American Duchess was a period novel set in England in the 1920s. Zoe was a headstrong young woman who was unable to obtain the sizeable trust fund left to her by her deceased father until she married. The trust fund was the only way that her and her mother could survive, so marriage was the most important thing for Zoe to obtain. However, Zoe was not content to be a housewife and had her own ideas of how she would use marriage to become a free woman. Unlike her contemporaries, Zoe planed not just to marry, but then to divorce. The divorce would permit her to access the trust fund so that she could live the life she wanted. And the life she wanted was one of adventure. Zoe knew how to fly a plane and loved being an aviator. Her passion for flight was one of her traits that made me like her. Zoe was so secure with herself that she didn’t mind that being a divorced woman was not socially acceptable. All she wanted was to live a life without being under the rule of a man.
Although this was a historical fiction novel, it was also a romance. I guess I thought this would have a love story in it but would not be so cheesy that it would fall in the romance category. I was wrong. It was pretty cheesy. There was a lot of sex and the majority of the plot centered around whether Zoe would marry Sebastian or would break off her engagement to marry his brother, Nigel. The scenes between the characters were all driven by Zoe’s affair with Nigel and her decision about who to wed. Once Zoe made her choice and did marry, she was devoted to live a life the way she wanted to: without rules.
This was a little corny, but I read it at a time when I could only handle something that didn’t require much effort to read. This fit that need perfectly. Also, the writing was easy to read and gave a clear picture of the characters and their lives.