The Philadelphia Heiress
Grade : B-

The Philadelphia Heiress is very typical of its genre. You get some soapy romantic conflict, you get some exotic locations, and you get a love triangle. The book is somewhat hampered by dull prose, but, overall, it’s a decent work of fiction.

It is 1924, and Helen Montgomery’s whole social life is based around the Philadelphia Main Line, a social plateau that contains the cream of Pennsylvania society. But Helen’s no typical society gal; she really just wants to be home at the family farm, where she has ambitions to create her own line of cheeses. But sudden social pressure stirred up by her father’s humiliating infidelity with a showgirl endangers the family fortune and forces Helen to enter the social whirl to find a rich man to marry.

She manages to land a nice husband in railroad company heir Edgar Scott, who yearns to be a writer. Their match is made out of physical attraction and a need to shore up the family finances, but it seems that all might come up roses for them. Edgar and Helen soon fall in with the smart set of American expats whose parties rule Paris and Rome, but both Edgar’s drinking and Helen’s choice to suck up to certain old-money types drive a wedge between them. Helen decides to decamp for America, where the business begins to thrive. When Helen suspects her husband of infidelity and a handsome man named Roger enters the picture and threatens to sweep her off her feet, will Edgar and Helen be able to weather the storm?

It's a complicated story. The Philadelphia Heiress is both interesting – a peak into what the agricultural industry looked like in the 1920s and a visit with the glittering author types of the period – and torpid, with spates of turgid prose. Helen is an interesting, uncompromising woman, and Edgar occasionally rises to meet her needs. She has a sister who chooses a slightly more conventional life, marrying a man who gets caught cheating at a Harvard exam, but running away to live it on her own terms. The sister’s life sounded more interesting even at a distance.

We get to meet the Fitzgeralds, of course, as Edgar’s literary aspirations nearly bloom. The research here is excellent, the ideas of the characters interesting in general. But The Philadelphia Heiress stumbles with prose that undoes all of the unique things it attempts.

Reviewed by Lisa Fernandes
Grade : B-

Sensuality: Warm

Review Date : March 31, 2024

Publication Date: 03/2024

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Lisa Fernandes

Lisa Fernandes is a writer, reviewer and recapper who lives somewhere on the East Coast. Formerly employed by Firefox.org and Next Projection, she also currently contributes to Women Write About Comics. Read her blog at http://thatbouviergirl.blogspot.com/, follow her on Twitter at http://twitter.com/thatbouviergirl or contribute to her Patreon at https://www.patreon.com/MissyvsEvilDead or her Ko-Fi at ko-fi.com/missmelbouvier
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