My Last Duchess, By Daisy Goodwin

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The Independent Culture

Cora Cash is, as her name suggests, a rich American heiress with the youth and beauty to have her pick of the world's most eligible bachelors. But because this is the turn of the 20th century, when it is all the rage for nouveau American scions to marry impoverished European blue-bloods, Cora's aspirational mother whisks her off to England so that this Anglo-American transaction can take place.

Cora ends up - against all her mother's plans - not playing the game but falling in love. In this lively and intelligent debut novel, Daisy Goodwin takes the eccentricities of a decadent age (when billionaire Americans sought footholds into upper-class European society) and breathes romance into it. The effect is historical novel-cum-Dynasty.