Thursday, July 14, 2011

The American Heiress; Daisy Goodwin

Author: Daisy Goodwin
Publication Year: 2011
Publisher: MacMillian Audio
Edition: audio book 
Reader: Katherine Kellgren (very good)
Source: Amazon Vine
Date Completed: 7/13/2011 
Setting: US and England
Rating: 3.5/5
Recommend: yes


Cora Cash is one of the most beautiful and richest Gilded Age debutantes. At her coming out ball in Newport, Rhode Island, her mother, a domineering, and obnoxious social climber, has a mishap with leave her face disfigured, and although her face is altered, her contemptuous  personality remains unchanged.  The fact that Cora feels deeply for her American suitor Teddy Van Der Leyden, means nothing as far is Cora's mother is concerned. Teddy comes from a prominent family, but Mrs. Cash believes that only an English Nobleman will due for her daughter, because if Cora becomes the wife a wealthy aristocrat, Mrs Cash' social status will be elevated as well.

Cora, who wants to get away from her domineering mother, agrees to accompany her to England, soon after the ball. Her black servant Bertha, who is totally dedicated to Cora accompanies them.  Soon after arriving, Cora is thrown from a horse and is injured.  As fate  would have it, she spends her time recuperating at the home of the handsome and eligible, Ivo, Duke of Wareham.  It isn't long, a few weeks, before the Duke proposes marriage to Cora.

Their marriage is not a "and they lived happily ever after" story.  Married life is difficult for Cora. Although she wants to be a good wife, her husband turns somewhat aloof and secretive.  Cora begins to wonder if her ever got over his former love interest, or was it Cora's money that appealed to him.  Cora also has to deal with being scorned and looked down upon by her mother-in-law and others.

Cora was a likable character, but for an intelligent girl with lots of money and status, she seemed extremely naive. He life among the British was one disaster after another, and she couldn't seem to anticipate any of it.  Cora's mother on the other hand, was as obnoxious as her mother-in-law, snooty society elitists. Her husband Ivo was a piece of work.  Cora's servant Bertha was an endearing character --I liked her a lot.

The audio book was fun to listen too, and the reader was very good. (She had the snob voice perfected).  I liked all the historical details about the customs, the estates, the balls and clothing, but parts seemed a little bogged down and I was occasionally tempted to fast forward certain sections. I also thought the ending seemed a little open ended, so I am wondering whether there might be something else planned.  Fans of historical, period novels might find this a fun summer read.

18 comments:

  1. This sounds interesting. I bet my mother would really love it!

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  2. I might pick this one up...I'm afraid of the spots where the story bogged down for you!!

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  3. It's been a long time since I read something like this book. It does sound interesting. I'm also looking forward to the new Louise Penny book about that great Canadian French Detective, Chief Inspector Gamache :) Having read several in the series, I definitely feel invested in all those wonderful characters.

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  4. I have a review copy of this book to read. I wonder if it's one that is better read than listened to. I do love when they add the appropriate accents and attitude:)

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  5. Someone recommended this to me because I love the TV show, Downton Abbey. I love the premise of the book, and even though I have seen mixed reviews for it, I want to read it. At least, it's entertaining, if not anything else.
    Thanks for the review! :)

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  6. I enjoyed this one more than you did, I think because I thought the narrator was just so darn great at all of the voices! I really got into the historical aspect too.

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  7. I read this book and wasn
    t overly keen on it, but I bet it would be more interesting as an audio book!

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  8. I don't know if this one is for me. Although, I do love Edith Wharton novels, so maybe I'd enjoy this kind of society drama.

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  9. Sounds like a good summer ead to me! Thank you for posting it!

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  10. Newport and the Gilded Age make this sound very appealing...

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  11. I've read a number of reviews labeling this one just okay...not sure that it's the one for me. I like period pieces, but your comment about wanting to skip ahead in several places gives me pause.
    Thanks for the honest review :)

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  12. I have a copy of this book in my tbr pile. After reading your review I am a bit curious about the audio version. Although if I read the book ,I can skim faster through it when it slows down.

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  13. Sounds good, especially with a good reader...that really helps too!

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  14. I sort of have a thing for books about the fabulously wealthy and the antics that they get up to, so this one sounds like it might be just my cup of tea. I am glad to hear that you enjoyed it and will be looking forward to reading it at some point!

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  15. Well sounds good, but I am not sure if I want to read this one right now :)

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  16. Sounds like a nice easy read. I have my eye out for this one.

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  17. It's not the best feeling when you would rather read about the servant instead of the titular character. :) I think this book just wasn't quite ... something.

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  18. I'm definitely writing this one down to see if my library has it in inventory!! Thanks!

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