The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

Sep 8, 2011

A story of love, class and the “American Way” in Gilded Age England, this is definitely several cuts above the traditional historical romance.   Aptly named Cora Cash is the richest debutante in America in 1893, and her mother will stop at nothing to marry her into British nobility.  Cora, very spoiled and accustomed to her own way, meets Ivo, the Duke of Wareham, and falls very much in love with him.  Ivo is currency poor but heritage wealthy, and Cora’s money will go a long way to restoring Lulworth, the family castle.  A subplot involves Cora’s African American maid, Bertha, who accompanies her to England and also forms a romantic attachment.  This adds another layer of class distinction and, in the American scenes, racial undertones.  This well-researched book provides details of the complexities of an American woman fitting into established British society that is very reluctant to welcome upstarts.  Some of the more outrageous episodes are pulled directly from historical events.  This book will appeal, primarily to women, especially those anglophiles who can’t get enough details about life in Britain.

Reviewed by Library Staff