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The Heiress Effect

Monday, August 14, 2017

The Heiress Effect (2013) Courtney Milan

Set in England in 1867

Jane Fairfield has a serious problem–she has money and she is eligible, but she can’t marry–not now. So she has to do everything in her power to not marry, despite her fortune.

Jane sashayed forward and took in the effect of her new gown. She didn’t even have to pretend to smile—the expression spread across her face like melted butter on warm bread. God, the gown was hideous. So utterly hideous. Never before had so much money been put in the service of so little taste.

Almost as impossible as four hundred and eighty—the number of days that Jane had to stay unmarried. Four hundred and eighty days until her sister attained her majority. In four hundred and eighty days, her sister could leave their guardian, and Jane—Jane who was allowed to stay in the household on the condition that she marry the first eligible man who offered—would be able to dispense with all this pretending. She and Emily would finally be free.

Oliver Marshall is a bastard who has been recognized by his half-bother, but wants to achieve things on his own right. So he follows society’s rules and is quiet, hiding what he thinks. But because of his past, he hates the casual cruelty he sees towards Jane.

He’d been wrong. She was going to break him. Not because she was so awful; she meant well, at least, and that made up for a great deal. She was going to break him because he couldn’t stand beside her and listen.

But Jane and Oliver are NOT what make this story. They’re fine, don’t get me lovely.

He’d promised not to lie to her. That was all he had to do now—not lie.

“Miss Fairfield,” he said in a voice pitched normally. “You look well today.”

She dimpled at him.

He let his gaze drift down briefly, and then looked up at her. “Your gown, on the other hand…” He took in a deep breath. “It makes me want to commit an act of murder, and I do not consider myself a violent man. What are you wearing?”

“It’s an evening gown.” She spread her outrageously gloved hands over her hips.

“It is the most hideous shade of pink that I have ever seen in my life. Is it actually glowing?”

“Don’t be ridiculous.” But the smile on her face seemed more genuine.

“I fear it may be contagious,” he continued. “It is setting all my preternatural urges on edge, whispering that the color must be catching. I feel an uncontrollable urge to run swiftly as far as I can in the other direction, lest my waistcoat fall prey next.” She actually laughed at that and brushed her shoulder.

“This would make a lovely waistcoat, don’t you think? But don’t worry; the color isn’t virulent. Yet.”

But what makes this story are the secondary characters, especially Jane’s sister Emily, and Bhattacharya. Those two are marvelous and make the story.

Fairfield shrunk away from the anger in Anjan’s voice. “I meant well,” he whispered.

Anjan leaned forward across the desk until he was an inch away from the other man. “Mean better.”

Mean better. Even now reading that makes me almost cry. Which is something her books do–they make me almost cry quite frequently. Not for the big things, but for the little things, like Anjan standing up for Emily.

Also: Sebastian.

Sebastian threw his hands up in the air. “In all the time you have known me, Oliver,” he said, his voice shaking, “in all that time—when have I ever made a joke at anyone else’s expense?”

“Uh…”

“When have I ever done anything except make a fool of myself, expose myself to ridicule to get others to laugh?”

“Well…”

“Yes, I love tweaking noses.” His friend paced away and then turned back. “But I like to be liked, Oliver.”

How had Oliver never seen that before? Prankster Sebastian. Smiling Sebastian. But he was right; all of Sebastian’s clever tricks and pranks had been aimed at making everyone else laugh. He mocked himself with greater alacrity than anyone else, and when they’d been in school together, everyone had loved him for it.

Also: that almost makes me cry as well.

Should you read this story? Yes. Oh very much yes.
Rating: 8.5/10

Published by Courtney Milan

Categories: 8/10, British, Historical, Re-Read, Romance     Comments (0)    



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