STARRED REVIEW
January 2021

The Heiress

Enter Molly Greeley’s novel The Heiress, an entertaining elaboration to satisfy generations of readers who have wondered and theorized about Anne de Bourgh. In perfectly Austenesque style, Greeley reveals the backstory of the Rosings Park heiress and just what made her so sickly, so interesting and so complicated.

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Such is Jane Austen’s brilliance that our obsession with Pride and Prejudice has hardly ceased over the two centuries since its publication. Along with Austen’s ahead-of-her-time ingenuity in creating characters, some might say that her mastery of subplots is what has kept readers talking and wondering for centuries.

Take, for instance, the mystery around Mr. Darcy’s cousin Anne de Bourgh. What we know about her from Austen’s novel is that she was sickly, had an ungodly inheritance and (much to our relief) never ends up marrying Mr. Darcy, as had been arranged since their births. But isn’t there so much more we have wished to know about her?

Enter Molly Greeley’s novel The Heiress, an entertaining elaboration to satisfy generations of readers who have wondered and theorized about Anne. In perfectly Austenesque style, Greeley reveals the backstory of the Rosings Park heiress and just what made her so sickly, so interesting and so complicated.

Anne begins life as a colicky baby, and with a doctor’s recommendation, her mother, Lady Catherine de Bourgh, gives baby Anne opium-heavy laudanum to calm her down. This leads to an addiction that weakens Anne and leaves her in a constant daze, as readers will remember in Pride and Prejudice. But Anne comes to a rare moment of clarity in her late 20s when she questions if her fragility and illness are truly real. Desperate to find out, she flees to London to stay with her cousin Colonel John Fitzwilliam. It’s a move so bold that it paves the path for other bold and unexpected decisions to follow.

Keen observations about society and strong supporting characters make The Heiress a perfectly joyful read.

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The Heiress

The Heiress

William Morrow
ISBN 9780063032002

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