Desert Isle Keeper
An Heiress to Remember
Life is pretty scary right now, and diversions can feel few and far between, but don’t despair! Maya Rodale’s An Heiress to Remember, the third installment in her Gilded Age Girls’ Club series, made me smile pretty much from start to finish. On the surface, it’s a light-hearted love story, but if you dig a little deeper, you’ll find a ton of female empowerment, something I can’t get enough of these days.
I’ve read and loved the previous two books in the series, but it’s okay if this is your first foray into this world because An Heiress to Remember stands very well on its own. If you’ve read the other books, you’ll recognize a few of the supporting characters, but the plot of this novel doesn’t hinge on the books that came before it.
At thirty-six, Beatrice Goodwin returns home to Manhattan in a cloud of scandal. She’s recently divorced from an English duke, and her mother is terrified no respectable man will want anything to do with her. For her part, Beatrice has no intention of finding another husband. Instead, she dreams of saving her family’s department store, a business her brother is currently running into the ground and is on the verge of selling.
Wes Dalton wasn’t born with a silver spoon in his mouth. In fact, he grew up extremely poor and has fought hard for the wealth and power he now possesses. When he was much younger, he fell hard for Beatrice Goodwin, but his lack of social standing made him a less than ideal marriage prospect. Ever since Beatrice turned her back on him in favor of a duke, Wes has been plotting revenge, and now, with her family business nearly decimated, he’s ready to sweep in and buy it out from under her.
Beatrice is determined to return Goodwin’s to its former glory, and if that means surpassing the success of Wes’s wildly profitable store – which is located just across the street – that’s all the better. She once loved Wes more than she thought possible, but now, so many years later, she’s not sure love is worth the heartache it’s been known to cause. To her way of thinking, it’s far more sensible to focus on something practical.
What follows is a truly delightful romp through Gilded Age New York. Wes and Beatrice have pretty intense feelings for one another, and not all these feelings are friendly. Each has been deeply hurt by the other, and it takes them quite a while to work through those past transgressions. I worried I might get bored by their very slow journey toward a happily ever after, but Ms. Rodale did a fantastic job holding my interest. The principles are inherently likable and the angst that exists between them is easy to understand and relate to.
Things heat up pretty drastically about two-thirds of the way through the novel, and I loved the chemistry that blossomed between Wes and Beatrice. Their relationship is still fraught with tension, but both are working hard to figure things out. They each make mistakes, something I appreciated since perfect characters don’t make for very interesting stories.
The rivalry between the two is just as entertaining as the passion. Both are smart and resourceful, and I wasn’t always sure who would come out on top. I loved watching them work tirelessly to best one another, even though it was clear to me they were far stronger together than they ever would be apart. Watching them come to this realization made for one of the most enjoyable reading experiences I’ve had in quite some time.
Beatrice is a woman far ahead of her time, and while some readers might find her historically inaccurate, I unrestrainedly adored her. She isn’t always secure in herself, but she doesn’t allow her fear to cripple her. She learns to trust her own judgement as well as that of the other powerful, resourceful women who make up her social circle. She knows what she wants, and she isn’t afraid of doing whatever it takes to achieve her dreams. I was also pleased by the author’s choice to make her older than a lot of the heroines who populate many of today’s historical romances.
I could go on and on about how fabulous this book is, but I’d much rather you pick it up and discover it’s magic for yourself. An Heiress to Remember proved to be everything I didn’t know I needed this spring, and I’m so excited for the world to embrace Wes and Beatrice the way I did.