"Anyone suffering Downton Abbey withdrawal symptoms (who isn't?) will find an instant tonic in Daisy Goodwin's The American Heiress. The story of Cora Cash, an American heiress in the 1890s who bags an English duke, this is a deliciously evocative first novel that lingers in the mind." (Allison Pearson, New York Times best-selling author of I Don't Know How She Does It and I Think I Love You)
This program includes a bonus chapter of Victoria, the latest novel from author Daisy Goodwin, the creator and writer of the new PBS/Masterpiece drama of the same name.
Be careful what you wish for.
Traveling abroad with her mother at the turn of the 20th 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 Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals.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.
"For daughters of the new American billionaires of the 19th century, it was the ultimate deal: marriage to a cash-strapped British Aristocrat in return for a title and social status. But money didn't always buy them happiness." (Daisy Goodwin in The Daily Mail)
One of Library Journal's Best Historical Fiction Books of 2011
Life can go in many different directions based on a few simple events. When Cora Cash, a rich American girl seeking a title at the turn of the Century, fell off her horse in a wooded area of the English countryside, fate would have it that an unmarried handsome duke should find her in her hour of distress. The American Heiress, a debut novel from Daisy Goodwin, tells Cora's story of marrying into British royalty and all the politics, scandals, and societal expectations that follow. Katherine Kellgren narrates, giving voice to Cora and a myriad of supporting characters from varying backgrounds, from Americans to Europeans and aristocrats to servants.
As if acclimating herself to a foreign country wasn't difficult enough, upon marrying Ivo, the Duke of Wareham, Cora quickly learns that becoming a duchess has come with a whole new set of stringent rules and expectations from her peers. Kellgren embodies Cora's naiveté and headstrong personality in her narration, expressing frustration in her voice in a gradual crescendo as Cora struggles to find her place among the oppressive British aristocracy. It seems that everyone from the duke's mother, a woman with a sharp tongue and a proclivity for traditions (many that Cora is not familiar with), to the Lord and Lady Beauchamp, the richest and most fashionable couple in the county, has an opinion on how Cora should behave in the upper class, noble arena. Cora dances around these societal expectations with uneasy footing, which only becomes more complicated as she begins to uncover certain nefarious details of her new husband's past.
Goodwin decorates The American Heiress with ornate period details that transport the listener to the English countryside at the turn of the century. Kellgren embraces the significance of time and place in this story, flourishing in the intricate descriptions of Cora's lavish surroundings. There's so much to enjoy about a story that allows you to lose yourself in a foreign setting, to travel with a character to the unknown. Following Cora to England is an alluring introduction to the intriguing world of classic British royalty. Suzanne Day
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