‘Heiress’: A Historical Romance Set in the Gilded Age

October 22, 2011 Rissi JC 6 Comments

STORY: Privileged sisters from the same household want for nothing, but grow to be very different women. The elder, Esme believes in good deeds and providing for those less fortunate for her. Younger, Jinx is the good girl willing to do whatever it takes to make her family happy.

With no desire to marry, Esme spurs her father’s plans for her, and his chosen match, and leaves her family behind, leaving Jinx to marry the man she leaves behind. Neither of them realizing that tragedy may be the only thing that can bring them together again.

Heiress, by Susan May Warren | Book Review

REVIEW: Susan May Warren is a first-class author. She always pens them with such skill, and she transfers between genres effortlessly. To be honest, Heiress gets off to a rough start. The writing is a little confusing, and as a reader, I’m never sure if I’m in Eseme’s or Jinx’s head. All of those doubts are gone by chapter two as the novel settles into an easy pattern. What I can say is, this novel is reminiscent of Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South or the acclaimed ITV series Downton Abbey. Needless to say making this distinction only fuels my enchantment of this novel. I adore ‘Downton,’ and I love this book.

Heiress is rich in period detail and that perhaps, is its crowning achievement.  

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The better part of this story is dark; it’s depressing. Its backdrop is that of a fairytale world but its characters are living anything but the life of one. The novel divided into four parts. The first is about the sisters, and then each gets a section of pages devoted to their individual story before it closes with their lives intertwining again. One minor complaint I would have is the alarming rate at which the novel moves. It begins in the late 1800’s and nears the roaring twenties era before it reaches completion. As there is to be subsequent story, I wish Warren had slowed time; it spans about twenty years. The series is going to be generational as I understand, so that likely plays a role in the timeframe. I will also admit that ALL THE TRAGEDY (it doesn’t let up) seems unrealistic. Still…

I cannot remember the last time a novel so enthralls. It had been weeks, months even, since I devoured one so quickly. I could not put this book down. It’s powerful yet enchanting, and that is good storytelling. Not much of the story relies on faith or a personal relationship with God. Neither Jinx or Esme accept that God might bless them because of their past “sins.” The one conversation that explores this topic is brief but impacting.

Heiress is a riveting read. Warrens has another beautiful novel with the ability to move her reader to tears but yet, even with an ending bordering on depressing, leaves us with a ghost of a smile. A must-read for any historical fiction aficionado. Heiress is story-telling at its best, all in the capable hands of one very talented author.

‘Heiress’: A Historical Romance Set in the Gilded Age. A review of the first book in the 'Daughters of Fortune' saga. #FWArchives #Books #BookLovers #BookTwitter #HistoricalFiction Click To Tweet


(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Susan May Warren
Publisher: Summerside Press
Publication Date: 2011
Author: Susan May Warren
Series: Daughter of Fortune – Book 1
Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance, Historical
Shop the Book: Amazon | Bookshop.org | Goodreads

Content: this is inspirational fiction, so there’s nothing graphic in this book, but there is lots of sorrow, and thematic elements. There is lots of discussion about adultery, some sexual content, including discussions about sex.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Annie October 24, 2011 at 1:59 AM

    It sounds like a good book: I'll have to put it on my list of ones to read!

  • Rissi October 24, 2011 at 4:09 PM

    This is totally worth checking out, Annie. It can be "depressing" but something about it is really beautiful.


  • Best of 2012 | Finding Wonderland May 27, 2019 at 12:23 PM

    […] all-around, I fell completely, head-over-heels in love with Warren’s debut novel in this series, Heiress. It reminded me of the ITV series Downton Abbey in ways that I cannot explain but was also a dark, […]

  • […] BOOK REVIEW | Heiress by Susan May Warren […]

  • […] aptitude, I fall completely, head-over-heels in love with Warren’s debut novel in this series, Heiress. It reminds me of the ITV series Downton Abbey but is also a dark, brooding sort of “fairy […]

  • Favorites from 2011 | Finding Wonderland March 10, 2021 at 11:26 PM

    […] Heiress is a dark fairy-tale that is somehow really enchanting. Susan is a first-class author and I am eagerly looking forward to the sequel, Baroness.   […]

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