Tuesday, May 17, 2016
The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin
If you like Downton Abbey this could be a good book for you. This is the story of Cora Cash, the richest young woman in America in the 1890's. Her mother wants Cora to make a great "match" and arranges a trip to England for Cora to meet eligible bachelors with titles. Cora quickly finds herself married to Duke Ivo Maltravers, with her own new title of Duchess of Wareham. She is thrown into her new role with very little preparation, very little knowledge of her new husband and very little understanding of her new culture. Cora finds herself always on the outside, wondering if what she is doing is the right thing. It usually isn't.
At the same time, her lady's maid, Bertha, a black woman, is trying to find her way as well. She also often finds herself on the outside because of her role as a servant as well as for her skin colour.
This was a light, quick, fun read. It's not going to win awards, but it's an enjoyable read. None of the characters are especially loveable, but you do find yourself cheering for Cora even while finding her to be a spoiled brat. Fans of Downton Abbey will see some parallels (rich American woman marrying a Brit and using her wealth to save his estate, the upstairs/downstairs element, character names like Cora and Sybil) and will probably enjoy it.