First Published: 2013
Adult, Historical Romance
Re-Readability:Whenever I am in need of a historical that will go deep and deal with difficult issues, I pick one of Milan's novels. She is one of those very rare authors that are unafraid to examine the unfairness of Victorian times and the position they often put women in, and she does so beautifully through mature and beautiful relationships that celebrate women, and men, and the love between them.
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.
The Heiress Effect is no different. In it, Milan explores what a woman might do when she is put in a position where her marriage will leave her sister to harm, and what a woman who has money can afford to do in those times where women were supposed to be breathing decorations to highlight a man's success.
As always, Jane is a pristine example of Milan's heroines - smart, funny and unconventional. Jane always puts herself last, and I loved her outrageous fashion style and unwavering loyalty to her sister. In the end, it is Jane who is the strongest and bravest character in this novel. Far braver than Oliver.
But that doesn't mean I didn't like Oliver, because I adored him. Conflicted between his dreams and the way Jane could hinder them if he gives in to their attraction, but also unable not to appreciate the clever girl and her methods. His weary humor blended well with Jane's, and there wasn't anyone happier in the room when he finally said a metaphorical "screw it" to the world!
Together, these two had mad chemistry and their banter was just delightful to read. They fit, in a way that makes it natural for them to end up together. I never doubted, you guys!
The one side character that I just have to mention is Emily, Jane's sister. Emily does not know fear, and she is not going to let society and their ridiculous (yet well meaning) deeming of her "un-whole" just because she has some non life threatening seizures stop her from living life, no matter how hard they might try. And what a life she chooses to live... filled with love (to the beautiful Anjan, no less) and laughter and spunk! Rock on, girl!