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The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin (Thoughts)

November 8, 2011

From the publisher’s website:
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 Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals.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.

What first drew me to The American Heiress was the beautiful cover. Then reading the description, I figured it would be sumptuously elegant and scandalous. And it was both of those things, to a certain extent. The American Heiress was also somewhat of a coming of age story. Cora grew up with a status and affluence she was born with, but the people in her new British life weren’t impressed with any of that. Cora needed to grow up a bit and prove herself against the unexpected obstacles that came her way. And no New Heiress story would be complete without three important players: Distant Husband, Frienemy, and Disapproving Mother-in-law.

Cora’s husband, Ivo, was a jerk with a capital J. I actually felt bad for Cora because, man, she just could not do anything right by him. And he was the kind of jerk who would lead her on and lead her on and bam she’s incompetent again. His behaviour is explained near the end of the book, but I didn’t think it was enough to make up for his horrible behaviour.

The Frienemy was pretty fantastic, but after a while it felt like Goodwin was beating me over the head with the fact that she seemed nice but was really Up To No Good. Come on, I know she is, everyone knows she is. Except Cora, for some reason. She was really slow to catch on to the fact her new friend did not have her best interests at heart.

And then there was the wonderfully awful Mother-in-law. I kind of became a bit gleeful whenever the Double Duchess showed up, because I knew she was going to do something to undermine Cora, and she was just so good at it. But I was equally happy when Cora stood up to her.

The biggest let down for me was the end. The story seemed to end a bit too cleanly and happily. I’m all for happy endings, but this one seemed like it needed a little more oomph of passion to it.

Overall, The American Heiress was good, entertaining read. I’ll always be a sucker for opulence and the people who thrive in it.

My rating: 7/10
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4 Comments leave one →
  1. November 8, 2011 7:04 am

    Great honest review :D

  2. November 8, 2011 1:10 pm

    Some books just want to end all happy, happy when the ending really needs to be about retribution.

  3. November 8, 2011 6:47 pm

    Sounds like this one is worth a look. I read some really wonderful reviews about it but started to get turned off by all the great read lines. I still want to try it though. The evil mother-in-law sounds like a fun character.

  4. November 14, 2011 6:35 am

    The excessively rich are always fascinating–but it’s nice to know that money doesn’t buy happiness.

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