7/3/12 – As her debut novel, Goodwin’s The American Heiress sports a proclamation across its front cover that states Allison Pearson’s opinion of, “Anyone suffering Downton Abbey withdrawal symptoms will find an instant tonic in Daisy Goodwin’s deliciously evocative novel.” I can already sort of associate the main character Cora with Mary Crawley, insomuch as her opinion of her own personal importance. Miss Cora Cash is, by far, the richest and soon to be the most eligible young woman in Newport. She is also a girl of strong opinion as to what she wants, due to never being able to have it due to her mother’s even stronger opinion as to what is best for her daughter and only child.
Tonight, Mrs. Cash is throwing a party to which she has invited 800 people. It is Cora’s coming out ball, to announce her daughter marriageability to all of Newport and, of course, the world, as she plans on sweeping the young woman off to Europe soon after. Cora has everything a young woman could want: beauty, wealth, influence. Practically a perfect princess in every way, except one. The actual “princess” part. Cora’s plans are much different from her mothers but, as usual with young people in these predicaments, those plans go awry and the parents’ longer-running ones win out at least partially. After a tragic end to her coming-out ball, Cora is indeed swept off to England by her mother to be presented to the upper crust of British aristocracy.
Of course, nothing could possibly go wrong with that. Could it?