The Heiress Effect

Courtney Milan

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‘They put up with me for one reason, and one reason only. I call it the heiress effect.’

Jane Fairfield is no dummy. Her poisonous color combinations, loud laughter, and blunt speech are designed with one purpose in mind: repel suitors. You see, her younger sister lack only four hundred and eighty days until she attains her majority and can leave their guardian. Until that day, Jane refuses to leave her sister alone and helpless in his care. He isn’t a bad man, only a insensitive one. He truly thinks the medical experimentation he subjects her to may help heal her of her fits, and the pain and the scars he inflicts on her are not enough to stop him. Jane wants to free her sister while she’s still alive, and for that, she does everything she can to make men forget her enormous fortune.

Then she meets Oliver Marshall, a man perceptive enough to see the women beneath the dress. He likes what he sees, but he is blind in his own way. The bastard son of a duke, he wants revenge on a society that rejected him because of his birth. Politics is the chosen path to attaining this purpose, and the last thing he needs is a relationship with a woman who talks too loudly, who dresses the way Jane does, and who doesn’t keep her self or her opinions in the background.

The working out of this dilemma is classic Courtney Milan. After reading this book, I bought the boxed set.

 

The Bunner Sisters

Edith Wharton

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This short novel tells the story of two sisters on the margins of life. They make a meager living by running a small shop selling buttons and bows, eked out by the occasional refurbished bonnet. They both live together above the shop. One day a nearby clockmaker enters their life, charms both the sisters and eventually marries the younger. He takes her away to New Orleans where he has a job waiting. The remaining sister is left alone in New to worry about her sister and the increasing silence. Eventually all communication ceases.

The mystery of what happens to the two sisters and the outcome of the marriage makes up the balance of the book. Wharton demonstrates all her skills of observation and storytelling in letting us in on the life of these two sisters.