I picked up My Last Duchess looking for a fun, easy read and I wasn't disappointed. It's the kind of book where you have to suspend your disbelief a little bit, plunge in head first and just enjoy it. It's not a believable story by any stretch of the imagination, but it's certainly an entertaining one. Cora herself is a well rounded character but some of the other characters are merely stereotypes or one-dimensional, such as Cora's mother the fortune hunter and her love interest Ivo, the mysterious and reserved English gentleman.
What I did like about this book was that it went further into Cora's story than I was expecting it to. I thought it would be a straight-forward marriage plot with Cora's wedding and happy ever after in the final chapters. But it wasn't - Cora gets married very early on and we follow her as she attempts to be happy. And to give credit to Goodwin, this isn't easy for her. Cora has married for love, but it's unclear whether her husband has, and she's married into a society that isn't welcoming at all. There's plenty of ups and downs and even at the end, it's unclear whether Cora will ever be truly happy. I liked the lack of a definitive happy ever after, and I liked that we got to see beyond the wedding.
You'll enjoy My Last Duchess if you like books that are purely escapist and you don't mind if the story is unrealistic in parts. I had a lot of fun reading it and it was perfect for when I was up in the small hours of the morning feeding the baby.
Source: Personal copy
First Published: 2011
Score: 3.5 out of 5
Sounds like a good book to have on hand for when I'm looking for something quick and entertaining.ReplyDelete
Yes, it's just the right sort of book for that reading mood.Delete
Don't you love it when "escapist" books do exactly that? I find they are a hit or miss with me so it's so great when they actually work.ReplyDelete
I'm always a bit wary of escapist books for that reason - sometimes they are just so bad there;s no enjoyment in them.Delete
Ahh, right. This is the book that was published as The American Heiress in the US. That's why the story and cover were so familiar but the title wasn't. This book worked better for you than it did for me, but then again, i was listening to the audio book. I find with books like this I'm happier if I can skim through some parts of it, but you can't do that with audio...ReplyDelete
I don't know why publishers use alternative titles - I'm sure US readers know what a Duchess is!Delete
I have an ARC of Goodwin's latest book that I'm planning to read very soon -- I was very on the fence about this one & still not sure I will read it or not -- I think how much I like The Fortune Hunter (or not!) will help me decide if I want to check out her backlist. Glad you liked it :)ReplyDelete
I think The Fortune Hunter will be a fun read, I'm thinking I'll grab it from the library in a few months. Hope you enjoy it!Delete
We all need to escape now and again - *jots book title down*.ReplyDelete
Bits & Bobs
I read this book last year and completely loved it. I was glad the author continued Cora's story after her marriage; and I liked that her marriage felt real, with complications, disappointments, and yet, with love. Reading your review makes me want to reread this book! :)ReplyDelete
Great review. I just added this to my reading list. Sometimes an escape book is just what you need.ReplyDelete
For a while I was reading Penny Vincenzi's books, but haven't gotten back into them lately. I wonder if this would have the same kind of feel. Will give it a try!ReplyDelete
Glad you enjoyed it - you're right that it is very escapist. I read this when I really wasn't in that kind of mood. Maybe I should give Ms Goodwin a second chance.ReplyDelete