The Heiress Effect (the Brothers Sinister)
Author: Courtney Milan
Publisher: Courtney Milan
Date of Publication: July 15, 2013
Miss Jane Fairfield can’t do anything right. When she’s in company, she always says the wrong thing–and rather too much of it. No matter how costly they are, her gowns fall on the unfortunate side of fashion. Even her immense dowry can’t save her from being an object of derision.
And that’s precisely what she wants. She’ll do anything, even risk humiliation, if it means she can stay unmarried and keep her sister safe.
Mr. Oliver Marshall has to do everything right. He’s the bastard son of a duke, raised in humble circumstances–and he intends to give voice and power to the common people. If he makes one false step, he’ll never get the chance to accomplish anything. He doesn’t need to come to the rescue of the wrong woman. He certainly doesn’t need to fall in love with her. But there’s something about the lovely, courageous Jane that he can’t resist…even though it could mean the ruin of them both.
I had the good fortune to meet Ms. Milan at the very first RomCon several years ago. I was a total ditz, so nervous and excited about meeting “famous people”. Someone took pity on me (sorry, don’t remember which author it was) and dragged me over to Courtney and said “She wants to meet famous people!” And they were so friendly and funny and gracious about my babbling self…I’ve had a great fondness for Ms. Milan since then. She is definitely on my auto-buy list.
This book certainly isn’t the one that’s going to change my mind. She’s created two incredible characters and crafted a phenomenal, rich plot for them to move through. I got approved for this book Saturday evening and gulped this down by Sunday evening. I simply couldn’t put it down.
Jane is definitely not your typical historical heroine. She’s not drop-dead gorgeous (though she is to Oliver once he sees past her deliberately ill-fashioned wardrobe), perfectly well-mannered, and of noble birth. No, she’s loud when she should be retiring, wears (and honestly loves, it turns out) brilliant, unfashionable shades (such as fuschine, which from the description is fuschia, or some incredibly annoying shade of pink), and doesn’t want to get married because she’s trying to protect her half-sister.
Oliver too is not your standard hero. Oh, he’s the son of a duke, but a bastard. Oh, that’s common enough, but Oliver’s ambitious as a man (wants to be prime minister one day). He uses the nobility and they use him…until finally a rather nasty marquess pushes him too far. There’s a spectacular confrontation between Oliver and the marquess, where we see the changing opinion about just where the power of society will lie in the years and decades to come.
They fall in love, but it seems doomed because Oliver is determined to remain a possibility for a great, political future and for that, he needs a model perfect politician’s wife, which Jane decidedly is not. Nor does Jane really want to get married, not when she knows it will harm his future.
The way she resolves their issues goes so far beyond what I as a reader have come to expect – the standard tropes of the genre and all – it just left my flabbergasted and terribly in love with Ms. Milan and her incredible books.
If you love non-standard heroes/heroines, and non-cookie cutter plots, if you love historical English romances, by all means run, don’t walk, to your nearest Amazon website and order this puppy! Now. Go do it!
Book provided by NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.