Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: Review Copy from Publisher
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – I’ll read whatever Syrie James writes. After adoring her biographical fiction novels about Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë, I did not hesitate to read her two vampire-inspired novels, even though vampires were not (and are still not) my thing! And wow, did I love those epic and passionate tales! Now once again, Ms. James is bringing me into new territory – a Victorian-era romance set against the fascinating backdrop of England during the late 1880s! A time where titled aristocrats with crumbling family estates were bankrupt and happily marrying American heiresses eager to join the aristocracy.
In this first installment of this series readers meet Alexandra Atherton who is running away from her mother and trying to get back home to America. It appears Alexandra’s ambitious and social-climbing mother has accepted a marriage proposal on her behalf to a detestable and disgusting Viscount. But Alexandra’s flight does not go as planned and after a series of unfortunate mishaps she is left without belongings or funds and at the mercy of strangers. She does not have any money for a ticket home, but Alexandra is determined to do what it takes to avoid her mother’s domineering machinations even if it means practicing deception and using a false name…
But it appears that Alexandra isn’t the only one who is deceiving others…Alexandra’s rescuer, Thomas Carlyle, a lowly but talented artist has some secrets as well…such as the fact that he is an impoverished earl that paints portraits to support his ancestral home. In an effort to help each other, Alexandra accepts a temporary position as a governess to Thomas’s two sisters (who apparently have scared off several governesses before) to earn money for her ticket home. The only problem is…Alexandra is not a governess and has little experience being one! Can she keep up the deception? Should she reveal to Thomas who she really is when they start to establish a closer relationship? What happens when the truth comes out?
Oh! What a riveting romantic adventure! I absolutely adored our hero and heroine in this tale! From the very first page I was hooked in and fully entranced by their stories! I love how outspoken and fearless Alexandra is – even when she is acting as a governess, she isn’t afraid to speak up and ask for better books and meals for her charges. And I greatly enjoyed her relationships with Thomas’s sisters and the reading material she encouraged them to enjoy (Jane Eyre and Jane Austen fans will be pleasantly surprised!)! Furthermore, I took pleasure in our mysterious and broody earl, and I enjoyed discovering what events from his past and upbringing made him that way. However, what truly was the best was seeing these two characters share moments together – their intoxicating chemistry, their mesmerizing attraction, and the consuming fire that burns brightly when they are together. It was sublime!
In addition, I loved the setting and historical backdrop of this story. I loved learning about this time period and understanding the social and economic struggles of this time. I’m sure there were many overly ambitious mothers like Mrs. Atherton who would sacrifice their daughter’s happiness for a chance to become one of “Mrs. Astor’s 400.” And whether due to the shift towards industrialization or the negligence of previous generations, I’m sure there were many estate owners facing the same struggles the Earl of Langford faced. I loved how Ms. James not only chose to write in such an interesting time period, but also interwove the challenges and changes of this time so seamlessly into her story.
With her new release, Runaway Heiress, Syrie James delivers a compelling and exhilarating romantic adventure that is sure to charm and engage readers and lovers of historical romance, full of simmering chemistry and wonderful homages to Austen and the Brontës. I could not put it down!
Note: Recommended for Mature Audiences due to the inclusion of a few intimate scenes and descriptions.
Second Note: Even though this book does not have strong connections to Jane Austen or anything Austenesque I thought it still might be helpful to review it here for readers who, like myself, are fans of Syrie James. 🙂
In a fortuitous turn of events I happen to have a second copy of Syrie James’s new release – Runaway Heiress – in paperback and I thought it would be fun to give this lovely book away to a lucky winner from this blog!
To enter this giveaway, leave a comment about my review!
- This giveaway is open to US addresses.
- This giveaway ends July 18th!