Book Review

The Heiress Effect, by Courtney Milan

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Title: The Heiress Effect
Author: Courtney Milan
Publication Info: Courtney Milan 2013
ISBN: 9781937248154
Genre: Historical: European

Book The Heiress Effect I’m just going to say it – I love everything Courtney Milan writes.  Some of her stuff has a huge emotional impact on me (Unveiled, A Kiss For Midwinter) and some has a medium/high emotional impact on me, but everything she writes leaves me with some level of good book sigh.  The Heiress Effect is no exception.

The Heiress Effect is the second book in the Brother’s Sinister series (loosely connected stand-alones, with accompanying novellas). 

The first full-length book, The Duchess War, was about Robert, Oliver’s half brother.  Oliver is the illegitimate son of Robert’s father, and he struggles to feel that he has a place amongst the aristocracy.  Oliver has hopes to rise politically, perhaps even to become Prime Minister.  To this end, Oliver has learned to blend in and to maneuver discreetly.

Meanwhile, Jane Fairfield has a large fortune, and a desperate need to appear to be looking for a husband while avoiding ever being proposed to.  Jane’s sister is under the guardianship of their uncle, and the uncle allows Jane to live with her sister as long as she appears to be trying to get married off as soon as possible.  To avoid being proposed to, Jane wears gloriously horrible gowns and has perfected the art of making dreadfully insulting comments in a completely disingenuous fashion.  Oliver survives by blending, but Jane survives by clashing with her surroundings as much as possible without openly breaching decorum.

While Jane and Oliver get to know one another, Jane’s sister, Emily, makes the acquaintance of a charming man who happens to be Indian.  This romance is secondary to the one that Jane and Oliver have, which is too bad, because I found it to be more interesting.  I hope to see more of them later as I’m wildly curious about what their life as a married couple might be like.

Like every other book by this author, the use of language is superb.  It’s also fairly long, which gives both couples time to develop.  One thing I appreciated is that the characters develop quite a bit on their own, not always as part of a couple or a potential couple.  Jane refuses to run to Oliver every time she has a problem (although when she does, he’s awesome).  Emily learns to save herself without depending on her sister.  Oliver makes his own decisions about what his direction should be.  So one of the many messages of the book is that you have to be your own person – but you also need people who will stand behind you when you really need them, and who will give you space when that’s what you need at the time. 

The conflicts are realistic, the characters are complex, there is tons of angst and yet the book is laugh out loud funny, as when Jane and Oliver are riding a horse together (they are on the same horse at the same time) and Jane wishes that Oliver had “pillowy thighs”.  And oh, God, the supporting characters are just…well.  Free (Oliver’s sister) is getting her own book, thank goodness, and the aunt with agoraphobia was the one element of the book that I got most deeply emotional about. 

Now I am waiting with baited breath for the third book, The Countess Conspiracy.  It is about Sebastian and Violet and involves science and angst, and, knowing Sebastian and Violet, probably a lot of snark.  We are also promised a book about Oliver’s sister, Free.  I am not being the least bit snarky when I say that the anticipation is killing me (although I am exaggerating slightly). 

The Heiress Effect didn’t push my emotional buttons as ruthlessly as some of Milan’s other books, but it was gloriously satisfying to read, and the happy ever afters were ingenious, well earned, and deeply satisfying.


This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Kobo | iBooks | All Romance eBooks.

Comments are Closed

  1. 1
    Eliza Mars says:

    Loved this book – Courtney Milan always goes in an unexpected direction. The well-meaning uncle who alternatively makes Emily lie in bed all day or suffer through doctors’ experiments on her?  Whoa.  Creepy.  The fact he was so oblivious made him that much more scary.

    And, no spoilers here, but the fishing scene reminded me that Oliver’s father, from The Governess Affair, just might be my favorite Courtney Milan hero.

  2. 2
    Karenmc says:

    I loved the strength and self-worth of the women in this book. Even Aunt Freddy, suffering as she did with a debilitating condition, did her best to save herself in the limited world in which she lived. I’m really looking forward to the other books in the series.

  3. 3
    Tam says:

    Courtney Milan is probably the only Regency writer for whom I’ll instantly hit the one-click buy button without hesitation.  I’m so excited to read this one!

    (Smite. Smite is her best hero.)

  4. 4
    Joy says:

    LOVED both reviews!  Went to Amazon and to check out the book and was pleasantly surprised at the reasonable price so I immediately bought it, made sure I had the first book in the series and am now thinking about buying some of Milan’s other series.

