The American Heiress: A Novel

Overview

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 thing that American society has to a princess...

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The American Heiress

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Overview

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 thing that American society has to a princess in 1893. But her mother wants more, and whisks Cora away to England for the one thing money can't get a woman in the States: a title.

When it comes to love
Cora makes a dazzling impression on English society-followed by a brilliant match-but finds the chill in the air of magnificent ancestral homes is not solely due to the lack of central heating. Faced with the traps and betrayals of an old-world aristocracy that can trip up even the most charming, accomplished outsider, can Cora grow from a spoiled rich girl into a woman of substance?

Witty, moving, and brilliantly entertaining, Daisy Goodwin's The American Heiress marks the debut of a glorious storyteller who brings a fresh new spirit to the world of Edith Wharton and Henry James.


"Superior...shrewd, spirited historical romance."-Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

"Vibrant. . .archly entertaining."-Janet Maslin, The New York Times

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

 
The New York Times Janet Maslin

Ms. Goodwin writes deliciously.
Amanda Foreman

"A wonderful, guilty pleasure of a read."
Kate Mosse

Deliciously classy. A story that gallops along, full of exquisite period detail.
BookReporter.com

[An] exceptionally thoughtful and stunning historical novel that will leave you reeling and astonished...and give you the urge to re-read it the instant the last page is turned.
Penny Vincenzi

I was seduced by this book, rather as Cora was seduced by her duke: with great skill and confidence. Intriguing, atmospheric, and extremely stylish, I was still thinking about it long after I had reached the end.
RT Book Reviews (4 ½ stars)

"Smart, emotional, entertaining writing proves Goodwin is adept at creating the perfect atmosphere and backdrop for the turn of the century and a world where money can buy a title, but not happiness or acceptance. Like Henry James and Edith Wharton, Goodwin delves into this seemingly gracious world of opulence to uncover its harsh side, and brings a cast of fascinating characters into a delicious tale that captivates."
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250068347
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 8/4/2015
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 480
  • Sales rank: 355,701
  • Product dimensions: 4.12 (w) x 6.75 (h) x 1.18 (d)

Meet the Author


DAISY GOODWIN is the author of the New York Times bestselling novels The Fortune Hunter and The American Heiress. She is a Harkness scholar who attended Columbia University's film school after earning a history degree at Cambridge University. She founded a leading TV production company in the U.K., in addition to writing reviews and columns for the London Sunday Times and serving as the chair of the judging panel for the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction.
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Reading Group Guide

1. What is your initial impression of Cora Cash? How does she develop as a person in the course of the novel?

2. In America, Cora is clearly at the top of society, while Bertha is very near the bottom. In what ways do their circumstances change when they move to England?

3. What role do the mothers in the story--Mrs. Cash, Mrs. Van Der Leyden, and the Double Duchess--play in the central characters' lives?

4. Cora is always aware that "no one was unaffected by the money." How does the money affect Cora herself ? What are the pleasures and perils of great wealth?

5. What is your opinion of Teddy and the Duke? What about Charlotte?

6. What do you think about Cora's decision at the end of the book? Would you have made the same choice? (The author has said she was of two minds up until the last chapter.)

7. What are the differences between the Old World and the New in the novel? Do both worlds seem remote in the twenty-first century, or do you see parallels to contemporary society?

8. Why do modern readers enjoy reading novels about the past? Take a moment to discuss your experiences as a reader of historical fiction, in general, and of The American Heiress in particular.

9. When she was chair of the Orange Prize for Fiction in 2010, Daisy Goodwin wrote a controversial essay lamenting the "unrelenting grimness" of so many of the novels and pointing out that "generally great fiction contains light and shade"--not only misery but joy and humor. What do you think about Daisy's argument that "it is time for publishers to stop treating literary fiction as the novelistic equivalent of cod-liver oil: if it's nasty it must be good for you"?

10. Kirkus Reviews called The American Heiress a "shrewd, spirited historical romance with flavors of Edith Wharton, Daphne du Maurier, and Jane Austen." Other critics have also seen echoes of Henry James. If you have read any of these earlier novelists, what parallels and differences do you see in Daisy's work?

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