The Devil and the Heiress (The Gilded Age Heiresses #2) by Harper St. George (2021)
Violet Crenshaw, a wealthy heiress, knows her father is arranging a marriage for her - but she has other plans, becoming a published author, for one. So, she decides to run away. Christian, Earl of Leigh, is one of those men hoping to marry Violet and he hopes that by escorting her on her journey, maybe she'll fall in love with him. As his feelings grow stronger, he'll have to convince Violet that he's more than his tawdry past. I have to say, I loved Christian - while he has a bit of a past, he seems like he has really changed, and I enjoyed watching his feelings for Violet go from cheeky admiration to complete love. While I thought Violet was a little too naive and child-like at times (to be fair, she is only 19), I admired her desire to become an author and the way she used the people and situations around her as inspiration. The way these two fall in love, basically on an old-fashioned road trip, was unique for me in historical romances, and the twist their story takes in the latter half of the novel was pretty unexpected. 4 stars
Heiresses: The Lives of the Million Dollar Babies by Laura Thompson (2022)
In this nonfiction book, Laura Thompson takes a look at the lives of several heiresses through the course of history and how their inheritances shaped their lives, for better or worse. Heiresses in centuries past had real reason to be scared of kidnappings or forced marriages, as their property automatically became their husband's upon marriage. In later years, and more modern times, women still had fewer rights but could retain more control over their lives, marrying for love instead of a business arrangement, although that still didn't stop men from taking advantage of them. The American "dollar princesses" make an appearance in these pages, which is always an interesting era to read about. I enjoyed the author's writing style, which was entertaining and engaging, particularly for a nonfiction book. The author did go off on a lot of tangents, though, and there were a lot of names to keep track of; sometimes it was difficult to follow the narrative. I didn't really understand the shoe-horned references to the modern British royal family, either. 3.5 stars
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