Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Book Review: An American Duchess by Sharon Page

Pages: 384
Genre: Adult Historical Fiction
Pub. Date: September 30, 2014
Source: Publisher for review
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads says, "It's 1922, and New York heiress Zoe Gifford longs for the freedoms promised by the Jazz Age. Headstrong and brazen, but bound by her father's will to marry before she can access his fortune, Zoe arranges for a brief marriage to Sebastian Hazelton, whose aristocratic British family sorely needs a benefactor.  Once in England, her foolproof plan to wed, inherit and divorce proves more complicated than Zoe had anticipated. Nigel Hazelton, Duke of Langford and Sebastian's older brother, is as austere and imposing as the family's ancestral estate. Still reeling from the Great War, Nigel is now staging a one-man battle against a rapidly changing world—and the outspoken Zoe represents everything he's fighting against.  When circumstances compel Zoe to marry Nigel rather than Sebastian, their heated quarrelling begets passion of another sort. But with Nigel unwilling to change with the times, will Zoe be forced to choose between her husband and her dreams?"
Zoe Gifford, an American heiress, has it all, until her fiancé never returns from an airplane flight and is presumed dead.  She is trying to start over, but her mother has gotten herself into some financial trouble. Her and her mother will suffer financial ruin if Zoe doesn't marry; she can't access her family's fortune unless she is married as per her father's will.  In a alcohol induced whirlwind at a speakeasy, Zoe decides to marry Sebastian Hazelton, a British royal, who also needs money to help his family run their huge English estate.  They know it's just an arrangement and will divorce shortly after; however, things get complicated when Zoe goes to England.  For starers, Sebastian's brother, Nigel, is the Duke and is the complete opposite of his brother. He's uptight, old-school in his ways, and initially looks down upon Zoe.  You see, Zoe is a "modern" woman. She flies airplanes, wears scandalous clothing, and speaks her mind, all of which Nigel isn't used to.  Zoe makes ripples at Brideswell, Sebastian's family's estate, and even challenges Nigel to change with the times.  With all of these different personalities living in one house; plus, a rushed engagement ensures major drama ensuing in An American Duchess by Sharon Page. Fans of the Roaring Twenties as well as Downton Abbey will appreciate this novel.

Zoe is such a fun protagonist in An American Duchess. She's bold, she flies planes, she's wealthy, but she's very stubborn and self-absorbed at times. To be honest, she drove me nuts from time to time. Zoe is one of those characters that is entertaining, but made stupid choices and quite often.  I was sort of thinking to myself, "Really, Zoe? This is happening?" but I guess that makes for an entertaining heroine.  While I didn't always agree with her constantly pressing the boundaries and pushing Nigel, I did have fun following her journey, especially when she is a fish out of water in England.

Sebastian just wants to have fun and really isn't concerned too much about society's rules in An American Duchess. He has many reasons for wanting a quick marriage to Zoe; he harbors some major secrets and isn't being very truthful.  

However, Nigel does know the truth and this bothers him to no end, because he starts to have feelings for Zoe despite the fact that he drives her crazy and she is the opposite of a polite British woman.  He can't deny the attraction he feels towards her and deep down he appreciates her charisma.  Zoe definitely has a way of breaking down Nigel's walls, but these two were definitely like oil and water concerning the old ways vs. the new ways of life. Plus, they were both insanely stubborn; nonetheless, I enjoyed their blossoming romance in An American Duchess.

Page did a good job bringing to life the Roaring Twenties and how much fun people had, but also how it clashed with some people's ideals, especially if a person is stuck in their ways (Nigel!).  The time period was definitely one of my favorite aspects of the book as well as the English manor setting.

While An American Duchess didn't knock my socks off and had some scenes that were over-the-top dramatic, I still enjoyed it and enjoyed the escape.  It definitely had me pining for the next season of Downton Abbey!


  1. This sounds like a fun book. Kind of a cross between Downton Abbey and Deanna Raybourn's 1920s novels.

    When I first saw the title I wondered if this would be like The American Heiress.

    Thanks for your review! I plan to add The American Duchess to my TBR list.

    1. Yes! You are right….definitely a cross between both books. It was definitely entertaining…not mind-blowing by any means, but fun. Thanks for visiting, Christina!


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