Customer Reviews for

The American Heiress

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

35 out of 45 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

11 out of 12 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 12, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    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 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.

    35 out of 45 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 23, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    American Heiress is the perfect mix of The Great Gatsby and The Help

    The pretend world of the nouveau riche- Americans who think money can (and does) buy anything. Daisy Goodwin has introduced us to a world gone forever of power, wealth and taste on two continents. Cora Cash just wants love but instead finds herself on the auction block for a title. Add a domineering mother and a titled cash poor (pardon the pun!)Brit and the games begin. You don't want to like these people but you find yourself wanting Cora to wake up and smell the conspiracy. The underlying current in the story is how the super wealthy back in the Gilded Age treat their help compared to how the British have always treated their staff. It rings of F. Scott Fitzgerald in the style of writing and I am looking forward to future books coming from Ms. Goodwin from across the pond.

    15 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    I was enveloped by this book!

    This book took me to another time, the time I secretly wished we all still existed. I literally read this in two days. (I purchased the paperback version after being struck by the cover....it really conveys the feeling of the "story" which you won't fully understand until you read it.) Highly recomended for thosse like myself who want to be transported out of reallity for awhile.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    I absolutely adored this book! Goodwin has created something qui

    I absolutely adored this book! Goodwin has created something quietly great. The plot is exceptionally thought out and the characters are lovely. I hate it when authors attempt to flaunt their  vocabulary or knowledge, but Goodwin manages to speak in an informed, elevated voice without coming off as too showy.   It was refreshing to read a novel through which I was unable to deceiver the ending.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 28, 2012

    Excellent Read!

    Excellent raad. If you like Downton Abbey you will enjoy this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2012

    Wonderful and Enchanting

    This was such a beautiful story and i would recomend it to anyone who enjoys curling up in a comfy chair and being transported to an enchanting era in history.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2012

    I picked this book up because i saw the little blurp on the fron

    I picked this book up because i saw the little blurp on the front 'if
    you are having Dowton Abbey withdrawals..."! It was so well
    written and I just loved the way the story flowed. I love this era and
    this book was everything I had hoped it would be and more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2012

    Really enjoyed it!

    If you are a Downton Abbey fan you will enjoy this book. Very good writing and story.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2014

    I loved this book. A very well-written and interesting story. I

    I loved this book. A very well-written and interesting story. I thought I knew exactly what was going to happen, but there were some curve-balls thrown in there that I didn't anticipate. The characters are well-developed, and very human. I recommend this book all the time for people who love historical fiction, or Britain, or Downton Abbey, or just as a good romance novel with more to it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2014

    Great Read!

    I loved this book. Perfect for a vacation... very easy to read and the ending was just perfect.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2013

    Loved it!!

    Loved it!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2013

    Very good read

    Loved it

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 1, 2013

    Quick and entertaining summer read

    Not normally a genre I read, however, I enjoyed this book quite a bit. The detail, the writing, the story line all made this summer read very enjoyable.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2013

    Love it -love it

    Hardly ever read this kind of book, and after reading it i loved it, good plot and characters. One bad thing was that there were too many characters at once and made it hard to follow but afterwards u get to know everyone. I really recommend it if u always seem to shy away from this century

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 12, 2013

    Quick read

    Great book for purely pleasure reading... don't go into it expecing a groundbreaking book. It's a fun read, though.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 8, 2013

    A must read for Downton Abbey fans

    If you are hooked on Downton Abbey then you can get your fix with this book. Time period is earlier, but DA heads will relate.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2013

    Loved it

    It was a great romance novel

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2013

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 9, 2013

    Great Read

    I truly enjoyed this book!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2012

    Loved it! Don't usually write reviews unless book it REALLY bad

    Loved it! Don't usually write reviews unless book it REALLY bad or REALLY good. You will not be disappointed. Enjoy.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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