In this story set in the Gilded Age of the late 1800's, American Heiress Cora Cash has almost everything: loads of money, near universal admiration and stunning beauty. What Cora lacks is love, life purpose and freedom--her ever-present, controlling mother has a master plan for her life that involves marrying into a British title. Cora gets her title early on in the book by wedding an impoverished but handsome duke, but has she found freedom away from her mother or is she just as trapped in a new golden cage whose rules she doesn't know? And is her marriage a love match? For her it is, but her duke seems to run hot and cold and it's not until the end of the book that she and we know for sure. In the meantime, Cora tries hard to be worthy of her new title, though her attempts to restore her husband's estate and support charitable work are rebuffed more often than not. For an American, being a Duchess is a job with a long learning curve.I was eager to read this book because it is touted as being a balm for those of us missing the Downton Abbey series but for the first two chapters I did not think it would live up to that accolade. The early part of the book is set in Newport, RI and while reading those chapters I was afraid the entire story would be more about chronicling ostentatious wealth than exploring the human heart. I have never, however, changed my mind so completely about a book after getting a few chapters in. Once the action moved to England the characters filled out and became more nuanced, Cora Cash went from someone I had little interest in to someone I cared deeply about, and the struggles of a young American woman doing her best to do the right thing in the surprisingly foreign world of the British upper class made fascinating and poignant reading. I stayed up very late to finish this book, with my fingers crossed the whole time hoping for a happy ending.