In this gorgeously written and spellbinding historical novel based on Pride and Prejudice, the author of The Clergyman’s Wife combines the knowing eye of Jane Austen with the eroticism and Gothic intrigue of Sarah Waters to reimagine the life of the mysterious Anne de Bourgh.
As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.
After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?
In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.
An extraordinary tale of one woman’s liberation, The Heiress reveals both the darkness and light in Austen’s world, with wit, sensuality, and a deeply compassionate understanding of the human heart.
I love books that reimagine classic works, especially adding onto the Jane Austen world, and Molly Greeley’s The Heiress explores the life of Anne de Bourgh during and after the events of Pride andPrejudice. This a slower historical fiction novel that explores Anne’s coming of age, and her realization that without Darcy’s hand in marriage her place in the world falls apart and because of that she takes steps to overcome her parents’ abuse and her reliance on laudanum. As an heiress, Anne’s “appropriate” life choices included getting married to advance her status, but Anne takes back the agency of her life and truly seems to bloom.
Even though this is a slower paced novel, it’s so rewarding and a joy to read. The historical details are lush and vivid, and I felt completely immersed in Anne de Bourgh’s world. The characters of Pride and Prejudice make small appearances, and I loved seeing their place in Anne’s story after Darcy marries Elizabeth. The romance in the book is sapphic and well-placed, I thought. It’s not a historical romance, but romance for Anne plays a big part in her own liberation.
Anything else I could say about this might be a spoiler, so definitely check this one out! I thought the entire story, including the ending, was satisfying and added so much to Anne’s story who has no speaking lines in the entirety of Austen’s book.
I grabbed this off the ARC shelf at work, and many compliments to William Morrow for sending it to the store!
Hello, Friday! First Lines Friday is a feature on my blog in which I post the first lines from a book I am interested in reading, either a new release or a backlist title! The latest feature for these reads are all of the books on my Spring TBR!
“Time runs different ‘neath the Faery Mound than it does here in Sherwood Forest.” Little John whispered the words so softly they had little more sound than the soft rustling of leaves from a spring breeze. Beside him, the boy Tuck crouched, peering with him through the bushes at the low Faery Mound. In his youth and innocence, the boy could find wonder as he looked at the round hill isolated on a flat plain, the patterned stones around the base, and the poisonous toadstools that marked it for what it was.
Deep despair ran through Little John as his body sought to return to its natural form, to be able to feel the solidity of a branched trunk, his toes becoming roots digging into the nourishing soil, and experience the air dancing among his leaves. It was times like this, so close to the old ways that he had difficulty holding his human form, when his heart so longed to return to his tree, a three-hundred-year-old oak. A tree has patience, marking seasons but not years or decades.
The cover of this caught my eye because it’s delightfully medieval-esque, and then when I read the back and discovered it was a Robin Hood revisit, I knew I had to have it for my shelf. Retellings of all sorts generally end up being favorites of mine, because I love seeing what people do with a familiar, favorite story and make it their own and make it new.
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly discussion hosted by That Artsy Reader Girl (and formerly hosted by The Broke and the Bookish), and last week’s topic (that I’m doing this week instead) is “Books on my Spring TBR” and some of these have been on some form of a TBR at some point or another, and I’m going to read them by the time the spring season is over!! I read seven of the ten I chose for winter, and I’m currently in the middle of the eighth! The other two will be read eventually, but I am going to pursue this list as it’s something new and exciting!
Walk the Wild With Me by Rachel Atwood – This is a revisit to the mythology of Robin Hood, and I’ve been in the mood for these kinds of retellings, so when I saw this out on the shelves at my store, I immediately grabbed it and have kept my eye on it since. It feels like a spring read to me, so this is the perfect time to read it.
Phoenix Unbound by Grace Draven – I want to read more fantasy and romance, especially after catching up completely on the A Court of Thorns and Roses series, and this feels right along the lines of what I’m wanting to read.
Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling – I loved her debut novel The Luminous Dead and this looks and feels very gothic fantasy.
Cherry by Nico Walker – This has been on my radar since its release, mostly because that cover is compelling, but now that it’s a movie with Tom Holland, it’s moved up my TBR a little bit.
The Wolf of Oren-Yaro by K.S. Villoso – The Chronicles of the Bitch Queen trilogy is complete this year, and now I can finally start it! I’ve heard so many good things about this book and its sequel, and for some series, I’m very weird and only like to read them if I can get my hands on the entire series…
The Princess Will Save You by Sarah Henning – This is a feminist retelling of The Princess Bride, and the second part of the duology releases this year, and I’m a super in the mood for fantasy everything.
Star Wars The High Republic: Light of the Jedi by Charles Soule – So many new Star Wars books have come out in the last year and I’ve bought so many of them, and I’ve been really excited for this next chapter in the Star Wars saga!
A Curse So Dark and Lonely by Brigid Kemmerer – This trilogy is complete now, and the hardcovers all look beautiful, and again, I am in the mood for fantasy trilogies.
Persephone Station by Stina Leicht – I bought this on release day in January, and this is the only title I’m carrying over officially from the Winter TBR!
Crescent City: House of Earth and Blood by Sarah J. Maas – I don’t know why I’ve been putting off reading this, but after finishing A Court of Silver Flames I want to get caught up on everything she’s released so far because I’ve also not read the last three books in the Throne of Glass series!
These first two months of 2021 have flown by. I’m trying to focus more on me this year, and I’ve also decided to move back east by this summer! Lots of changes are happening, and I’m very excited for so many of them (but the moving process itself is not something I enjoy). I’m taking this time to unhaul and reevaluate the books I currently own, and I’m hoping to reduce what’s on my shelves by a lot. I like the idea of having a personal library, but I also like having space and curating a collection of books that represents me as a reader.
At this point, I wonder if I should start taking bets on when I’ll finish A People’s History of the United States and The Big Book of Science Fiction. What I really need to do is take them out of a book stack and put them in easy reach so I read a little bit of them every day… I finally started reading The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes and while I’m only a few chapters in, I don’t quite know how to feel about it yet. I’m enjoying The Paris Library and Siri, Who Am I? and hope to finish those soon!
📚 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins (7%)
📓 The Paris Library – Janet Skeslien Charles (12%; thank you, Atria Books!)
📱 Siri, Who Am I? – Sam Tschida ; (44%; thank you, Quirk Books!)
📚 A People’s History of the United States – Howard Zinn (56%)
📚 The Big Book of Science Fiction – edited by Ann and Jeff VanderMeer (32%)
I read nine books in January and nine books in February! For some reason I thought I read much less, but February itself just flew right on by and I also started reading A Court of Silver Flames at the end of the month, so that threw my books read sense askew. I was looking forward to The Duke and I, but aside from a DNF it is the lowest rated book of the year so far. I thought it would be better than it was, but I felt literally no connection/love/spark between the two leads. The show is much better than the book, and I ended up selling my Bridgerton books on eBay for a nice chunk of change. The first DNF of the year is Michael Poore’s Reincarnation Blues. I’ve tried on and off throughout the years to start this and make headway, but something about it kept causing me to set it aside. This time I made it a little further in and didn’t like the fatphobic jokes nor the use of the n-word, so I set it aside for good. The rest of the reads were good and I enjoyed so much from a variety of genres! This is also the first time I’ve gotten to use my reread emoji!
💞The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien (5/5 stars)
⌛️ A Grave Matter – Anna Lee Huber (4/5 stars)
⌛️ The Right Swipe – Alisha Rai (4/5 stars)
📓 Culture Warlords – Talia Lavin (4.5/5 stars; thank you, Hachette Books!)
📓 The Heiress – Molly Greeley (4.5/5 stars)
📚 The Duke and I – Julia Quinn (1/5 stars)
📱 The Princess and the Rogue – Kate Bateman (4/5 stars; thank you, St. Martin’s Press!)
⌛️ Hood Feminism – Mikki Kendall (5/5 stars)
📚 Pretty as a Picture – Elizabeth Little (3.5/5 stars)
📓 The Rush’s Edge – Ginger Smith (3.5/5 stars; thank you, Angry Robot!)
⌛️ The Duke Who Didn’t – Courtney Milan (4/5 stars)
📚 The Penguin Book of the Prose Poem – ed. Jeremy Noel-Tod (3/5 stars)
📓 Craft in the Real World – Matthew Salesses (5/5 stars; thank you, Catapult Press!)
📚 My Fake Rake – Eva Leigh (5/5 stars)
📓 Single and Forced to Mingle – Melissa Croce (3.5/5 stars; thank you, Atria!)
