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Publisher's Summary

"Greeley’s storytelling is intricate, masterly, and delightfully imaginative. Highly recommended." (Library Journal

In this gorgeously written and spellbinding historical novel based on Pride and Prejudice, the author of The Clergyman’s Wife combines the knowing eye of Jane Austen with the eroticism and Gothic intrigue of Sarah Waters to reimagine the life of the mysterious Anne de Bourgh.

As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh’s doctor prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.

After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: What if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?

In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge - leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune...and her life.

An extraordinary tale of one woman’s liberation, The Heiress reveals both the darkness and light in Austen’s world, with wit, sensuality, and a deeply compassionate understanding of the human heart.

©2021 Molly Greeley (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers

What listeners say about The Heiress

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Thoroughly Enjoyed

It's starts off slow in the first part but once you get into the second part, it gets going. This book gave me what Greeley's other Pride and Prejudice book didn't. True romance, a protagonist who gets what she wants, and a story that comes full circle.

I sped up the audio to 1.45. I enjoyed the narrator's her voice but she just spoke too slowly for me.

1 person found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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A depressing spinoff of Pride and Prejudice

I found the premise of this book intriguing, but the plot meandered and came to a predictable ending. I would compare this book unfavorably with "The Other Bennett Sister," which is also an attempt to tell the story of one of the minor characters in P&P, but which does so far more successfully and compellingly.

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The perfect narrator to fall asleep to!

Such a soothing listen! Just wishing it was a little longer & a little happier.

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  • JD
  • 03-11-21

Thank you, but no thank you

I appreciate the writing style, which far exceeds that of most Pride and Prejudice off-shoots. The poetic diction is lovely to listen to from a poetry standpoint. But it is long-winded from a novel point of view. Unfortunately, the narrator put me to sleep. I understand the character is lethargic for the much of the book, so I suppose that monotonous tone is a stylistic choice serving to further develop the protagonist. However, I made it halfway through before deciding I can no longer listen to a character who won't stop talking in her head. There is such little dialogue. I am fully aware this stream of consciousness is a tool for the character when coming out of her shell. To be frank, I can only hear so much whining. This character constantly whines about what she cannot do (even look a certain direction) to the point where I have lost all interest in waiting to see when her character develops to an extent where she is a more confident person, which is the whole point of this book. A fair effort, but not a good choice if one is searching for a story with an actual plot.

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Mixed feelings

First of all, I loved the creativity of this. Taking a character that we know almost nothing about in the original work and creating a whole story for her is so creative. There was a lot I liked about this book. I think the reason I couldn’t rate it higher, is that it spent soooo much time going into incredibly detailed descriptions of her time in addiction and all the miseries of her life, then once it finally started to lighten up and get good, it was over so quickly. I wish there had been less time spent focusing on the bad times, and her drugged out dreamscapes, and more spent on her healing journey as she rebuilt her life. Also, Elizabeth Bennet is one of my all time favorite literary characters, and she and her family were not cast In a very favorable light in this, so that made me sad, even though I could see why it was done the way it was. The writing is lovely though, and I liked the narration. It’s a very interesting take on the world of Pride and Prejudice. I still think it’s worth checking out if you’re a Jane Austen fan.

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A Little Lethargic

The story is excellent and the narrator does a fine job, however you should listen to it at a quicker pace (about 1.25) because if not she'll put you to sleep. She's so slow in the way she draws out the words it almost makes the story dreary and blurry. Speeding it up solves this problem.

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A beautiful work of historical fiction

I loved this book. Anne is a heroine you want to root for. The narration was serene and beautiful and, without spoilers, Ell Potter paced herself with the story of the protagonist. Themes of finding one's self, and, in the latter half, a heartbreaking, captivating, and honest depiction of female love between two souls in a hopeless time period. My tears at the end caught me off guard, but they were the welcome kind that only come with a truly gripping story about perseverance, and looking back at one's life journey and finding what matters most.

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Not a pleasant listen

This book is about addiction and lesbianism. It is not a Jane Austen spin off. Don't be fooled.