Book Review: The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan

The Heiress Effect by Courtney MilanTitle: The Heiress Effect
Series: Brothers Sinister, Book 2
Author: Courtney Milan
Genre: Historical Romance
Sensuality Rating: Steamy
Source: review copy provided by publisher
Published: July 15, 2013 by Courtney Milan

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.

Reviewed By: J9

In a Nutshell: This book is another nuanced historical romance by one of the best authors in the genre.

The Set Up: Jane is an heiress but can’t get married because it will leave her sister unprotected in her uncle’s house. So Jane becomes too loud, too honest, and too much for society. Oliver Marshall is the bastard son of a duke and wants to do everything right on his quest to becoming a powerful politician. These two never thought they’d be kindred spirits but they are.

Why I Read this Book: Milan is one of my favorite authors in any genre but especially historical romance. I loved book one in this series and the prequel novella and couldn’t wait for this one.

What I Liked: The best thing about this book is that Milan never takes the easy way out of character or relationship development. Jane and Oliver aren’t easy characters who do picture-perfect things; instead they’re full of messy, conflicting emotions and make mistakes like real people. Oliver says he doesn’t want to change Jane but then nearly asks her to. Jane is lonely but isn’t willing to sacrifice who she to be with Oliver. This sets up a complicated romance where Jane and Oliver are drawn to each other but unsure how to make a relationship work. I don’t want to spoil how this progresses, but there is personal integrity and dare I say, feminist message in this book. Jane accepts her complicated self and demands she be loved for who she is. She has a sexual agency rare in romance, let alone historical romance, and I absolutely adore the author for her nuanced portrayal of Jane and her relationship with Oliver.

What I Also Liked: I also love how the plot unfolds. Jane has an exaggerated persona of a bumbling socialite and I loved seeing this character and how Oliver slowly sees both the public and private faces of Jane. Oliver is asked by a titled man Jane spurns to humiliate her publically and how this unfolds is another example of this author’s brilliance because it doesn’t happen the way it would in 99.99% of historical romance with misunderstandings or big reveals.

The other wonderful thing about this book is that women have healthy relationships with each other and demand it of those around them. Jane’s sister who has seizures and is a prisoner in her uncle’s house is the reason for Jane’s masquerade but she’s not a helpless beauty; instead she takes her own life in her hands and I loved this. Jane’s quasi-relationship with two sisters starts the novel and I thought they were going to be the evil women/rivals we romance readers are so familiar with but even this is more nuanced. Oliver’s aunt has a critical role in this book I totally didn’t expect but nearly brought tears to my eyes. Finally, Oliver’s vibrant, feminist little sister who marches for women’s suffrage, wants to attend Cambridge and holds Oliver accountable. Fully developed female characters and relationships are way too rare in romance and this novel changes that in a way that had me cheering while enjoying an incredible romance.

What I Didn’t Like: I admit to being a dirty girl and loving erotic romance which this novel isn’t. Still, the emotional development is so lovely and well done that I almost didn’t miss the eroticism I normally need.

IMO: Any historical romance fan should read and adore this stellar novel.

J9’s Rating:
4 1/2 Frogs

Buy on Amazon Add to Goodreads

About J9: Vegan. Avid runner. Android addict. Never without a book in hand. Currently devouring MM romance but reads historial romance and paranormal romance as well. Follow J9 on Twitter.


Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.