Still reeling from Downton Abbey withdrawal, I enjoyed watching PBS’s Victoria this past winter. Though based on a true story, there was enough romance and intrigue to keep me interested in a way that I wouldn’t have had it been a documentary. And as I watched the credits after the first episode, I saw that the series was based on a novel written by Daisy Goodwin. And I remembered that while I didn’t have that novel, I did own – and had owned for four or five years – another novel by that author called The American Heiress, a novel I had never gotten around to reading.
The American Heiress is the story of young Cora Cash, a New York socialite living in the late 1800s whose father was rich as triple chocolate fudge and who ran with the likes of the Vanderbilts and the Rockefellers. However, not being old money like the Astors, Cora’s mother thought the way to bring the family name up to that caliber was by having her beautiful daughter marry a British royal. A trip to England ensures that happens.
Cora’s wedding to Ivo, Duke of Warham, appears to be a perfect match. She gets a title and he gets all of that money to keep his dukedom running. And he’s so darn cute and she’s so darn pretty. But marriage to a royal when you are not only NOT nobility but not even British brings its own set of problems. And why is Ivo so quiet and withdrawn? Drama and intrigue abound. But also romance and the glorious upstairs/downstairs relationships we came to love with Downton Abbey.
The American Heiress is Goodwin’s first novel, and I found it to be captivating and interesting. The author sets the stage so clearly that I could practically smell the dust on the chandeliers. I was sorry it took me so long to finally read this book, and I will read Victoria next (even though I know FOR SURE how that one ends).