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Toobin has used the same winning formula of delving deeply into an American crime story that had tremendous notoriety in its day and retelling it with new resonance. As always with great writing, it comes down to a strong, distinctive narrative voice spiced with the judicious use of juicy details. Read An Excerpt.

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The American Heiress | Daisy Goodwin | Macmillan

Download Hi Res. LitFlash The eBooks you want at the lowest prices. Nothing is quite as it seems, however: Ivo is withdrawn and secretive, and the English social scene is full of traps and betrayals.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.

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But money didn't always buy them happiness. It's a battle of the New and Old Worlds, and for much of this lush look at Edwardian excess and scandal on both sides of the Atlantic, it's tough taking sides. American Cora Cash is the impetuous and spoiled-brat daughter of a flour-making millionaire and a nouveau rich mother from hell, growing up in mansions on Fifth Avenue and Newport at the tail end of the 19th century and introduced to society at a ball where gold-sprayed hummingbirds are released at midnight.

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But Cora's mother has her one good eye the other was mangled in a bizarre wardrobe malfunction on just one prize for her only daughter: a title. Cora, only too happy to free herself from her overbearing mother, happily obliges and, once in Jolly Ol' England, literally falls in front of, and in love with, the handsome and mysterious ninth duke of Wareham.

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But plopped into a chilly English castle and laughed at for her American ways by high- and low-brow alike, Cora discovers she's merely traded prisons and has to use some Yankee resilience and resourcefulness to unravel her stubbornly aloof husband's dark secrets, win his heart, and earn her place.

Television producer Goodwin's debut is a propulsive story of love, manners, culture clash, and store-bought class from a time long past that proves altogether fresh. This was an enjoyable, quick read, especially for fans of Downton Abbey.