Substance wise The American Heiress does not have a lot to offer, however it was a very interesting, well written and well researched novel. I didn't think I would find it entirely memorable but I found myself thinking about it a lot after I finished it which is the mark of a good book. Historically American heiresses did sometimes marry into the European aristocracy and I think that Goodwin rightly explored some of the problems they may have encountered doing so. The main problem is that the main character, Cora, is not inherently likable and her maid, who is, is not fully explored enough.
Bertha, Cora's maid, is the most interesting part of the novel, I think it would have been better if it had been written entirely from her perspective as an African American maid in England. Bertha, having served Cora's family for many years in the States, was allowed a lot of opportunities in Europe that would have been closed to her in the States due to her color. This, along with more through thought into Bertha's motivations for her decisions would have made a far better story.