I’ve been enjoying The Brothers Sinister series from Courtney Milan. The Heiress Effect is #2 but that’s rather misleading since the first-first book was the novella, The Goveress Affair, then The Duchess War with a Christmas novella thrown in after that one. So, really this is #4. Follow me?
In The Heiress Effect, we meet Jane Fairfield, an incredibly wealthy heiress with bad taste and all the social grace of an emu. She wears the most ridiculous getups to every occasion and the words that come out of her mouth make everyone cringe. No one realizes that this is an act. Jane is purposely being uncouth in order to keep her younger sister safe. There are people she doesn’t mind being rude to, like the Marquess of Bradenton. On the other hand, being a jerk to a man like Oliver Marshall isn’t as much fun. For some reason, he doesn’t laugh at her like the others do behind her back.
Oliver won’t be part of the mean spirited gossiping about Jane because he himself has always been an outsider. As the illegitimate son of a duke, the boys at Eton and Cambridge never let him forget his place among them. Now he has a chance to gain a place in the political world but how far is he willing to go to get it?
What I like most about this series is how Milan gives her heroines unique obstacles to overcome. In Jane’s case protecting her younger sister Emily, who has a form of epilepsy, from a well meaning yet overzealous uncle. Jane has to keep from marrying until Emily comes of age. Even though Jane puts on the socially inept act, she knows she’d never fit in anyway. She doesn’t fit into the mold of the typical lady. She likes to be bold and say what’s on her mind. Even though Oliver is attracted to her, he sees that she’d never make a proper politician's wife. Here is my trouble with The Heiress Effect. I didn’t feel that Oliver was good enough for Jane.
Jane is bright and bold and in your face, Oliver just wasn’t her equal. Oliver should have been a much more interesting character. He’s a bastard. He’s a self-made man. I wasn’t feeling it though. He was just sort of meh. I couldn’t understand why Jane liked him so much other than he was the only person who was nice to her. I didn’t feel the chemistry between them. I realize that this is Oliver’s “issue” in this romance novel that he must overcome, and he does, but by then it was too late for me.
Like in the previous stories, the secondary characters add much to the story. Emily is her own person whose own romance overshadows her sister’s. Oliver’s younger sister Frederica is a suffragette in training and much more interesting than he is. The other female characters, Aunt Freddy and the Johnson sisters, are more than one dimensional plot devices. Since this is part of a series, there are hints at future storylines involving some of these characters, including the other Brother Sinister, Sebastian.
I wouldn’t say this was my favorite in the series but it was still enjoyable and I look forward to more books from Milan.
Thanks to Victory Editing for the review copy via NetGalley.