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The American Heiress  By  cover art

The American Heiress

By: Daisy Goodwin
Narrated by: Katherine Kellgren
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Publisher's Summary

"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 Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals.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 

Please note: An alternate (British) title for this novel is My Last Duchess.

©2010 Daisy Goodwin Productions (P)2011 Macmillan Audio

What listeners say about The American Heiress

Average Customer Ratings
Overall
  • 4 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    929
  • 4 Stars
    684
  • 3 Stars
    422
  • 2 Stars
    105
  • 1 Stars
    79
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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    1,083
  • 4 Stars
    513
  • 3 Stars
    228
  • 2 Stars
    57
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    38
Story
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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    758
  • 4 Stars
    577
  • 3 Stars
    389
  • 2 Stars
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  • 1 Stars
    73

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book!

Books like this come along only once in a very rare while. I loved it! If you're a fan of Jane Austen or Edith Wharton, you'll enjoy it immensely. I judge a book by how badly I want to get back to it and keep listening, and I finished this one in two days. The characters are well-developed, and the narrative beautifully written. The descriptions of the wealth and opulence of the gilded age were breathtaking -- as a female, I really enjoyed the detail about the clothing and manners and protocol. I found myself smiling so many times at the author's use of words, or the impeccable way her characters speak. As one who loves words, I found myself really appreciating how well the use of them flowed perfectly with the desired effect of grandeur and eloquence. Although unlike some gilded age novels, the flowery, descriptive language only added to the plot of the book rather than distracting from it. I fell in love with Cora, as well as all of the other characters -- even the ones I secretly didn't like. And the ending was perfect! The narrator was also magnificent as well. Some narrators really have a hard time pulling off the English accent/American accent mix between the characters, but Kellgren does it perfectly. I loved the way each of her characters sounded, and it only added to the complexity of this book. I thought overall it was fantastic and would highly recommend it!

72 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Author???s first novel is a success

I was delighted to listen to a romance novel that was written intelligently, witty and romantic. This story was not burdened with graphic sex or cheesy unrealistic scenes. Ms Goodwin is a wonderful story teller. The Narrator did a great job and only added to the experience.

66 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

Well narrated. Gets better towards the end.

I'm a fan of historical fiction. This book didn't deliver much on history, but opened my eyes to the aristocrats, but not in a flattering way . The narrator does a great job, with both the female and male characters. But, I found myself rolling my eyes at the droll English accents-- wondering to myself "do the Duchesses really talk like this?" How would I know? I've never met one. The book droned on a bit, I felt. I found myself growing weary of the characters-- until, at last, the plot began to thicken. Not the best book I've ever listened to, but the narrator kept me wanting to stick to the end.

25 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Tiresome

I couldn't wait for this story to be FINISHED. I kept hoping for something to happen ... that all of the drama we'd been through with Cora and Bertha would culminate into something meaningful. Or, at the very least, thought-provoking. The story has so much potential in a Jane Eyre/Rebecca-like "what is the mysterious and meaningful reason for the husband to behave like a jerk to his wife for 85% of the book?" plot. I wanted to throw my phone across the room when we finally got the confession. Plus, it was very difficult to listen to the narrator's condescendingly aristocratic tone for 13+ hours. I understand why it was narrated in that fashion, but it didn't make it any easier to listen to.

16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Good narration, decent story....fairly predictable

Im not sure i'd spend my money on this if I had a 2nd chance. Not because it wasnt well narrated or well written - both of which it was - HOWEVER, the storyline was So predictable I found myself skipping forward. In summary, a decent book to fall to sleep with. Its wealthy heiress meets dwindling fortuned lord - Downton Abbey mixed with Withering Heights. Decent but needs a new Twist.

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Mildly Distracting

The writing is insipid. The narration sounds contrived. Skip it. (Unless you like that sort of thing.)

11 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Could have been better

Is there anything you would change about this book?

I wanted more of the story, more character development. She didn't go very deep into any of them really, story was a bit predictable.

How would you have changed the story to make it more enjoyable?

Not sure, I wanted to know more about the characters. It was an interesting perspective of the time, also the excess of wealthy Americans during this time and the struggle of the British aristocracy.

What about Katherine Kellgren’s performance did you like?

She did great transitions from American to English accents, something that usually slips in books like this.

Was The American Heiress worth the listening time?

It was an interesting story of the time period, always makes me glad to be a woman now, not then!

Any additional comments?

Would read more from this author.

10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    1 out of 5 stars

The American (Girl Doll) Heiress

This book wasn???t for you, but who do you think might enjoy it more?

Romance readers

What do you think your next listen will be?

Something more by D.L. Stevenson or "Rules of Civility" by Towles

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Katherine Kellgren?

Nora Desmond

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The American Heiress?

No comment

Any additional comments?

In the interests of full disclosure, I must confess to having listened to a mere 48 minutes of this novel before dropping everything to log into Audible and write a review. Maybe it was the book's cover photo that triggered a pleasant connection to Amor Towles's "Rules of Civility." Maybe it was my ravenous appetite for books set in early twentieth century Britain. Maybe it was the beautiful, soft, spring weather that made me open to a book with some romance. Whatever it was, it was a mistake. "The American Heiress" truly could be YA fiction or the book accompanying a new American Girl Doll, "Heiress Daisy." This novel features two dimensional characters and predictable construct. Nothing grabbed me, challenged me or made me care about anything in this book. I take that back, I am left with some melancholy over a dozen dead hummingbirds that did not survive being painted gold for the crass American dinner party.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

As my friend Merle would say, "Meh."

Yeah, this was only okay. I do wonder how it got mentioned in two different NYTimes stories, one a wrap up of the best summer reading and one a fullblown, and well-received review. It isn't bad, it just isn't that good. Nothing new here - girl and guy meet cute, get married and UGH threat to marriage, which is SPOILER ALERT - overcome. And someone please tell narrators - especially American ones - not to "act," but just read. This one has her duchess voice, and her prince voice and her so on, and they end up just sounding like caricatures and not real people.

9 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Might be worst.book.ever

Good narrator, awful plot and it all suddenly comes together at the end like she didn't know how to end it. I think this was under the romance section and it shouldn't be, just should be fiction. Not a lot of romance or likability to any one character in this book, and a leading man with the name of IVO really?!??!

8 people found this helpful