Book reviews are subjective. I tend to rate books not according to how “perfect” they are, seem to be, or are said to be in general but rather to how perfect they are to me.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
It’s time for the two daughters of a Gilded Age newspaper magnate to make suitable society matches to secure their family’s future. But as both daughters desire to marry for love, it may cost them more than they imagined in Heiress by author Susan May Warren.
I picked up this ChristFic novel in hopes of satisfying my mood for lush historical entertainment dripping with diamonds, even if the novel could possibly turn out to be a proverbial “lifestyles of the rich and miserable” tale.
Granted, as I read the first few chapters, it was almost like the characters were checking off prescribed boxes, thinking thoughts and making the expected comments for “character types” in period dramas like this. I found the emotional development to be bumpy early on as the key players would jump from one sudden feeling or pivotal decision to the next. Also, throughout the book, sometimes the odd placing or omission of dialogue tags and action beats would make it tricky to tell which character had said what.
Still, I remained interested during every scene, which isn’t that common when I read longer novels these days.
Then, the read eventually took a more substantive hold on me as it addressed social issues of the shifting period. Immigrants. Poverty. Racism. Endangered buffalo. Laborers. Labor unions. Labor strikes. Robber barons. Corrupt politicians controlling corrupt lawmen. Women’s suffrage. World war. And the growth and grit of a particular character moved me from only being interested in the plot to being invested in it.
Now, considering the way that natural senses work, one huge “whoopsie” that involves two of the characters is an unconvincing twist from the start. Also, what was seemingly supposed to be a major surprise late in the story wasn’t a surprise to me, due to an earlier lack of fundamental evidence that would have made the late twist a surprising one.
Yet, one aspect I appreciate most about this story is that the faith thread doesn’t follow a stereotypical pattern that some ChristFic does—the pattern that makes the Sinner Characters’ lives all bad and nothing but sad because the whole point is to make them get saved (so then good and happy things can finally happen to them).
The novel’s rising conflict and critical climax had an unrelenting grip on me. I was emotionally floored and hungry for more by the end, and I’m so looking forward to continuing the Daughters of Fortune series.
Here’s my review of the next book in the series, Baroness.