    Gosh, I REALLY wish publishers would realize that if they publish a good book and price it fairly romance fans will buy it and the backlist as well!  We love a good author.  I love La Nora but have been reading the library’s copies since I switched to ereaders.  The prices!  I’ve been selling and gifting my old romances in an effort to downsize.  I’d LOVE to replace my paperbacks of various keeper copies of Nora Roberts/JD Robb books with e-versions.  Sigh!  Except for a special sale now and then I don’t.  Until the prices drop I’ll just let them age and weed the paperbacks that I don’t like as well.  Please Mr. Publisher be less greedy and you’ll get lots more sales.  You’ll make up in volume for a dip in price.

  5. 5
    Meri says:

    @ Joy, Milan is a self-published author, which allows her to set the price herself and to offer a better price to readers because there is no publisher to take a cut. Self-publishing is great, but it’s not for everyone. Some of Milan’s earlier books were traditionally published (by Harlequin, IIRC), so expect different pricing.

    I usually buy her books via Smashwords so that I’ll have access to multiple file formats.

  6. 6
    Vasha says:

    I commented on this on the weekend bestsellers thread, repisting here for relevance:

    I snapped up The Heiress Effect and read it. That was a “happy sigh” book for sure. Courtney Milan is the perfect cure when I can’t stand to encounter one more cocky alpha male. In this book, she has two heroes, and neither of them has a smidgen of arrogance. How completely refreshing.

    I do have one objection to this otherwise self-aware author though—somehow it is necessary for her hero to punch out a guy who sexually abused the heroine, or offer to, in every book (seriously, check it sometime). In The Heiress Effect, he rescues her from a guy who is planning to sexually abuse her. Mind you, it’s clear that she would have rescued herself eventually, and the way it’s worked out is actually great, so that I wouldn’t be annoyed if it wasn’t part of a pattern that Milan repeats every damn time. (There’s a blog post I read once and wish I could find about how a boyfriend ought to respond when his girlfriend tells him she was raped, and why it’s really unhelpful for him to say that he wants to beat up the guy who did it.)”

  7. 7
    Gry says:

    When I read the reviews, I knew I just had to have this book (am reading it now!) All Romance wouldn’t sell it to me, bur fortunately Amazon didn’t quibble! :D

  8. 8
    rayvyn2k says:

    I love, love, love Courtney Milan’s books. I have all of them…although some are paperback and some are e-books, so I’m thinking of buying all the paperbacks in e format so I can have easier access.

    I bought and read The Heiress Affair the day it was available, then went back and am now re-reading the first two in the series.

    I can’t wait for the next one.

    I agree that she has a wonderful way with words. Her heroes and heroines are all so real, with real issues, and in this series, very emotional ones. What they go through to resolve their problems seems so very real.

    She makes me laugh, she makes me sniffle. She is one of my favorites.

  9. 9
    Karin says:

    I am about a quarter way into the book, which I had to buy after reading the sample which really grabbed me. And thank you, Courtney Milan, for the great prices! I don’t know if Oliver will be my favorite CM hero(his father is hard to top), but it’s great to see him all grown up. And I love the way she weaves politics into the books.

  10. 10
    MollyW says:

    I loved this book and I love Courtney Milan. She is easily my favorite author and I’d love to meet her and have a cup of coffee. She’s on Twitter and her website is hilarious. I’m not as excited for Countess as I could be, ‘cause that’s not a dynamic I often enjoy, but I’m sure in her hands it’ll be phenomenal. However, when Free’s book comes out I’m going to be neglecting my kids to gobble it up.

    And I have to agree with Tam, Smite is possibly the best hero I’ve ever read. I re-read Unraveled every few months. That is the kind of book I wish I could write.

  11. 11
    Ashley says:

    I guess I’m in the minority because I did not like this book. I didn’t really like Robert’s book, either, and I thought this one was just ok. It seemed like Jane had many other options than just letting her uncle control her and her sister. She was independently wealthy, threatened him with that wealth, and then set back and let him dictate to her again. That didn’t really make much sense to me. SHe could have gotten whatever she wanted but didn’t. I also thought that Oliver was a jerk. I did not like his character at all. I didn’t really feel there was much character growth with him. He’s smart and clever and wants to be prime minister but can’t get himself out of situations he doesn’t like without acting like a coward? That’s going to be great! I don’t know . . . I’ve just been disappointed with this series. I loved the previous series but I just feel there are a lot of irrational decisions made/actions done that just don’t make sense and take me out of the story. I’m hoping for a lot from Sebastian and Violet.

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