The Heiress Bride
This is the third and final book in the Duke’s Heiress series. I chose it because I remember enjoying the author’s Seducers series back in the early 2000’s. The hero of this book is Nicholas Radnor, the Duke of Hollinburgh, who inherited his title and lands when his eccentric Uncle Frederick died by falling off a roof. Not only does Frederick’s death seem suspicious, rather inexplicably, his uncle left his fortune to three young women.
The story opens when beautiful Iris Barrington comes to see Nicholas at his London home. She’s there to request that he fulfil a promise made by his uncle to help her find a special manuscript, a Psalter, that was bought by Nicholas’ grandfather. Nicholas can’t believe his luck when she appears because Iris is the third heiress he and his cousins have been searching for. Iris is surprised when Nicholas tells her she has inherited a fortune from his uncle. She will have to prove her identity before she can receive her inheritance which will take a few months.
Iris finds a small book store near the British Museum that reminds her of her home in Florence and she leases an apartment above the book shop. She and Bridget, the owner, help each other and work to purchase books at auctions. Bridget is a fun character but it’s her feisty cat, King Arthur, that steals the show. Iris and Nicholas meet again at an auction and he saves her from being run over by a runaway carriage. There are more attempts on their lives, even some poisoned lemon tarts, but they are not sure which one of them is being targeted. Together, they must work to solve both the mystery of Frederick’s death and of the threats to Iris.
Iris is a wonderful character. She is intelligent, especially with her dealings in rare books and art. Nicholas admires Iris but doesn’t quite trust her. He hires her to catalog his library, which gives them a chance to get to know each other and makes it possible for Iris to look for the missing book that she believes is part of his collection. It was wonderful to watch Iris discover and deal with valuable books and art. For her part, Iris admires Nicholas tall, ‘exceedingly handsome’ looks.
Nicholas has a large family with matchmaking aunts. They throw a house party and include Iris, and the other two heiresses, Rosamund and Minerva, whom Iris has become friends with. Iris sees it as a way to continue her search for the Psalter. It is wonderful to watch Nicholas become closer to Iris both emotional and physically, especially when they spend an afternoon swimming in a pond. There is also a beautiful and very wealthy heiress, Miss Paget, that Nicholas’ aunt Dolores invites to the house party in the hopes that Nicholas will propose to her, which causes problems for Nicholas and Iris. Miss Paget has a massive dowry and Iris knows that Nicholas needs money to run his estates. Also Miss Paget is part of the aristocracy, and Iris is not.
I found myself rooting for Nicholas and Iris but I was wishing I had already read the first two books in the series so I would be more familiar with Nicholas’ family. It is a large family and sometimes it was hard for me to keep track of who was who. The ending felt a little abrupt; I hoped to see a little more of Nicholas and Iris once they were a couple. I did like the twist at the end and enjoyed all of the mysteries in this story as well as the slow burn romance. I recommend this for readers who like historical romance with a mystery.
Kayne Spooner is a retired science teacher, dog owner, and proud grandma who lives in beautiful Colorado. While she's an avid reader of all genres, romances have always swept her off her feet. Kayne gravitates toward stories with humor, swoon-worthy love interests, and memorable furry sidekicks, although really, if there's a happy ever after, she's here for it! She loves sharing her passion for books with the romance community and connecting with fellow readers. https://www.instagram.com/kspoonerfish/.
|Review Date:||May 24, 2023|
|Book Type:||European Historical Romance | Historical Romance|
|Review Tags:||Duke's Heiress series|
I found the book underwhelming: mystery passable and romance moderately charming. The hero is a cookie-cutter aristocrat and the heroine, as she is likely to be in the current crop of historicals, a thoroughly modern woman, antiques books dealer, shrewd, scholarly, who travels alone all across Europe and sexually much experienced. As for it being a historical novel, it is so only in the most generic sense. The setting—food, dress, conversational style, architecture, are all described in such general terms, you actually cannot determine in which period it is set. It could be post Regency, Early Victorian or even 21st century! There should be tags for such novels “period undetermined”, “generic historical”.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. You mentioned about Iris traveling alone across Europe and this is something I wondered about also. I thought her traveling was discussed because it was the reason why Nicholas couldn’t originally find her but I don’t recall that she went into much detail about her travels and I would have enjoyed hearing more about them. But I enjoyed Iris, especially her knowledge of books and art and the witty banter between her and Nicholas.
I liked Iris too—she is smart, savvy, independent, an expert in her trade (and sexually liberated too). She’s almost a 20th century character. And I enjoyed the banter between her and Nicholas. But these alone do not make up for other deficiencies in the novel. At one point, Iris reminisces about traveling to Milan to sell books. She also tells the hero that she knows a buyer for his valuable vase in Paris. It would have been dangerous then even for men to travel with valuables, let alone a woman. If the author had described the difficulties Iris would have encountered as a woman plying her trade, her character would have had more credibility. She does nothing of that sort. Less said about the fudging of historic specificity. There is just one nugget that is slipped (one character does not buy American cotton for his mills on moral grounds) and that sets the time period of the story before 1860. Otherwise the details are so vague, to call it a historic novel is false advertisement.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in this series. Time to read the two newest!
On the TBR pile!
I liked this book a lot–it might be a DIK for me. Iris is wonderful and the banter she and Nicholas share is so droll. Hunter resolved her long-running mystery well too.
I am so glad you enjoyed it! I liked both Rosamund and Minerva and want to read their stories next.
This is my favorite.
Thank you for sharing. I will check it out!