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The American Heiress: A Novel

The American Heiress: A Novel

3.9 292
by Daisy Goodwin

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Enter a world in which American millionaires marry British aristocrats-in return for title and social status-and discover why this blockbuster bestselling novel continues to enchant millions of readers.

Be careful what you wish for...
Newport heiress Cora Cash-beautiful, spirited, and the richest girl in the country-is the closest

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The American Heiress 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 292 reviews.
FeatheredQuillBookReviews More than 1 year ago
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.
1AnneB More than 1 year ago
Let me start of by saying - I loved this book! I have read several other books concerning this era, both fiction and non-fiction, and Ms. Goodwin has artfully incorporated the facts of this time and a wonderful story. The characters quickly become familiar and intriguing - we want to know more - about their lives, hopes and dreams. The settings, the USA, England and the English countryside are almost part of the story - the opulence of Newport, RI, New York City as well as London and the Dorset coast are brought to life almost as additional characters in the story. Cora Cash, the heroine, is rich, beautiful, intelligent yet at times naïve - which only endears her to the reader. She tries so hard at times, but at others, doesn't have a clue about human emotions. It is an interesting journey for her, as well as the reader, to come to a place of happiness, contentment and maturity. Altogether a wonderful and satisfying read - I recommend it to anyone who likes historical fiction.
Cecita More than 1 year ago
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.
kim-galleria More than 1 year ago
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.
blueyedirishgrl More than 1 year ago
This book has lots of potential....Too bad it doesn't live up to it. I can honestly say I've never read a book with as much useless information thrown at you. Pages upon pages of detail that is utterly unimportant to the telling of this story & way, way too many internal monologues. The whole book you are climbing towards this one "big" revelation at the end, which isn't such a big revelation at all and completely falls flat. I skipped 4 or 5 pages at a time and still didn't miss a beat. Don't waste your time on this book...
julieannwrites More than 1 year ago
Book was historically accurate in its use of terms and subjects, much of which I had to look up to understand. Although I read straight through over a period of several days, it was not that exciting until the final scene of the book. The author is however, a master at changing viewpoints from character to character seamlessly. Wait until it goes on sale to purchase.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Sweet_Tea More than 1 year ago
I am truly shocked at the good reviews for this book-it was awful. The "hero" of the book was so detached and cold that it was impossible to understand why Cora felt that she loved him. If I wanted to experience a self absorbed, emotionally detached male I would call my ex-husband rather than read a book!
Rhetorent More than 1 year ago
I read The American Heiress to quench my thirst for Downton Abbey this summer and it started out promising. However, it eventually became overwhelmed with description and research. It could have used more showing and less telling, but it seemed quite well-researched. More character development and less hand-holding could have made this a great book.
llh0803 More than 1 year ago
I was very disappointed with this book. The characters are not at all likeable. The plot is predictable and once you get to the last few chapters it's as if the author suddenly realized how long the book was getting and tried to tie everything together unsuccessfully.
OHBeth More than 1 year ago
I devoured this book! It,s not a run of the mill bodice ripper, but a thoughtful portrayal of an era when rich Americans and needy Brits found each other and made marriages of convenience fun again. Looking for lots more great stuff from Daisy! Many thanks for this one.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was my book club's selection for November. I felt the characters lacked depth and the plot was predictable. Further, the author created an aura of mystery around the central male character, without fully explaining the reasons by the end of the book. Perhaps crucial parts were edited out. Although this book had promise, I feel it missed the mark, especially when compared to the fine literature that covers this era, a la James and Wharton.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Slow reading and Very predictable. In the line of a harlequin novel. Not that there's anything wrong with them for beginning readers. Also not much of a plot. Sorry
Avid-FLA-reader More than 1 year ago
A disappointing read. A re-hash of many historical romance novels -- just told in twice as many pages. There are clichéd character galore -- the cold, aloof husband (who, at times, seems almost bi-polar), the cold ambitious mother, the jealous, interfering mother-in-law, and the beautiful new "friend" who is really a scheming former lover of the heiresses' new husband. I say give this book a pass.
anngie22 More than 1 year ago
