"The American Heiress" Book and Tea Club
Want to thank my group of tea swapers! Loving the tea, and they go great with the book.
I finished reading today. Then I read the duchess’s tattoo…I was cringing in my seat!
Oh! I’m so glad it is good. I always feel badly for the author when a second book or sequel comes out and it is a flop, you know?
Huh, weird…I can’t find it on Amazon or my library. Maybe I have the title a bit wrong?
The Duchess’s tattoo is the title…it is just one more chapter, but is really good! and then it introduces The American Heiress.
Just one chapter? Where did you get it at, threewhales? I looked for it after I finished the Heiress but couldn’t find it or any information on it!
We can also start discussing options for the next book we want to read on this thread too! Let the suggestions flow. . .
My taste in novels runs toward the peculiar, but the next book on my reading list is Yukio Mishima’s Spring Snow: http://www.amazon.com/Spring-Vintage-Classics-Yukio-Mishima/dp/0099282992/
Obviously it would be quite easy to pick out teas for a book set in Japan!
Washington Post “Mishima’s novels exude a monstrous and compulsive weirdness, and seem to take place in a kind of purgatory for the depraved” — Angela Carter
Haha! Sounds interesting. :P I don’t see an ebook version though, which might be a problem.
Meet you all back here for some lively discussion about Cora & Co.!
(I’m not sure if the discussion is set for a specific time, so forgive me if I am early!)
My main question after finishing the book is about the ending: do you believe the Duke’s story about Charlotte? Did he really not sleep with her after he met Cora? Personally, I thought it was a bit too perfect… throughout the whole book I got a vibe that something was still going on between them!
I did believe the Duke. I think that the undercurrent was always around Charlotte. The Duke knew to what lengths she would go to get Cora to break and she almost won, but in the end the truth won out.
I thought it was a little too perfect too, Alphakitty. I tend to be a realist, but I want to believe the Duke so badly!
Hi Alphakitty! I think once it is the 15th, it’s no holding back! Post away, tea drinking book reading friends!
I definitely felt there was a vibe between the two of them, and it felt a bit too neatly wrapped up that the Duke was all, NO! I no like her! I think Goodwin captured the ambivalence Cora was feeling: ‘should I stay or should I go’ very well, though.
Mmm yes, I feel a ramble coming on:
I enjoyed this book. I liked all the historical details but mostly I enjoyed the transformation of Cora. It is risky of a writer to start out with a character whom many may find unsympathetic. It is a far safer choice to make the heroine or hero very instantly lovable and heroic and vulnerable. Cora starts out as someone I felt impatient with: she came across to me as entitled, arrogant.
The way Cora changed, felt uncertain, grew stronger and grew up over the course of the novel was so interesting to read and it felt real, like a true gradual growth of spirit.
There are details I know I’ll want to talk more about, but I’ll skip ahead and admit that I felt the ending was a bit weak, a bit rushed. Just in terms of the plot and the duke’s character.
Ummm think that’s about it for now. I’ve been sipping as I wrote, my assam blend from D’arvilles of Windsor. I had it without milk, just a bit of honey. It has that bright, sunshiney taste that I associate with nice black teas that are unflavored. Another blend by the same company I enjoyed whilst reading was a gingerly lemon infusion.
I’ll try and pop by here again later on and see if anyone else has felt like writing about their impressions of this book… if not I’ll definitely check back this weekend.
Bye for now!
Serenity, I find it interesting you brought up it being a risky choice for the author to start out with a character whom may be found unsympathetic because I was feeling the same way at first. I agree Cora came across entitled and arrogant, but you have to look at her mother. I read the back of the book and that’s what gave me hope for Cora and I decided to read on…it has to get better from here.
Sadly, I stated really enjoying this book after the mother’s accident because I felt like this was a symbolism for change.
I agree that the fire was a catalyst for a change. Cora started out self centered, she ended up a more well rounded woman who fought for love and won.
I liked Cora more later on in the book but she never became a character I really loved. I kept wishing she would be less naive with all the drama and interplay with being manipulated/tricked and being disrespected… But I liked that she just kept trying her best, she didn’t become an unlikeable character herself.
