American Heiress (Goodwin) - Book Reviews

Book Reviews
Ms. Goodwin is brazen enough to name her moneybags heroine Cora Cash and to borrow from the life of Consuelo Vanderbilt in telling Cora’s tale. Thanks to the 1895 marriage to Charles Spencer-Churchill that turned Consuelo into the ninth Duchess of Marlborough, Ms. Goodwin need not strain to imagine what it was like for an American girl, from a family that had its own railroad, to catapult herself into the ranks of British royalty. Not that Ms. Goodwin is unimaginative: she gives Cora distinct personality and allure [and]...remains a vibrant character throughout Ms. Goodwin’s archly entertaining story.
Janet Maslin - New York Times


It's a battle of the New and Old Worlds, and for much of this lush look at Edwardian excess and scandal on both sides of the Atlantic, it's tough taking sides. American Cora Cash is the impetuous and spoiled-brat daughter of a flour-making millionaire and a nouveau rich mother from hell, growing up in mansions on Fifth Avenue and Newport at the tail end of the 19th century and introduced to society at a ball where gold-sprayed hummingbirds are released at midnight. But Cora's mother has her one good eye—the other was mangled in a bizarre wardrobe malfunction—on just one prize for her only daughter: a title. Cora, only too happy to free herself from her overbearing mother, happily obliges and, once in Jolly Ol' England, literally falls in front of, and in love with, the handsome and mysterious ninth duke of Wareham. But plopped into a chilly English castle and laughed at for her American ways by high- and low-brow alike, Cora discovers she's merely traded prisons and has to use some Yankee resilience and resourcefulness to unravel her stubbornly aloof husband's dark secrets, win his heart, and earn her place. Television producer Goodwin's debut is a propulsive story of love, manners, culture clash, and store-bought class from a time long past that proves altogether fresh.
Publishers Weekly


Cora Cash may be America's richest heiress in 1893, but her father's money can't buy what her social-climbing mother most desires for her: a title. Desperate to escape her mother's control, Cora urges her friend Teddy Van Der Leyden to marry her, but he chooses to pursue his art. Cora and her mother then head to Europe to find a bachelor, and Cora becomes engaged to the Duke of Wareham. Their opulent New York wedding attracts throngs of gawkers and garners headlines. Back in England, Cora is despised by her powerful mother-in-law. Servants ignore her. Aristocrats delight in her every misstep. Most distressing are the Duke's moodiness and hesitation to reveal his past. The only one loyal to Cora is her maid, Bertha, equally out of place because of her race, class, and nationality. Teddy's fortuitous arrival offers possible escape but no easy answers. Readers likely will recognize the lingering impact of the Duke's past affair before Cora does, but the story is more complex than it first appears. Verdict: Top-notch writing brings to life the world of wealth on both sides of the Atlantic. This debut's strong character development and sense of place will please fans of historical romance, including book club members. —Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato
Library Journal


A shrewd, spirited historical romance with flavors of Edith Wharton, Daphne du Maurier, Jane Austen, Upstairs, Downstairs and a dash of People magazine that charts a bumpy marriage of New World money and Old World tradition.... Superior entertainment.
Kirkus Reviews




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