Monday, August 8, 2011

Blog Tour Review + Giveaway: The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

From the Back Cover:

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 Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals.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.

My Thoughts:

Cora Cash is the darling of New York high society. As the wealthiest heiress in America, she lives a life of opulent privilege, surrounded by wealthy friends and suitors. Her mother has groomed her to be the perfect woman, destined to make the perfect marriage. But Cora can't help but feel that everyone she meets only sees her money, and doesn't even look for the girl underneath. When her mother decides Cora will go to England in search of a titled husband, Cora has no choice but to obey, and even secretly hopes that once there, taken out of the spotlight of New York society, someone may even want her for her, and not for her fortune.

Even with all of her mother's well-laid plans, Cora quite accidentally bumps into Ivo, the Duke of Wareham, one of the most eligible bachelors in England. She is drawn to this dark and brooding duke, who is mourning the deaths of his father and brother, living in solitude in his crumbling castle. Ivo has closely guarded secrets, but every once in a while Cora catches a glimpse of the man she thinks he is underneath it all, and she wants to make him happy. She wants to share her light with him, lift him up, change his fortunes. She has love in her heart and the best of intentions when she marries Ivo. But you know what they say about good intentions...

I loved Cora and I was rooting for her all the way. She's bright, smart, witty, carefree, full of spirit and zest for life--but all of those qualities that made her so popular in America work against her in the stuffy, rigid, and sedated English upper society. She's so young and naive, and though she is generous and kind-hearted, everything she does is scrutinized and misunderstood--she comes from such a different world, and in the world she now calls home, she is judged and resented simply for being who she is. She's chosen a very tough path and her marriage is a train wreck waiting to happen, and even though you know what's coming, you can't stop reading!

This book is lush and gorgeous with period detail. Goodwin does a fabulous job of capturing the essence of America's Gilded Age and contrasting it with its English counterpart. And I really liked the way Goodwin interspersed the story with little snippets from the points of view of some of the regular, everyday people who crossed paths with the Cashes and the Warehams. It really helped define the distance between the haves and the have nots while at the same time illuminating that the one could not exist without the other, adding to the authenticity of the story, and bringing together both the grit and the glamour of the Gilded Age.

The ending really surprised me. It was not at all what I was expecting, and at first I wasn't sure how I felt about it. This is one of those books that had me thinking about it for a long time after I finished it-- replaying scenes in my head and examining different angles. And I decided that I really liked it and that it affected me more than I thought it would. While I was reading I was reminded of Karleen Koen's Through A Glass Darkly, which is one of my favorite books. The American Heiress lacks some of the intimacy and gut-wrenching emotion of TAGD, but the story follows similar lines, and weighs heavily on the differing shades of human nature and the whims of the human heart, which always makes for compelling reading. Highly recommended for fans of emotionally-charged, romantic historical fiction.

My Rating:  4 Stars out of 5

The American Heiress: A NovelWant to win your own copy?
I've got one up for grabs!

Simply leave a comment with your email address by 11:59pm on August 15th. Open to residents of the US and Canada. Winner will be drawn at random. Thanks, and good luck!

This giveaway is closed and the winner has been selected!
But keep your eye out for more great giveaways coming soon!


  1. This one does look good! Great review Jenny!! Count me in on the giveaway!

    Kelsey O.
    kopsahl48 AT gmail DOT com

  2. I love books that stay in my mind like that. Please enter me! kathy(at)

  3. I have been wanting to read this for a while. Thanks for the chance to win it!

  4. Oh, sounds great! Thanks for the giveaway.

  5. Hi Jenny,

    I loved the cover art of this book, however I was a little undecided whether I really wanted to read it or not.

    When you drew the comparison with 'Through A Glass Darkly' though, that persuaded me positively, as I also loved that book, although it was some time ago that I read it.

    Thanks for the recommendation.


  6. This book sounds great! Thanks for the review.

  7. I'm adding this one to my reading list.
    Theresa N

  8. I am so very interested in this one after reaidng another review :D And now this one too

  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

  10. sorry - forgot my email address
    Thanks for the review and the giveaway. I like books that stick around after I finish them and make me think about things differently
    d.septer at

  11. I've been wanting to read this one! Thanks for the chance! wilsondev(At)Gmail(dot)com

  12. love the cover of this book sounds so good! love the review!

  13. i love the summary of this. I can't waitt o get my hands on it!


  14. This does sound like an excellent book. My email address is kmartin802 AT gmail DOT com. Thanks.

  15. This book sounds so interesting! Thanks for having the giveaway.

  16. this book sounds awesome! clc214(AT)pitt(DOT)edu

  17. I had the opportunity to listen to this one on audiobook from my library and really enjoyed this read. I have to agree with you the ending had me really considering how I felt about it. But I did end with thinking it was a good ending. And the cover is GORGEOUS! Please enter me for this giveaway!


  18. I've had this book on my to-read list since I first heard of it! My e-mail address is

  19. I would love to read this book. Thanks!

  20. Sounds like a great read! Thank you!

  21. Wow, gotta have this. It sounds so awesome!
    Thanks for the giveaway!
    I'm a follower on GFC-Lisa Richards

    alterlisa AT yahoo DOT com

  22. Would love to win.

  23. Sounds like a great read! Please enter me.
    laura at laurafabiani dot com


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