This book popped up on my radar a few months ago and I was immediately captivated by the gorgeous cover! So I put the book on hold at my local library and read it over a weekend.
Title: The Heiress Gets a Duke (The Gilded Age Heiresses #1)
Author: Harper St. George
Release date: January 26, 2021
Genre: Historical fiction, romance
Length: 320 pages (paperback)
Synopsis: (via Goodreads) “American heiress August Crenshaw has aspirations. But unlike her peers, it isn’t some stuffy British Lord she wants wrapped around her finger–it’s Crenshaw Iron Works, the family business. When it’s clear that August’s outrageously progressive ways render her unsuitable for a respectable match, her parents offer up her younger sister to the highest entitled bidder instead. This simply will not do. August refuses to leave her sister to the mercy of a loveless marriage.
Evan Sterling, the Duke of Rothschild, has no intention of walking away from the marriage. He’s recently inherited the title only to find his coffers empty, and with countless lives depending on him, he can’t walk away from the fortune a Crenshaw heiress would bring him. But after meeting her fiery sister, he realizes Violet isn’t the heiress he wants. He wants August, and he always gets what he wants.
But August won’t go peacefully to her fate. She decides to show Rothschild that she’s no typical London wallflower. Little does she realize that every stunt she pulls to make him call off the wedding only makes him like her even more.”
Overall an enjoyable read but I felt like it was missing something. I liked the premise of the book, of an American heiress and a British nobleman going head to head as we’re so often given books with two British main characters. I liked the contrast between the “new money” that has caused New Yorkers and other wealthy American families to shun the Crenshaws and that of the Duke of Rothschild’s title as something to moon over in the eyes of an American audience, not to mention the fact that no one really knows he’s quite poor and definitely needs that American “new money.”
I always liked the entire “I want something in my life that I alone chose” in Evan’s life, along with August’s fear of losing the one thing in life—her position in her father’s company—that she feels like she finally chose. …Or did she? We see a bit of the breakdown in this father and daughter relationship and how much a tie to the British nobility would raise the Crenshaws in the eyes of New York society.
I liked how Evan simply didn’t feel like a stuffy nobleman who needed to be handled (in a sense) like in so many books I’ve read before. There’s attraction, yes, but it felt less like the aggressive, alpha male vibe of other historical romances and more of an understanding that if August doesn’t choose him, then he’ll let her go. Yes, there are sexual advances but it’s not over-the-top. I liked how August saw through a few of the “schemes” Evan tried to pull. You were able to see that the two are dedicated individuals but both in the own spheres of their lives—August to ensure the employees are taken care of, and Evan that his tenants stay and flourish.
And yet… The romance. I felt like I was grasping at straws in a way. I want something all-consuming and powerful and this wasn’t wholly there. And perhaps that had to do with the reluctance on August’s part, especially when we discovered why Evan really needs an American heiress to begin with. She pokes at him in a figurative sense and he seems to like it but… I don’t know. I can’t really put my finger on why I wasn’t super convinced of their romance. I did like that he respected her and her wishes and really tried to convince August to believe otherwise but with good intentions, like he needed August to really see what she needed.
I notice that there’s already as a sequel about Violet and Evan’s friend, the Earl of Leigh. I’m intrigued about how the author will bring those two characters together but… I’m not quite sure I want to read it as I didn’t wholly love this first book.
You can check out these other reviews:
- Cheryl at Book Love Blog enjoyed this book enough to want to reread it immediately!
- Tej at Readaholic Book Reviews gave this book 4 stars!
- Jodi at Bibliostatic wrote an excellent review and I absolutely love all the quotes she chose to share.