The Heiress is a captivating novel that will appeal to everyone whether you love Pride & Prejudice or are just a historical fiction lover. Greeley’s previous book, The Clergyman’s Wife, starred Charlotte Lucas’ story after the events of Pride and Prejudice; in The Heiress we get to see Anne de Bourgh shine in her own right. Miss de Bourgh was always considered to be a sickly child, eventually needing daily doses of laudanum in order to “function”. But of course, the laudanum does nothing but make her into a ghost of herself, as we see in background of the original novel. One day, Anne decides enough is enough and takes back the reins of her life from both laudanum and her mother, the domineering Lady Catherine de Bourgh. After painfully detoxing from the grips of laudanum, Anne finds herself a new woman with a new life in front of her, filled with a new set of challenges.
Once again Greeley has created a masterpiece spinoff from a classic novel, which is hard to do. She writes in her own, striking, period appropriate style inspired by Austen, but not an exact emulation. I also thought her choice of character was smart and interesting. Anne is not so minor a character that she is forgotten by readers of the original book, but she doesn’t have a lot of details that Greeley needs to adhere to strictly, leaving her with an excellent structure on which to build up this mysterious woman.
Though the Anne we see in Pride & Prejudice is a meek, sickly young lady, Greeley transforms her into a strong woman ready to grasp her independence. And although the tone of the book is a bit darker compared to her previous book, Greeley’s prose is just as mesmerizing, making readers want to gobble up every word till the end. Overall, this is a totally bingeable read that will engross you from beginning to end! I’d definitely recommend this to all historical fiction fans!
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