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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Book Review: The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin


The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
Unabridged, 13 hr. 26 min.
Macmillan Audio
Katherine Kellgren (Narrator)
June 21, 2011
★★★★★

Genre: Historical Romance

Source: Received from the Amazon Vine program for review
“Be careful what you wish for. Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the twentieth century to seek a titled husband, beautiful, vivacious Cora Cash, whose family mansion in Newport dwarfs the Vanderbilts’, suddenly finds herself Duchess of Wareham, married to Ivo, the most eligible bachelor in England. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals. Money, Cora soon learns, cannot buy everything, as she must decide what is truly worth the price in her life and her marriage.

Witty, moving, and brilliantly entertaining, Cora’s story marks the debut of a glorious storyteller who brings a fresh new spirit to the world of Edith Wharton and Henry James.”
I have not encountered a novel that has been set (at least partially) in Newport, Rhode Island during the golden age of the “summer cottages” of the mega wealthy. It is such a beautiful setting and is probably one of the few settings in the United States that can evoke such a vivid world as European castles of old. Only a small portion of the novel is set here before it moves into well known Victorian England – but it still brought gorgeous pictures to mind.

It was also refreshing to read a romance novel for a change. This book treads more heavily on the romance side of the coin than the historical but there is enough there to certainly give you the sense of Victorian England. We even get to have Prince Bertie as a relatively important side character. It was also very interesting to see American upper class society juxtaposed against the English upper class – they were vastly different and it became quite an important plot device throughout the novel.

This was a great read and even though it ended in possibly not the most ideal situation it was still what I was rooting for. I even held off finishing the book for a few days because I really didn’t want it to end – it was such an enjoyable ride. I would certainly love to read another book by this author, it was a great debut.

And on a completely random note – I think the author had inspired choices for character names – I am particularly fond of Cora Cash!

★★★★★

The narrator was wonderful. She was a very flexible reader and had great accents for all of her characters. She had to switch between American and British accents throughout the story and I thought this was done seamlessly. At the end of the novel there was an interview with the author which was a wonderful treat. One thing that I found quite interesting was that she had never written dialogue before and so she would often read it out loud to hear how it sounded – which I think was perfect preparation for an audiobook.

You can visit Daisy Goodwin’s website for additional information about the book.  You can read an excerpt of the book or hear a snippet of the audiobook for your previewing enjoyment.

You can watch this conversation with the author for some information about this story:

 

You can also read an interview with the author over at Unabridged Chick.

Reviews of this book by other bloggers:

Here are some choices for purchasing the book: Amazon, B&N, RJ Julia (my fav indie bookstore).

 




Copyright © 2011 by The Maiden’s Court

15 comments:

  1. I have been meaning to read this for a while, I am glad you enjoyed it so much- great review!

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  2. I really want to read this now! It sounds like an entertaining read, and someone even compared it to Downton Abbey!

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  3. So glad you enjoyed this -- I am super curious about the audio version since it sounds like it was so well done!

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  4. This one is definitely on my wish list. Glad you enjoyed it!

    Thanks for the review.

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  5. I've heard this is really great from others too!! I have it on my shelf but havne't had a chance to read it yet.

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  6. I like the title - somehow different!

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  7. I can't wait to read this one! Thank you for an awesome review!

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  8. I have been seeing this one around lately and I am really drawn to it. I do hope to read it one day

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  9. Anne, Melissa, Carrie, Mystica, Siobian, Blodeuedd - you really should read it soon - it just keeps sucking you in. I didn't want it to end.

    Misha - I have heard the comparison too, but I unfortunately don't know that one.

    Audra - the audio was awesome.

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  10. I have always wanted to visit those summer "cottages" up north. I've seen photos and they are dreamy. Sounds like a lovely novel. The whole idea of money for titles is fascinating esoecially when the women have to mingle in English society. Great review.

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  11. Jenny - They are gorgeous! I have been to those in Newport a couple of times and there is always something new to see.

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  12. I have seen this book mentioned on several blogs. I do enjoy historical romance, especially when the emphasis is on the historical. I would think the differences in American and English societies would be most evident in the upper classes. I am curious to see how this story plays out.

    Either form would be enjoyable. Since I don't commute anymore, I am not listening to many audiobooks and I miss them.
    Thanks for the review.

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  13. Librarypat - I really enjoyed seeing how the English thought of the Americans- especially old money vs. new money.

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  14. I am currently working on a review of this book for my own blog and came across your site--so glad that I did! I completely agree about the ending, but was enthralled all the way through. I thought this was a really engaging book and hope to read more by the same author.

    Hope you are enjoying your weekend!

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  15. Charlotte - so glad to hear that you too enjoyed the book. The ending was a little bit of a let down, but it didn't take away from the story as a whole. Still loved it. Glad you found my blog!

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Thanks for leaving your comments! I love reading them and try to reply to all!