I'm only about half way through this book, but I'm underwhelmed. Its possible the ending will blow me away, but its doubtful. I feel like the writing is very simple and I almost feel like it is supposed to be in the young adult genre... Very little has happened and I've read a good bit. I expected a historical fiction piece with a dynamic love triangle and instead I got a romance novel without the steamy scenes. I think the marketing of the book oversells it. We're reading for book club and I doubt we'll have much to talk about
JGarrison More than 1 year ago
There is no option to have half stars, so I moved it down a bit but overall it really is about a 3.5 star. I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either. The author, English, does a phenomenal job describing Victorian-era England with the bankrupted aristocracy and their near-desperation for money and to marry rich--mostly the "New Money" Americans. That was fantastically written. But when writing about Americans, clearly this author had no clue. It would be like an American writer trying to convince an English reader that they "know" their history. At least that is what it felt like as an American reader who is reading a work by an English writer--her writings about Americans during that time felt vacant, fake, and poorly researched. I unfortunately do not buy that an African decent person would have had it "better" in England during that period as well, and this writer made it seem like it was so much easier for those of that decent/race during this time period. Maybe so, but personal research of their history during this time period wasn't much better than it was on this side of the Pond. Overall, it was a decent read. Took me a while to get into it, but did enjoy the intrigue that unfolded. Not quite "Downton Abbey," but was not a waste of my reading power.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story was hard to get through. The book just dragged out and there were times when I just wanted to stop all together, but I find it difficult to stop reading a book after I start (this goes with any book). The ending was not all that great either.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You will enjoy if you like historical novels, with a bit of mystery.
melemooch More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too romance novel for me!
DAfan More than 1 year ago
If you are a Downton Abbey fan you will enjoy this book. Very good writing and story.
Joanie_Wanamaker 9 months ago
Let this book sweep you back to the Gilded Age where money can be anything, even a title, parties started at midnight, extravagance was expected (cigarettes made from $100 bills? gold painted hummingbirds?) and life was about who could trump who. This is the world of Cora Cash, the American Heiress. Life for Cora is one big party where money can buy almost anything. When Cora goes to England after her coming out party, it is expected that she will marry someone with a title. When a serendipitous mishap leads to Cora meeting the Duke of Warham, her life is forever changed. Soon, Cora is a Duchess, and although she thinks she knows the "game" she finds that she is instead an outsider in a foreign land where things are not quite as they seem and the husband she has married has secrets that he wishes to keep. As Cora starts to come into her own in this foreign land with customs she doesn't completely understand, she starts to find herself. This was an amazing read! I literally could not put this book down. I had no idea where each chapter was going to take me, or what was going to happen next. The characters were real and, at times left me feeling bad for Cora for the unfairness of the situation(s) she found herself in. If you are looking for a good read, with a type of "Gone With the Wind" essence, look no further than The American Heiress. Highly recommend!
SuperReaderChick 10 months ago
I was very excited to read The American Heiress. It dealt with a subject that I was interested in, but knew little about. By Chapter 3, there were already so many strong personalities dodging, weaving, and colliding in the story. Hopes, dreams, and goals abound. Goodwin weaved an incredibly entertaining story with a cast of colorful and endearing characters. The thrust and parry of Cora and Ivo was enjoyable to watch. When they were at the piano together, I felt things shift and was eager to see where it would go for them next. I always had my suspicions about Ivo's intentions, but I hoped for the best. What Teddy sees before boarding the ship for America really cast a shadow over things. I worried for Cora and what her future as a duchess would hold. Once Cora officially became the Duchess of Wareham, I enjoyed watching her as she tried to find her place in that new world. I was also always waiting for the Duke's secrets to come out into the open. The intrigues kept me turning page after page. When everything came to a head at the unveiling of the Louvain portrait, I was on the edge of my seat. My heart went out to Cora later as she continued to struggle against the Double Duchess while awaiting the birth of her child. There was so much adversity for her to overcome and she handled much of it with dignity and grace. When Ivo's secrets finally came out, my heart wept for Cora. I did not envy the situation in which she found herself. She showed great resilience through it all and by the end of the book, I was at peace with her decision and understood it. It gave me some feelings of "what if," but I knew that she had made the right choice for her future. This was a fabulous story and transported me through its words to a different place and time. I am looking forward to reading more from Daisy Goodwin.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago