- Title: The Heiress Effect
- Author: Courtney Milan
- Series: Brothers Sinister #2
- Genre: Regency Romance
- Format: e-book
- Source: own copy
- Reviewed by: Erica
- Rating: 4 out of 5
Description: 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.
Review: This second volume in the Brothers Sinister series focuses on Oliver Marshall, half-brother to the Duke of Clermont who got hooked up in the first volume. Oliver is an ambitious man who wants to gain a seat in Parliament, so he can work towards his lifelong desire to give the right to vote to common people as well as the aristocracy. Since he is the illegitimate son of a duke who was raised by commoners, the existing peerage are ready to thwart him at every opportunity if he doesn’t behave himself, so he has to be quiet, unassuming and seemingly obedient to get their support.
Then he meets Jane Fairfield, the Feather Heiress. She is filthy rich, pretty but plump and has a taste in gowns that could make grown men cry, if grown men were allowed to do such a thing in those times. She talks too much and regularly insults people to their faces, and only gets away with it because she appears to be oblivious to the fact that she’s doing it. This is a front, however, because Jane is desperate not to get married, even if her uncle is determined that she should, so she’ll be out of his hair. This same uncle is also the legal guardian of Jane’s 19-year-old sister Emily, and since Emily has occasional fits he sees it as his duty to subject her to every experimental treatment on the planet. These treatments are invariably administered by quacks and could qualify as torture, so Jane can’t abandon her sister.
This book is as accomplished as the other ones in this series, but for some reason I didn’t quite enjoy it as much as I did those. I wish I could put my finger on why that was the case, because it features the same believable, flawed characters, the same assured writing style, the same witty exchanges and the same level of surprise. Maybe that was the problem – I’ve read too many novels by this author in too short a space of time, and I need to switch to something else again.
Don’t let that put you off though; this is still a very good romance novel, which will surprise you at almost every turn. Its characters are well-fleshed-out and likeable, and there are a few subplots which keep everything ticking over nicely so that you’ve reached the last page before you realise it. Recommended for everyone who likes historical romance with a dash of politics and main characters who aren’t heartstoppingly beautiful.