Wealthy American girl marries an English man which in turn gives her a title. American girl finds that English life is a bit different from American life. American girl struggles to find her place in a society that seems to be several steps behind America in the movement to bring meaning, relevance, & individuality to women. American girl must decide if she loves her husband enough to fight to find her place in this new land.
I know. A very bland synopsis, but to be honest, I was a bit let down by this book. I LOVED Goodwin's "Victoria". And after visiting Budapest & Vienna this past summer, I was eager to pick up her book "The Fortune Hunter" which was loosely based on Empress Elisabeth, aka Sisi. It was ok, but not all that I had hoped. And because of my LOVE for the BBC hit show "Downton Abbey", I was equally as excited to read this book "The American Heiress" which is based on the character of Cora Crawley, Countess of Grantham. Although this book was more closely tied to the subject that I had hoped, it just didn't hit the mark. I think most of my interest in this book was from the correlations I was making to the TV show character & expanding the "Downton Abbey" story by this insight into Cora's life. So if you LOVE "Downton Abbey", go ahead & give it a read. Otherwise, eh.
Age recommendation: 14 & older (some mature situations)
On a scale of 1-10 stars, I give it 5.
I wanted to like this for several reasons - Daisy Goodwin is a grandchild of Dr. Fraill, the Irish Protestant rector/vicar/whatever featured in the PBS series who cannot stand by as misery & death decimate his Irish neighbors during the famine. He denies self (as his conconsious & Christian beliefs compel him) to serve the people. He ends up dying of typhus, very much like those he has served. Ms. Goodwin wrote the series, therefore I admire her research & skill to bring this to film.
Not much to do with this specific review - I understand this story is historically based on the cash Americans brought to many English landed gentry now in financial ruin. Not unlike Downton Abbey tale. That still didn't redeem this novel for me. Five minutes listening to the narrator set my teeth on edge.
*** stars. Cora Cash ( yes, Cash) the wealthiest heiress in America goes to England to buy herself a title. She leaves behind a young man who lacks the courage to marry her and takes with her a mother, who is far from endearing. She "stumbles" upon a Duke with a mother to more than match her own. Think "Downton Abbey". The Duke, who was the second son, inherited the title only when his beloved brother died. Add to this an imagined or real mistress to the Duke, the Prince of Wales, and the downstairs staff and you have a great collection of characters and egos. Perhaps the most sympathetic person is Cora's black maid who tries to find an honorable means of weaving her way through the intrigue. I enjoyed the book. I believe the author would like to be Edith Wharton, but no one is, so the book cannot be held to such a standard. You are left guessing until the very end whether the Duke is a cad or man in love with his wife. A very nice read. Recommend.
jandt_mcmurray thinks this title is suitable for 14 years and over
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