel." --Amanda Foreman, author of GEORGIANA, DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE, winner of the Whitbread Prize for Biography
 
"A shrewd, spirited historical romance with flavors of Edith Wharton, Daphne du Maurier, Jane Austen, Upstairs, Downstairs and a dash of People magazine that charts a bumpy marriage of New World money and Old World tradition.... Goodwin’s debut, a knowing, judicious blend of Gilded Age extravagance, below-stairs perspective,...and sophisticated social tableaux, offers reader satisfaction....Superior entertainment." --Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
 
"Top-notch writing brings to life the world of wealth on both sides of the Atlantic. This debut’s strong character development and sense of place will please fans of historical romance, including book club members." --Library Journal (starred review) 
 
"This lush look at Edwardian excess and scandal on both sides of the Atlantic...is a propulsive story of love, manners, culture clash, and store-bought class from a time long past that proves altogether fresh."
--Publishers Weekly
 
"Deliciously classy. A story that gallops along, full of exquisite period detail." --Kate Mosse, author of  LABYRINTH and SEPULCHRE

"I was seduced by this book, rather as Cora was seduced by her duke: with great skill and confidence. Intriguing, atmospheric, and extremely stylish, I was still thinking about it long after I had reached the end." --Penny Vincenzi, author of THE BEST OF TIMES
 
"Sparkling and thoroughly engaging…a delight. Filled with vitality and peopled by a vigorous supporting cast of characters…the story of a poor little rich girl learning the hard way… makes for a highly enjoyable and intelligent read." --London Sunday Times


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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Good premise that goes nowhere Dec 20 2011
Format:Hardcover
To start, I'm not going to go into the whole storyline as you can get that anywhere!
The premise of a naive American heiress marrying a crumbling young English Duke and having to adapt to a new world and a new set of rules intrigued me. But I soon became frustrated with the whole book.
The author writes well and the historical aspects are spot on but character development never seems to take off. Cora remains naive and never seems to grow. Ivo remains very superficial and his explanation of why he had an affair at the end of the book seemed out of character and I didnt believe him at all. Cora's continued easy acceptance of him and his explanations left me wanting to kick her! The ending just seems like a quick wrap up and left me feeling flat.
There are several side storylines brought in ie. the hat maker, the maid who seemed infatuated with the Duke and the snake tattoo that could have been expanded on and brought interest but they were just ignored. (I awaited eagerly the tattoo storyline to expand and was very disappointed when it wasnt!)
Maybe i'm used to a more involved storyline and see that others have thoroughly enjoyed this read. I can't honestly recommend this except to those who want light reading.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars July 8 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Really Enjoyed this one. Would love a sequel?
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By The Baking Bookworm TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Note: This review, as well as many more, can also be found on my blog, The Baking Bookworm (www.thebakingbookworm.blogspot.ca).

My Review: This is another book that I picked up from my local library based on the book cover. What can I say? I'm attracted to pretty things and the dress alone in the picture is spectacular. It's a really beautiful book cover and from the description on the back I was expecting a grand, epic read that follows the life of an affluent American woman plunked down in England in the Gilded Age. I was looking forward to a lot of plot twists, people being deceived and slandered but in a cool, posh, English way. Kind of a British version of a Sidney Sheldon novel.

Unfortunately my assumptions didn't pan out and I didn't find it quite as epic as I was hoping. Not epic at all actually. While it does have a slight Downton Abbey feel to it (especially since it includes the point of view of Bertha, Cora's maid), it just doesn't have the excitement or the riveting characters that are known at Downton.

I wanted to love this book, I really did. But there were several issues that I just couldn't overlook. First of all, the pace was extremely slow. While I realize that large books tend to take a bit of time to get wind in their sails there's also a point at which I need something to happen to propel the storyline and keep me from nodding off. This book lacked the twists, trials and tribulations.

It was also a pretty predictable read with certain events happening much too easily and serendipitously for young Cora. If I had a dollar for every time I heard of someone falling off a horse into the arms of a rich Brit I'd have ..... well, nothing. Because that just doesn't happen.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Aug. 14 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
well written
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Debut author Sept. 28 2011
By Luanne Ollivier #1 HALL OF FAME TOP 10 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
When I saw the cover of American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin, my first thought was of Grace Kelly. But Goodwin's novel takes place before that time period, set in the Gilded Age. I found Goodwin's inspiration behind the writing of American Heiress quite fascinating.

"Daisy has long been fascinated with the Gilded Age, and she decided to write about it when she was visiting Blenheim Palace and saw a portrait of Consuelo Vanderbilt looking absolutely miserable. Consuelo is the inspiration behind this book: the American heiress who went to England, married the Duke of Marlborough, lived at Blenheim...Daisy's "aha' moment, which precipitated her to write this novel, revolved around wondering who these girls were, what happened to them in England, how they lived, coped, adjusted, etc."

Goodwin has created Cora Cash, an incredibly wealthy young socialite living in Newport, Rhode Island in 1893 at the time of her 'debut'. Cora's mother is determined that Cora will make the best match possible. And what she wants cannot be bought in the United States - a title. So they debut continues in England. And Mrs. Cash finally has her wish - Cora marries a Duke. But life is not the fairytale that Cora had imagined. Does her husband truly love her? Her mother-in-law seems determined to thwart her at every turn. The staff don't respect her. And she is alone in a strange country with no friends and really no idea of how things are done in England.

Cora is spunky and full of life, determined to succeed at everything. I enjoyed her enthusiasm, but found her to be a bit of a spoiled brat at times. Certainly this can be explained by her upbringing, but I found her treatment of her maid Bertha discouraging. Bertha's story was for me just as interesting as Cora's.
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