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The American Heiress: A Novel Audiobook, by Daisy Goodwin Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Caleb Scharf, Daisy Goodwin Narrator: Caleb Scharf, Katherine Kellgren Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: June 2011 ISBN: 9781427212306
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (9,416 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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"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 bestselling 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 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 Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals.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.

"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

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Quotes & Awards

  • Sparkling and thoroughly engaging…a delight. Filled with vitality and peopled by a vigorous supporting cast of characters…the story of a poor little rich girl learning the hard way… makes for a highly enjoyable and intelligent read. London Sunday Times

  • I was seduced by this book, rather as Cora was seduced by her duke: with great skill and confidence. Intriguing, atmospheric, and extremely stylish, I was still thinking about it long after I had reached the end. Penny Vincenzi, author of THE BEST OF TIMES
  • Deliciously classy. A story that gallops along, full of exquisite period detail. Kate Mosse, author of LABYRINTH and SEPULCHRE
  • This lush look at Edwardian excess and scandal on both sides of the a propulsive story of love, manners, culture clash, and store-bought class from a time long past that proves altogether fresh. Publishers Weekly
  • Top-notch writing brings to life the world of wealth on both sides of the Atlantic. This debut's strong character development and sense of place will please fans of historical romance, including book club members. Library Journal (starred review)
  • A shrewd, spirited historical romance with flavors of Edith Wharton, Daphne du Maurier, Jane Austen, Upstairs, Downstairs and a dash of People magazine that charts a bumpy marriage of New World money and Old World tradition.... Goodwin's debut, a knowing, judicious blend of Gilded Age extravagance, below-stairs perspective,...and sophisticated social tableaux, offers reader satisfaction....Superior entertainment. Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
  • The detailing is beautiful, the great phalanx of historical characters amusing, and the relief of reading a novel that puts enjoyment first so rare and gratifying that I am ready for a sequel. Amanda Foreman, author of GEORGIANA, DUCHESS OF DEVONSHIRE, winner of the Whitbread Prize for Biography
  • From the first plummy tones of Katherine Kellgren's voice, you know you're in for a guilty pleasure…This is ‘Upstairs/Downstairs,' ‘The Age of Innocence' and ‘Downton Abbey' rolled into one. The Winston-Salem Journal
  • The characters are varied and lively and brought to life skillfully by narrator Katherine Kellgren. Those who read Daphne de Maurier and other authors in the genre will enjoy this title. Recommended. Library Journal
  • I think this was a perfect audiobook for this time of year. Each time I listened, especially when driving in my car in this 98 degree heat, it would carry me away to this other world that Daisy Goodwin created. Bookin' with Bingo
  • Goodwin's attention to period detail and her inclusion of perspectives from many different characters carries the book through 14 hours of listening. Katherine Kellgren assigns distinct voices to every character Publishers Weekly
  • This audio presentation, narrated by Katherine Kellgren, who moves with effortless authenticity from the haughty Mayfair drawl of the Prince of Wales to the self-important, Southern tinged cadences of a rich American society matron, is bound to top the list of super-summer-beach listens. BookPage
  • When I first started buying audiobooks, I always went for ‘bang for the buck' and with 13 hours of listening time to the pleasant voice of Katherine Kellgren, you definitely get your money's worth on this one. 5 Minutes for Books
  • This audiobooks is full of historical detail about the lives of the rich and famous at the turn of the last century, from fashion and food to living spaces and manners. I think I listened to the descriptions of Cora's Parisian-made trousseau about five or six times so that I could picture each sumptuous, amazing gown clearly in my mind. Star-Telegram
  • Ketherine Kellgren, a truly accomplished voice actress, affects a la-di-da intercontinental accent for the narration of this puree of Edith Wharton, ‘Downtown Abbey' and pulp romance. The Washington Post
  • “Dripping with acerbic affectation and perfect British and Newport upper-crust accents, Katherine Kellgren deliciously portrays wealthy, beautiful, naïve Cora Cash…This story is filled with a full cast of unlikeable characters…Kellgren delivers each perfectly and convincingly conveys the worst that lack of character has to offer on both sides of the pond. AudioFile Magazine

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherry | 2/13/2014

    " Love this book, its clean and it also reminded me of the First Romance writer I ever read Barbara Cartland!! It was fun imagining living in the Guilded Age and Having 90 dresses ordered to wear to all the Balls of the Season in London!! :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Susann | 1/26/2014

    " I love stories about this period. Since watching downton abbey I have a more vivid picture as I read the story. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Allison | 1/22/2014

    " Reminded me of Downton Abby! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Jennifer | 1/17/2014

    " Downton Abbey it is not. It lacked DA's wit and suspense. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Charlotte | 1/13/2014

    " Too long. Too slow. Flawed characters. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Carol | 1/11/2014

    " I really enjoyed this novel based on similar marriages between rich Americans and titled Englishmen at the turn of the 20th century. They were a part of the "arranged" marriages which have taken place in many cultures. I liked the historical aspect of the surroundings and sympathized with the characters. It was a nice read during this snowy week! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 | 1/7/2014

