As I shelved a DVD of the PBS miniseries, "Downton Abbey," I wished for the second season to finally air!
And then I saw her: a gorgeous young woman in a white ball gown, standing under a magnificent chandelier, silhouetted by a huge window. I immediately picked up the book, "American Heiress," by Daisy Goodwin and was surprised to see a comment on the back cover: this was the perfect book for anyone going through "Downton Abbey" withdrawal! I was hooked by the cover and entranced by the story.
It's the 1890s and Miss Cora Cash, heiress to a flour fortune, is coming out to Newport's snobby summer society as the season's most sought after bride-to-be. Her mother, formidable Mrs. Cash, has other plans; her heart set on nothing less than a European title for Cora. Within days of her arrival in England, independent Cora takes her horse for a ride and accidently winds up in the care of the Duke of Wareham, the most eligible bachelor in England. It's the match Mrs. Cash has dreamed for her daughter, and the Duke sorely needs funds to fix his estate. Cora is thrust amongst a cast of characters, including the Duke's mother, the Double Duchess, and his childhood friend, Lady Charlotte, both of whom may be friend or foe. From the tedious entertaining of Prince Albert to the introduction to a seductive painter, Cora must navigate the swirling waters of British aristocracy, filled with secrets, betrayals and disapproving glances at Cora's nouveau riche American ideas. Throughout, spirited Cora is attended by her loyal and protective maid, Bertha. I was so intrigued, I find myself hoping for a sequel to this story, too.
Recommended by Frazier Walker