TBR Review: The Heiress Effect by Courtney Milan


The Heiress Effect
by Courtney Milan
Series: Brothers Sinister, Book 2
Genre: Historical Romance–1867 England
Published by Courtney Milan, 2013
E-book, Purchased
280 pages
Grade: B+
Synopsis: Miss Jane Fairfield can’t do anything right. When she’s in company, she always says the wrong thing—and rather too much of it. No matter how costly they are, her gowns fall on the unfortunate side of fashion. Even her immense dowry can’t save her from being an object of derision.

And that’s precisely what she wants. She’ll do anything, even risk humiliation, if it means she can stay unmarried and keep her sister safe.

Mr. Oliver Marshall has to do everything right. He’s the bastard son of a duke, raised in humble circumstances—and he intends to give voice and power to the common people. If he makes one false step, he’ll never get the chance to accomplish anything. He doesn’t need to come to the rescue of the wrong woman. He certainly doesn’t need to fall in love with her. But there’s something about the lovely, courageous Jane that he can’t resist…even though it could mean the ruin of them both.

“I worry about you,” he finally said to Free. “I’m afraid that you’re going to break your heart, going up against the world.”

“No.” The wind caught her hair and sent it swirling behind her. “I’m going to break the world.”


“Is it a thorny question of ethics? Or is it the sort of ethical question where the right choice is easy, but the unethical answer is too tempting?”


“And nothing says lace like…more lace.”


  • I’ve mentioned this before, but Courtney Milan does such a good job self-publishing her books.
  • The two main characters–Jane and Oliver–are so well written. I feel I understand them and their motivations. They aren’t perfect people, but they are people I would like to know (if I knew to look beneath the surface).
  • Oliver is the illegitimate son of a Duke. He went to Eton, but wasn’t liked by many of the other students. They felt he didn’t know his place. Slowly he learns he has to keep quiet even though he’s determined to make his mark. I like the fact that Oliver realizes the man who raised him is his father–not the man who sired him. And Oliver loves his mother, father and half-sisters. I like that!
  • Most people don’t look below Miss Jane Fairfield’s surface. She hides in plain sight by dressing in brightly colored often clashing colors with three or four different kinds of lace or perhaps beads. She talks loudly and often says impertinent things to people. Society people laugh at her behind her back. They are polite to her face since she’s an heiress with $100,000 pounds.
  • Oliver comments that poisonous plants and animals are brightly colored to tell everyone “I’m poisonous. Don’t touch!”
  • Jane isn’t easy to know in society since she’s trying to camouflage herself so men won’t want to marry her. If Jane marries she would have to leave Emily with her guardian.
  • The supporting characters in the book are interesting, too. There’s even an additional romance which I enjoyed and continues the theme of the book–look below the surface.
  • The book isn’t a fluffy romance. The characters in the book face hard decisions.
  • I like the way history and politics are woven into the story. The Reform Act is an important part of 1867 England. Courtney Milan makes use of this very effectively in her book. Oliver is trying to get the Reform Act to pass in Parliament even though as the bastard son of a Duke he can’t be a member of Parliament. Of course, if the Reform Act passes the common man will have more say in government. And Oliver plans to be an influence in the future.
  • Oliver is very ambitious and will do almost anything to get the Act passed. Perhaps even humiliate Jane.
  • When this part of the book come to light–humiliate Jane and get a number of Lords willing to support the Act, my first thought was “Oh, no, I don’t want to read a book where a main character humiliates another character.” I should have known Ms. Milan would turn this idea on it’s head.
  • Oliver feels it’s impossible for him to love Jane, because as a bastard he has to be above reproach. Jane is too loud, too opinionated, too badly dressed and doesn’t know how to act in society.
  • During the course of the book, Jane learns to value herself and not compromise who she is.


  • Oliver almost goes too far when he continues to accept other people’s views of both Jane and himself.

And a few thoughts . . .

  • I don’t read many romances these days, but I still have a few auto-buy authors. Courtney Milan is one of these authors. She writes such good books. I’m interested in the people she writes about as well as the time periods she writes about.
  • I’ve had this book for about a year so it was definitely time to read it.
  • The suggested type of book for the August book for the TBR Challenge is to have luscious love scenes. This book is definitely not erotica, but there are some love scenes so that’s close enough for me!

Have you read this book? How did you like it?