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on 3 May 2013
It was hard to read the beginning of the book - I did not care for Cora at all, not one jot.

I thought she was very VERY selfish.

But by the end of the book I found that I had started to care for her. I don't know when this started, because the character of Cora in the opening chapters was quite vile. But it was good that I had started to care for her - it gave the story more strength and showed that Cora had developed greatly as a character. It made my intense dislike for Charlotte and the Double Duchess stronger.

And Bertha is a great character, especially with Cora. I can't say I cared for her beau at all, but he was a bit of a prick, seemingly after only one thing. It was weird that the smart Bertha would want to be with him, but maybe he was the only one to see through the colour of her skin (or maybe that was the reason for his attraction)
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on 15 June 2017
New American money against old English titles. An interesting historical romance with a young American heiress trying to get to grips with the English aristocracy.
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on 15 February 2014
This is an enjoyable book but it's all in the build up. It fizzles out at the end. Funnily enough, I think Daisy Goodwin has an interesting idea - it's quite clear to the reader what is going on between Cora's eventual husband and another character from the moment before Cora meets him but Cora spends most of the novel oblivious. This will make a great Sunday night BBC drama especially once Downton finishes - an American heiress called Cora saving an entitled family may strike some readers as rather familiar!
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on 19 July 2017
very good read.
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on 28 May 2017
Was a good read
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HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 29 June 2010
Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I must admit that I was excited about getting this book. After all this is being touted as Edith Wharton meets Rebecca, who wouldn't want to read it? How our hopes come plummeting down to earth though when starting it. Edith Wharton and Daphne du Maurier must be spinning in their graves. Thinking of the fantastic Rebecca obviously you think of a mystery thriller with gothic elements. Admittedly the ancestral home of the duke is gothic, but there is really no mystery, and this is definitely no thriller. With regards to the great Edith Wharton this book is about a New World bride marrying into an Old World family. The clashes of such were dealt with by Edith Wharton and Henry James to produce some absolutely great books, this can't compare.

Mrs Cash takes Cora her disgustingly rich heiress daughter to Europe in hopes of marrying her off to titled and well connected aristocracy. The prestige of such a marriage would be of great benefit to Mrs Cash as she is nouveau riche and is looked down on by the top families of New York. Cora bags herself a duke who loves her and everything looks rosy. Cora soon learns though that life amongst the British aristocracy is not easy, and she stumbles through making a few faux pas on the way. What is the duke and everyone else keeping quiet about though, and will Cora find out?

There is some humour here, and the period is presented well enough, but to be honest this is just a romantic novel, there is nothing here but that and so if that kind of thing is not your cup of tea, I would advise you to steer well clear.
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on 1 December 2012
I felt so disappointed with the ending that I'm only giving it 1 star. There was a lot of build up and the end was rather a cop out. The book ended so suddenly and had me wondering for a few minutes whether I had received a misprinted copy that was missing about 100 pages!! There were no consequences or bad karma to the characters that had mistreated Cora which was rather infuriating. More annoyingly, towards the end Cora appeared to become a feeble and spineless shell of her old self - constantly forgiving her almost psychopathic husband every time he mistreated her which is a stark contrast to the feisty and independent Cora that we meet at the beginning of the book.
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on 9 July 2017
I really enjoyed reading this book, very well written with a good plot and storyline
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on 24 August 2011
Life is too short to spend on bad books! I deeply regret the money and time spent on this book. In Sweden we call this "kiosk literature" or dirty-minded-middle-aged-women-book, in the US it's called Harlequin romance. If you want to read about the gilded age, the time when nouveau rich Americans sent their daughters over to England to buy themselves a titled husband, there are better books to go to. Edith Wharton did not finish her "Buccaneers" but how about Frances Hodgson Burnett's "The Shuttle"or why not do like I have done? Order Consuelo Vanderbilt's memoirs and the book about her and her mother Alva! The truth is much more fascinating than this concoction of different stories in to one.

A spunky heiress that can ride a hunter like no other woman and then becomes a spineless jellyfish as soon as she meets her future husband? Love after one day/meeting? "When he was apart from her she would hug herself so as not to let the flesh that had been warmed by him grow cold". What sort of drivel is that? Give me a break! Can I rip my hair out and scream now?
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on 13 August 2012
A highly enjoyable, light and interesting novel that was beautifully captivating and engaging throughout. Daisy Goodwin takes you back in time to nineteenth-century England that is full of elegance and decadence, oozing style and sophistication as you drink in the atmosphere of a time that is realistically brought to life. Historically accurate and well researched one can see clearly how much thought has gone into creating such an original and creative storyline that one could compare to a Henry James novel or Amanda Foreman's account of the Duchess of Devonshire. Following the story of Cora Cash a wealthy heiress from America who is sent to England, one understands the true meaning of love and how social status and money does not buy happiness. Swimming in a great sea of delights from Yachting, Opera, dinners and grand balls Cora has to stay true to herself if she is going to stay afloat and not become seduced by all those temptations that surround her. The classy period detail turns the black and white pages into brilliant color, which touches upon all ones senses as you loose yourself within a most intriguing era and at times mystifying saga where not everyone is quite as they seem. Hidden secrets are revealed, romance and seductions this universal read reaches out to all lovers of fiction and those die-hard romantics who won't be disappointed. Sometimes one has to learn things the hard way in order to come to a better understanding and to fully appreciate those things that surround you, such as those individuals who care the most. Here Cora learns that money, social status, connections and hierarchy within the upper classes are the bases for snobbery, intrigue and dishonesty that can easily fool one who is unaware. When one plays with their own happiness then it can become quite dangerous, hence I sat glued to the edge of my seat as I prayed for a happy ending for my heroine who had been led astray.

Those readers who love historical fiction and romance will really enjoy My Last Duchess that is sophisticated, enthralling and a really poignant read where the author brings the period so spectacularly to life. Character-driven and a plot that is full of suspense, twists and turns you certainly cannot get bored as the momentum is maintained throughout. I look forward to reading more of this author's work in the future, as she is certainly someone to look out for.
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