I have mixed feelings about The American Heiress, the debut novel from Daisy Goodwin. While I really enjoyed the writing, the author can clearly write in the 19th century setting, and most of the characters were well developed and thought-provoking, there were a few lacking elements that kept sneaking up on me. The story is set in the 1890’s and follows an American heiress, Cora Cash, and her journey with love, money, and prestige. Though Cora has fallen for a “normal” man, her mother insists that she can only marry someone with a title. The dreadful Mrs. Cash brings Cora to England in search of the perfect royal candidate. Cora is quickly engaged and married to Ivo, the Duke of Wareham, and quickly finds that perhaps the royal life isn’t what she expected. Her husband becomes withdrawn and secretive, often leaving for extended periods of time, even once Cora finds herself pregnant with his child, her close friends are not to be trusted, and the suspicions of affairs reeks in every home. Cora tries to stay positive, but becomes increasingly aware that money and titles do not equal happiness.
Why did I have mixed feelings? I already mentioned the writing was great, Goodwin is a terrific storyteller, but there were just a few oddities mixed in that would snag my attention. Right from the beginning, Mrs. Cash somehow gets lit on fire and half of her face is scarred. Seems like a big deal, but after Cora wonders if she is dead, the scene is over and I was left wildly confused as to what was going on. There were little scenes like these that were thrown in but didn’t really seem to have a place in the story. I think this might be because there was an overabundance of characters. I kept wondering if some of the smaller characters would make a bigger impact, but it didn’t seem to happen. They could have been cut out and the story could have been shorter and more to the point. There were times where the plot seemed to drag on, but then others where I didn’t want to put it down. The ending did leave me pretty unsettled though, because it seemed Cora was finally going to stand up for herself and there was a big build up around it and then…she settled. And then the story was abruptly over. So you can see my confusion with this book. I was going to give it three stars, but decided to add that half star because of the gorgeous cover, and the fact that were a few sporadic moments where I didn’t want to put the book down. I’m curious to know if others have read The American Heiress and what your thoughts were.
In My Mailbox: Week of July 24, 2011
Author: Cate Lord
Received: From Danielle @ Entagled Publishing
Synopsis: Jessica Devlin isn’t looking for love. Heartbroken after being dumped by her unfaithful ex-fiancé, she’s determined to have a fabulous time during her vacation in England where she’ll be maid-of-honor at her cousin’s wedding. After working overtime as beauty editor of Orlando’s O Tart magazine, avoiding dating, and putting on ten pounds, Jess is ready to toss her past like an empty lipstick tube and party like a single gal.
But when she steps into the church on her cousin’s wedding day, she sees the one man who could sabotage her plan—James-Bond-gorgeous Nick Mondinello. She’s never forgotten the London marketing exec who held her in his arms after her beloved grandfather’s funeral two years ago. Ambitious, and lusted after by women everywhere, Nick is completely wrong for guarded, Plain Jane Jess.
Could Spy Man Nick ever fall for her? Nope. Not unless Jess is one lucky girl.
Author: Daisy Goodwin
Received: From Ann-Marie @ Get Red PR
Synopsis: 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.
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.
Author: Jenna Anderson
Received: From Jenna Anderson
Synopsis: Candice Gunderson and her purebred pooch, Phoebe, are driving through the Indiana countryside on their way to an appointment with a dog breeder. If all goes as planned, the “meeting” with Charles the Conqueror will result in a lovely litter of puppies.
Unfortunately, Candice is hopelessly lost, the GPS in her car has gone haywire, and she needs to find a bathroom in the worst way. The pair pulls up alongside a little house in hopes of finding some helpful inhabitants.
What she finds is Bull Ramsey, a cute farmer, and his mutt, Jack, who is more than happy to have a “meeting” of his own with Phoebe.
Candice is determined to maintain control of the situation and prove she is an independent woman. A few unexpected events and mischievous farm animals won’t interfere with her plans. She can handle this, right?
Author: Jane Lovering
Received: From Choc Lit
Synopsis: Our memories define us – don’t they?
And Skye Threppel lost most of hers in a car crash that stole the lives of her best friend and fiancé. It’s left scars, inside and out, which have destroyed her career and her confidence.
Skye hopes a trip to the wide dusty landscapes of Nevada – and a TV convention offering the chance to meet the actor she idolises – will help her heal. But she bumps into mysterious Sci-fi writer Jack Whitaker first. He’s a handsome contradiction – cool and intense, with a wild past.
Jack has enough problems already. He isn’t looking for a woman with self-esteem issues and a crush on one of his leading actors. Yet he’s drawn to Skye.
An instant rapport soon becomes intense attraction, but Jack fears they can’t have a future if Skye ever finds out about his past …
Will their memories tear them apart, or can they build new ones together?