The American Heiress by Daisy Goodwin

9999107I picked this book up at library’s book sale a couple months ago and promptly forgot about it. I noticed it on my bookshelf and thought I’d read it while I wait for the Sophie Kinsella book to come through inter-library loan.

Being a obsessive fan of Downton Abbey, it was very easy for me to understand the world of American heiresses and the poor peers who need to use their cash on their estates. Set in 1890, Cora Cash is not Cora Levinson and Ivo is most definitely not Robert Crawley, but the world they inhabit is very much the same. Cora Cash starts out as such a naive, spoiled girl that it’s hard to root for her. However, having been an American in the UK not too long ago, I can definitely relate to her frustration at her ignorance of ingrained social protocols and mores in her peer group. And I wasn’t even close to rubbing elbows with anyone with a title, much less the Prince of Wales.

The big “twist” at the climax was pretty obvious from about 100 pages into the book, so it was less than satisfying to see that I was correct. I surprised to see some of the actions taken after that event, but then it all wraps up in a pretty bow way too quickly. Cora doesn’t really have many choices, so it’s not entirely surprising that she chooses what she does, but at the same time, one pretty speech does not ameliorate all of that deception in my 21st century opinion. There’s no such thing as happily ever after, even/especially when you marry into the British aristocracy, but there’s hope and that’s worth something.