The Heiresses (#1) by Allison Rushby

Published: May 7th 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Pages: 352
Format: Book
Genre: New Adult Historical
★   ★   ★   ★   ★  – 5 Stars

When three teenage girls, Thalia, Erato and Clio, are summoned to the excitement of fast-paced London–a frivolous, heady city full of bright young things–by Hestia, an aunt they never knew they had, they are shocked to learn they are triplets and the rightful heiresses to their deceased mother’s fortune. All they need to do is find a way to claim the fortune from their greedy half-brother, Charles. But with the odds stacked against them, coming together as sisters may be harder than they think.

I discovered this book when I read a guest post by Rushby on S.I.K Book Reviews and a giveaway was running for her book. I loved how exciting and intriguing this book sounded and so I entered…and I then maybe went blog stalking where others had the giveaway to enter on their blogs as well. Needless to say this blog stalking and persistence paid off because I won myself copy. And I was so glad I did, it was excellent.

Set in 1920s London, The Heiresses follows these three young women who are growing up, discovering their lives are not what they thought them to be, and fighting to claim what is rightfully theirs. The premise of the story and introduction to the world is done well; within the first few pages you are able to capture a mystery and a great confusion that tells you that there are a lot of answers and things to discover. The prologue sets up the story well, we are shown a snippet of the past, but all of the things that are not said make up for the rest of the novel where you are searching for answers.

The idea of The Heiresses is really good. In an age before DNA, with aristocracy and titles, riches and reputation to consider, making sure the right heirs are given the right privileges is imperative. The process the three girls go through in order to find the truth is very clever but also personal and emotional as well.

The journey the girls have in finding more about this family they knew nothing about and in a new environment of London and society is great. We see how the three react, adjust, and cope in the new life with ties to their former home being severed or being used to pull them back again. There is a lot of history in the book, the suffragettes and the modern age is developing and the social consequences are paramount.

Their aunt, Hestia, is a modern woman with her own ideas and her own home, which helps the girls, but hinders them at the same time. The darker sides of the twenties are also shown but nothing is spelled out exactly which is creative. In a very clever approach Rushby implies a lot, or makes brief references without having to state things outright. This is quite effective because it allows the reader to make connections themselves and gives them credit to read between the lines.

Because of the historical era we are also exposed to the wonderful fashion and technology that 1920s London was experiencing. Rushby uses these things, especially the fashion and the motor cars, as a device to show us not just how London was as a city, but to demonstrate further who these three teenagers are. As a result we get a great sense that these eighteen year olds are starting their adult life and finding their place in this new world.

A lot of the book is the relationship and life the three girls have rather than directly focusing on the Charles issue which was interesting. As the book went on I was unsure where this would lead since there were no dramatic conflicts and strong focus on what I thought was the main reason the girls were brought together for. Of course there are conflicts, and I suppose this reflects the reality aspect a lot, there are times when you cannot go in guns blazing ready to fight. In that regard I think Rushby portrayed it well.

As the pages start to lessen and you start to think that the ending will be rushed or somehow the sequel will have to continue this aspect of the story but no. Rushby manages to wrap up the novel beautifully without rushing. Everything is answered in a satisfactory manner and when it finishes you get a sense of where everyone is going.

We get the sense that these characters will be ok in the lives they have created for themselves and after passing through the mess of jealousy, drama, greed, and secrets, isn’t that all you can hope for for them. I look forward to reading the sequels and seeing what else is in store for these siblings.

You can also read an interview with Rushby did with Bookish Comforts about her book.

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