The Heiress Effect (Brothers Sinister, #2) - Courtney Milan

loved The Heiress Effect. I’m going to talk about it, but first I’m going to ramble a moment.

If you read romances with any frequency, you run across the books out there where the entire plot of the book is about getting two people in the sack. For all the pseudo-problems that H/hr face, at the end of the day it’s all about the race to the bedroom. For readers who’ve read a fair share of historical romances they know how those plots play out.

First 30% is our H/hr introduction and the hijinks that go with it.
Around 30% Smooching will occur, it will be explosive.
Then the 30-50% mark will be filled with heated moments and vows to get our heroine in to Hero’s bed, or sometimes vice versa.
There’s the moment about 60-70% in where the mind-blowing bedding will happen followed by THE REALLY BAD THING that destroys H/hr. That brings us to the last 80%-100% where all running around to smooth feathers occurs and ooey-gooey apologies prevail. HEA!

When a book’s sole plot is how to bed Hero or Heroine, once that 60% mark hits I get pretty bored. There’s really nothing to the rest…it’s just unraveling whatever mess was caused by sleeping together. Sometimes the author has done a sufficient job with characterization and dialogue that it makes those last pages worth it. Regardless of that, there’s really never a moment when I wonder how or if they’re going to work out. I know they will, and because the plot of the book was centered around getting to the bedroom scene, there’s very little tension after that. Sure, there are pretty words and sweet moments and forgiveness and blah blah blah…but it’s utterly predictable.

Here’s where The Heiress Effect, and previously The Duchess War, brillantly stand out for me…both of these stories go beyond the typical romance. The Heiress Effect is *not* about the carnal moments. It is *not* about outside forces keeping two people who love each other apart or flimsy contrivances used to create a problem between our lovers. Milan’s romances are about intrinsic values and choices which create conflict within her characters. Why is this important? Because it’s believable. It’s realistic. It’s richer.

There are moments in The Heiress Effect where I just did not know how this was going to work out.

Oliver Marshall aspires to be more, do more, conquer more. To do this, he has to follow societies rules – and he stringently follows societies rules – even when it comes to matters of the heart. When he falls in love with the jarringly grating Miss Jane Fairfield, walking away from this phoenix to seek a wren is his only choice according to those rules. Oliver’s internal war is both understandable and heartbreaking.

Jane is a deserving woman - deserving of love, compassion and tenderness. She is far from perfect and actually bordering on eccentric, but she is one of the most brave heroines I’ve read.

I’m not completely decided, but I may have enjoyed these people as individuals more than as a couple, but I don’t find fault in that truthfully.

So with bright, complicated, delicious characters and a believable conflict, why is this not a 5 star-er? The answer: The deflated second half of the book. *Minor Spoiler Warning*

After building up this very stormy and angsty problem between Jane and Oliver, the resolution was disappointingly simple. Some may find this acceptable, but for me after being convinced that Oliver and Jane could not possibly work it’s hard to digest a couple of paragraphs of emotional revelation and get me to believe that everything is hunky-dory. It just makes Oliver seem shallow for not ‘getting it’ before and cheapens his character a bit.

The secondary romance between Emily and Anjan held promise but fell flat in the end. In fact, the secondary romance was really forgotten about. This probably was due to my final gripe…Violet & Sebastian.

Violet and Sebastian’s scene, while amazing (seriously shocked and awed me!), completely took me out of the current story. After that scene I DID NOT CARE about anyone or anything else. I just wanted more of *that* drama, because it was a doozy. I had been wondering about those two in The Duchess War, and well, I don’t need to wonder anymore. The Countess Consipiracy has been introduced, with fireworks. This was really a shame though because we really needed a good closing scene for Emily and Anjan.

All in all, I'm in love with The Brothers Sinister series and really enjoyed this installment. I cannot wait for The Countess Conspiracy and *fingers crossed* hope it lives up to the explosive promise!