Author: Daisy Goodwin
It’s the late 19th century, in a time when corsets are tight and money makes the world go round. There are bookshelves full of English ladies and gentlemen of the past, but this book features rich American heiresses who travel the globe to marry English aristocrats giving it a fresh look at the era.
The story is about Cora Cash, the richest girl in America and practically a princess, only one thing is missing and that is the title. Her mother, the outrageously powerful and determined Mrs Cash is on a mission to secure her only child with a name, and when Cora is accidentally swept up with Ivo – the Duke of Wareham her mother is delighted.
Ivo is in need of money and his castle is rundown, it seems to be a union of love but there are advantages for both sides as Cora desperately wants to escape her mother’s firm rule.
Cora falls in love with Ivo and with only a short courtship the pair are married, and the lovable and vivacious Cora is transformed into the Duchess of Wareham and settles into an English lifestyle.
Life isn’t as rosy for Cora as she imagined, life is colder in England and the customs quite different to what she is used to. Ivo is an unusual character, throughout the entire novel you aren’t sure whether you should love him or hate him and it is only at the end that you come to a conclusion.
There are secrets and lies, and it seems even duchesses have difficult mother in laws to contend with. I felt like the author Daisy Goodwin could have almost been there, her writing is tasteful and discreet and the scenes between Ivo and Cora are passionate but not overtly erotic.
You see the story mainly through Cora’s eyes, but at times it focuses on the other characters including her maid, Bertha, which gives you good perspective on events.
One of my favourite books of all time is Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice (and Colin Firth as Mr Darcy of course…) so when I say I adored My Last Duchess I don’t say it lightly.