    " Fun little book if you like Downtown Abbey - it's ridiculously shallow - but fun. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bethany | 1/5/2014

    " I'm not sure how I feel about this book. I read it very quickly and it kept my attention. I thought it fizzled at the end. There was lots of buildup and then it just kind of ended. Still, it was worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Leslienorvell | 1/2/2014

    " At first, I thought I accidentally bought a housewife romance novel because one of the first scenes is 2 girls kissing. But thankfully, there's more to the story. The storyline is well constructed, and the characters are very memorable. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Tavia | 12/5/2013

    " Maybe a 2.5. I like novels set during this time period, but this book was a bit dull for me. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Diane | 11/19/2013

    " It was an okay book to pass the time, not a must read. The story started out strong and then lost steam midway through. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Maureen | 11/17/2013

    " Grabbed in an airport bookstore, so ended up reading it over a vacation. Otherwise I would have returned it...! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Gracey | 11/9/2013

    " Enjoyed it, slow beginning...I liked the different viewpoints presented.... "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Steve | 9/14/2013

    " I really enjoyed reading this book. I found the scenario of a wealthy American heiress finding an English duke to be quite interesting. It was a very quick read and I was very anxious to see when Cora had her awakening. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Sdscattergood | 6/28/2013

    " A slightly better than average period romance, with some additional insights from the main character's African American maid. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Bonne | 3/11/2013

    " An interesting story that captures the imagination and satifies the American passion for royality. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Afsleight | 2/16/2013

    " Love it! Read it if you like Downton. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Marianne | 1/2/2013

    " If you're a fan of Downtown Abbey, you'll love this book. It was a great, fast read. I couldn't put it down. Thoroughly enjoyed it! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carolyn | 11/19/2012

    " I chose to read this book after visiting Newport RI with my daughter Cherie. It was an easy read and there was a little romance, mystery, and historical fiction involved. I thought it was a great book and loved the ending. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gretchen | 10/30/2012

    " Sometimes one just needs a story. Something that doesn't require much thinking just needs to hold your interest. This was it for me. It was a quick read and a great way for me to spend the final few days of vacation. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mdh1717 | 9/18/2012

    " Light & fluffy but well written. I really enjoyed the glimpse into history. I also liked that it wasn't completely predictable. It was a fun book to read. I recommend it as a good beach read. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Ronda | 7/2/2012

    " The plot was predictable and the characters were shallow. I gave it two stars for the writing. Disappointed in the novel. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Marci | 4/14/2012

    " Easy and mindless read. Good beach book but no deep thoughts here! :) "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Julie | 11/18/2011

    " Not the greatest book in the world, but a good escape and filler until Downton season four hits. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Erika | 9/12/2011

    " This book was the perfect cure to my Downton Abbey withdrawal. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Karen | 9/1/2011

    " Well written, well crafted characters, but to enjoy fully you'll have to accept the unanswered questions at the end. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Esther | 6/28/2011

    " Bought this mistakenly thinking it was based on a real historical person, but its not. But I still enjoyed it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Cathie | 6/27/2011

    " I realy wanted to like this book. I love period pieces. But I found the plot unimaginative and the persons shallow and weak. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Cfreeman | 6/27/2011

    " I loved this book so much. I hope Ms. Goodwin writes another book real soon! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kelli | 6/24/2011

    " I LOVED this book. I was fascinated with the characters & wanted to see what was going to happen, so for me it was a page-turned. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Jennifer | 6/7/2011

    " This book I found absolutely excellent & thoroughly enjoyed it & would recommend it
    Thanks to the specsavers book club for recommending it . "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 6/3/2011

    " I'm on a period novel kick. This is the best one so far! "

About the Author

Daisy Goodwin is a television producer, presenter, and author. She has edited numerous poetry anthologies, including the bestselling 101 Poems That Could Save Your Life, and is the author of Silver River, a memoir. She was chair of the judging panel of the 2010 Orange Prize for Fiction. Her first novel, My Last Duchess, was translated into thirteen languages.

About the Narrators

Caleb Scharf is the director of the Columbia Astrobiology Center. He writes the Life, Unbounded blog for Scientific American; has written for New Scientist, Science, and Nature, among other publications; and has served as a consultant for the Discovery Channel, the Science Channel, the New York Times, and more. He has served as a keynote speaker for the American Museum of Natural History and the Rubin Museum of Art, and is the author of Extrasolar Planets and Astrobiology, winner of the 2011 Chambliss Astronomical Writing Award from the American Astronomical Society. He lives in New York City with his wife and two daughters.

Katherine Kellgren (1969–2018), narrator and actress, appeared onstage in London, New York, and Frankfurt, including in the role of Laura in a regional production of The Glass Menagerie and appearances on Comedy Central. In recognition of her mastery of audiobook narration, she received many honors, including the prestigious Audie Awards, with four for best female narrator; the Odyssey Award; Publishers Weekly Listen Up Award; dozens of AudioFile magazine Earphones Awards; an AudioFile Golden Voice Award; Booklist Voice of Choice award; and acclaim from press and listener reviews.