📚 Would I Lie to the Duke – Eva Leigh (4/5 stars)
📓 Reincarnation Blues – Michael Poore (DNF)
💞 The Thirteenth Princess – Diane Zahler (4/5 stars)
ON THE HORIZON
This is my rough March TBR based on a little game I created for myself (I’ll create a post on this soon!), and I’m trying to get myself out of reading ruts by creating prompts matched to a playing card. I drew five cards and got the following books based on these prompts: horror, random color (a generator picked #042279/navy blue), mystery/thriller, kindle + romance, and a friend’s pick! I’m actually really looking forward to this selection of books, and I feel like this method will also help me read more of my own backlist as well as make me think outside the box about what to read next!
📓 Horrid – Katrina Leno (grabbed off the work arc shelf)
📚 The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
💾 The Hunting Party – Lucy Foley
💾 Destiny’s Embrace – Beverly Jenkins
📚 The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes – Suzanne Collins
WHAT I ACQUIRED
I am trying to be more mindful of what I buy, considering I’m moving soon, but sometimes I just like to have the physical copy on my shelves…
📚 A Curse So Dark and Lonely – Brigid Kemmerer
📚 A Heart So Fierce and Broken – Brigid Kemmerer
📚 A Vow So Bold and Deadly – Brigid Kemmerer
📚 A Declaration of the Rights of Magicians – H.G. Parry
📓 Eleanor in the Village – Jan Jarboe Russell (thank you, Scribner!)
📚 Graceling – Kristin Cashore
📓 In Five Years – Rebecca Serle (thank you, Atria!)
📚 Lore – Alexandra Bracken
📚 Play It As It Lays – Joan Didion
📚 Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – Rae Carson
📓 The Agitators – Dorothy Wickenden (thank you, Scribner!)
📚 The Gilded Ones – Namina Forna
📚 The Mask Falling – Samantha Shannon
📓 The Moonsteel Crown – Stephen Deas (thank you, Angry Robot!)
📚 The Ruthless Lady’s Guide to Wizardry – C.M. Waggoner
GAMING: I haven’t really played many video games. I pop into World of Warcraft every now and then, but I am finding I don’t have the attention span to dedicate myself to anything right now.
TV: Bridgerton is okay so far! I started it but got distracted by other things to watch and read. I really enjoyed The Queen’s Gambit, and WandaVision is amazing. I can’t wait to see how things wrap up.
MOVIES: I watched all three Lord of the Rings films in IMAX in January and reignited my love for that entire story. I was obsessed with LotR when I was a teenager, and seeing them on the big screen again brought back so many emotions and memories. WW84 was definitely better as a theater viewing!
All that’s on my horizon is moving, and I’m looking forward to new beginnings back where I lived before, and this whole time in Colorado will just be a there and back again sort of deal.
A princess in disguise is forced to live with a rogue in order to protect her from danger in this fun, sexy regency romance.
Bow Street agent Sebastien Wolff, Earl of Mowbray, doesn't believe in love―until a passionate kiss with a beautiful stranger in a brothel forces him to reconsider. When the mysterious woman is linked to an intrigue involving a missing Russian princess, however, Seb realizes her air of innocence was too good to be true.
Princess Anastasia Denisova has been hiding in London as plain 'Anna Brown'. With a dangerous traitor hot on her trail, her best option is to accept Wolff's offer of protection―and accommodation―at his gambling hell. But living in such close quarters, and aiding Wolff in his Bow Street cases, fans the flames of their mutual attraction. If Anya's true identity is revealed, does their romance stand a chance? Could a princess ever marry a rogue?
Any book having to do with princesses is likely to be one I’ll enjoy reading a lot, and this one was no exception. In The Princess and the Rogue, Anastasia Denisova is a Russian princess on the run from a man who thinks she has information on him being a traitor, so she settles in as a paid lady’s companionship role in London after running from this man and selling off nearly all of her prized possessions. It is through being this lady’s companion that she meets Sebastian, with whom there’s an immediate connection. In her disguise as “Anna Brown,” she’s able to maneuver through society as a lady’s companion, but the traitor is still hot on her feet, so Sebastian offers her protection. Through all of this and through shared close quarters during her protection, they end up falling for each other.
This is the third and probably final in the Bow Street Bachelors series, and it’s my second favorite! I loved the portrayal of a princess on the run who has to adjust to a different kind of life, and I loved that Anya chose to do it with as much hope and acceptance as possible. I also loved that she had friends who worked in a brothel, and that the inclusion and exploration of these women weren’t demonized or belittled. Anya knew just as well as the women working in the brothel that sometimes life didn’t turn out the way one expects it to turn out.
Overall, this is a fun and fresh historical romance series, and I am very excited to read more of Bateman’s upcoming work! Many thanks to St. Martin’s for a complimentary review copy! All opinions are my own.