I found myself really disliking Cora for the first 1/3rd of the book, especially in her scenes with Bertha. But as the book went on you got to see more and more layers to her. By the end I really was rooting for her (though I’ll admit I wanted her to run off with Teddy rather than stay with the Duke haha)
I completely hated Cora and her mother and everything about the book when I first started. I also disliked the writing style – the author was just telling us things instead of showing it through the text. Also, I felt that it was pretty obvious when we met the Duke that he was the one having sex in the woods when Cora fell.
But, strangely, I got over all the irritations and started to enjoy the book. I sympathized with Cora. She actually DID love the Duke – she wasn’t just after a title. And she was trying to do the right thing even though everyone treated her horridly. I’m not sure if the writing got better, I just ignored it, or if it was just in my head, but it didn’t bother me after I made it halfway through and just cared about Cora.
I started to watch Downton Abbey last week and I appreciate it even more now that I’ve had this book to sort of introduce me to this type of world, so that was a bonus as well!
I think at the end I was rooting for her to stay AND to go, so it all worked out. Poor Teddy, but he had his chance.
(Sorry if that first part sounds incredibly snobby! The book did grow on me, but maybe it just wasn’t my thing? IDK. I’m happy you guys had an easier time with it).
I didn’t love Cora at the beginning, either, but I feel like it is a pretty accurate portrayal of how wealthy young grows actually were in that time period. It did bother me that her mother was so cruel to Cora, she actually turned away from her when Cora went to her asking to be able to come home and visit after her fight with the Duke. I thought that was really sad, and I just totally couldn’t relate to that.
Yeah, that was so sad! As a mom…I could never imagine turing away from my daughter, no matter what age she was!
For me I’d like to talk about the beginning of the book. I looked into the back of the book where there were some reader questions, and the first one asked is, what were your first impressions of Cora? My first impression of Cora was, “What a self-centered girl” and “She’s going to end up just like her mother!” I find it interesting watching how Cora changes the minute she leaves her mother and America. You can tell from the beginning Cora cannot stand her mother or what she puts her through, but there are parts of her that think maybe what she is doing is going to help me out one day. However, she really doesn’t think like this until after her mother’s accident when she feels she is some how to blam.
I liked her more at the beginning – planning to marry Teddy without asking for permission, asking for kissing lessons, rebelling against her mother – she seemed such a vibrant character. In the end she feels bland – so easily persuaded that this time is the time that Ivo really cares for her and he will not grow cold and distant again. What is so different about this time?
TeaRunner, this is the part where I really started liking the characters and the book. At this point I thought it was going to turn into a Romeo and Juliet type of tale. I agree, she was quite rebelling, but most girls are I believe. I thought her trying to get with Teddy or fight for his love through the book and end up being together would have made for a great love story.
I thought Cora was pretty self centered at the beginning, and that impression of her really didn’t change at all throughout the book for me. Even at the ending, she was completely oblivious of Bertha’s troubles (she didn’t even know her mother had died!) and that just made me really sad. I think that Cora should’ve been nicer to really the only friend that she had from home in her new life, especially since Bertha felt such loyalty towards Cora.
It was such a missed opportunity for true caring and support. I thought Goodwin did a good job of portraying that delicate, troubling connection. (Re: Cora and Bertha. Contrast with Lady Mary & her maid Anna in Downton Abbey, right? What? I need a 12 step program for Downton Abbey? Really? lol)
I totally agree about the ending – so unexpected, it felt forced. In fact I was thinking along the lines “what a creep” and then all became lovey-dovey all of a sudden? Within two pages? But I am biased – I am generally against happy endings (in literature that is, don’t mind them in real life so much…)
Haha, I always like happy endings :) but I was disappointed as well, I expected more from the ending after investing the time in the story.
I like happy endings too, but realistic ones. The whole time the story kept building up, I was thinking, how in the world can this end happily? Thankfully it did, but just a little too perfectly for me.