Customer Reviews for

The American Heiress

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

37 out of 50 people found this review helpful.

A truly fascinating story of the decadence that was the Gilded Age

The date is August, 1893, and Cora Cash is about to embark on her voyage of adulthood, beginning with her coming-out party at her parent's stunning home in Newport, RI. This is the type of soiree that the East Coast "money" families were always famous for throwing; and ...
The date is August, 1893, and Cora Cash is about to embark on her voyage of adulthood, beginning with her coming-out party at her parent's stunning home in Newport, RI. This is the type of soiree that the East Coast "money" families were always famous for throwing; and this particular ball has been advertised as being the most lavish party that the wealthy Rhode Island coast will see all summer. Cora has been named the richest girl of her generation and most definitely has everything handed to her on a silver platter. She has everything except what her mother wants Cora to have, and that is the one thing that money can't buy in the United States of America. So, after her party is over, Mom decides to take Cora to England in order to secure a husband for her; a husband with an elusive British title who lives in an ancestral home, and has a lineage of pure highfalutin English blood. Of course, what Mom doesn't realize is a "title" doesn't mean all that much, unless its King, and an ancestral home is nothing more than a pile of old stones that's falling down, and the man is simply looking for the money to fix it up. Cora soon meets her Duke, Ivo - the Duke of Wareham - and they fall in love and marry. Although romance is a tough subject among the British (Mr. Darcy proved that a while back), as they are perceived and written about as cold and more than a little "uptight," Cora Cash is an immaculate woman with a tough spine that begins to wear British society down. The newlyweds seem to love each other but have to face a great deal of problems including infidelity, no bathrooms in the castle (which would certainly be a big problem), and meddling mothers-in-law, as they go about their lives together. The nature of the plot is what makes The American Heiress different from a typical historical romance. Cora has a hard time realizing how important reputations are in Royal England, and how the standards are so much "higher" than in New York and Newport society. Ivo has his own demons - for instance, a few affairs that happened before he even met Cora come back to haunt him, and the fact that his castle is falling down and needs repairing is a subject that induces many arguments. Cora tries to please her man, but she has always been a truly independent girl and finds it hard to kowtow to the English rich when she knows that they aren't anywhere near as rich as she is - even though they DO own the covetous 'titles.' This author is a wonderful storyteller, and has certainly done her research into the lives of the rich and famous. For example: the summer cottage of the Cash family in Newport was fashioned to be a mirror-image of the Palace of Versailles in France.except bigger. Their 'Hall of Mirrors' was much larger than that of Louis and Marie Antoinette's, and the Cash family was blessed with far more servants. Add to that the British estates, which are so well-told that the reader actually feels as if they are experiencing the drafts for themselves; and, the slap happy people who attend all the glorious parties, and soon every page of this book becomes truly fantastical and completely unforgettable. This author has created an outstanding work that is enormously true to the era, that readers will really enjoy. The American Heiress is a definite keeper and, hopefully, just the first novel in a long line still to come. Quill Says: A truly fascinating story of the decadence and mystery that was the Gilded Age.

posted by FeatheredQuillBookReviews on June 12, 2011

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Most Helpful Critical Review

13 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

Lacks originality but not bad

Ok so ever since reading The House of Mirth, I haven't stopped reading about the Gilded Age. But this was a problem reading this book. At many points the novel felt like a re-hash of others. If anyone has read Alva and Consuelo Vanderbilt, you will know what I mean. It ...
Ok so ever since reading The House of Mirth, I haven't stopped reading about the Gilded Age. But this was a problem reading this book. At many points the novel felt like a re-hash of others. If anyone has read Alva and Consuelo Vanderbilt, you will know what I mean. It was just too similar. And did anyone else notice similarities to Rebecca (yes, I know a different century)? The painting? The secretive and aloof husband? However, the story held my interest and the description was quite vivid. Bottom line: if you haven't read much about this period, I think you will love it.

posted by Cecita on June 27, 2011

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  • Posted June 17, 2012

    Good summer read

    I enjoyed this book. I thought that it started strong & had interesting characters. I would have enjoyed more about some if the characters. I would recommend to a friend interested in this genre. It's a good summer read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 15, 2012

    I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought at first that it

    I really enjoyed reading this book. I thought at first that it was going to be just another of those silly books where the main female character is a simpering idiot who fails to see everything happening around her. But it turned out to be just the opposite. Cora is a very smart and very strong woman. I loved that you got to see the impressions of her maid because that gave you a better view of what was really happening. The only thing I was disappointed in was the ending. I thought the ending was relatively weak compared to the rest of the story. I cannot explain why without giving away the story to those who haven't read it so I'll just leave it at that. It was almost like the author decided that the book was long enough so she just ended the story. But I must say that I was left wanting more. This is one of those books where when you finish you want to know what happens next. Could we wish for a sequel?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2012

    A Tidbit to Tide You Over

    If you like Jane Austen (especially Jane Austen one-offs) and are missing Downton Abbey, this is your book. Daisy Goodwin indulges us with the spoiled Cora Cash, arrogant Duke of Wareham and past fling Teddy. An easy, enjoyable read.

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  • Posted February 21, 2012

    Loved it!!

    I couldn't put it down. I love the descriptions of all the opulence of this time period. It's fun to imagine a world without boundaries (money ones anyway). Finished the book, Downton Abbey over for the season...what's a girl to do????

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 18, 2011

    Delightful

    I really enjoyed this book. It is a romantic novel set in the time of the gilded era when there was lots of money, no taxes and no middle class. If you want to read a good romantic novel on a rainy day, this is the book for you.

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  • Posted July 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Couldn't put it down

    Thoroughly enjoyed this book. I really could not put it down. The writing is lovely, the plot is fairly straight forward, but it's a delight all the same. Can't wait to buy copies for my sisters.

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