Title: The Wicked Heir
Author: Elizabeth Michels
Series: Spare Heirs #3
Genre: Regency Romance
Available: 4th July
The Spare Heirs Society Cordially Invites You to Meet Fallon St. James: The Mastermind
When the love of Lady Isabelle Fairlyn’s life is betrothed to her twin sister, Isabelle vows to find a suitable replacement before the end of the season. He must be a talented dancer, have a keen fashion sense, and be perfectly dashing in every way.
Fallon St. James is the farthest thing from perfectly anything. As head of the secretive Spare Heirs Society, he must stick to the shadows…even as Isabelle’s friendship pulls him reluctantly into the light. But when Isabelle gets involved with the one man who could destroy Spares, Fallon must decide between protecting his life’s work―or risking everything to save the woman whose warm smile leaves him breathless.
Source: ARC from Sourcebooks Casablanca via NetGalley
This is my first book from this series and author and I have mixed feelings about it, because on the one hand I loved Fallon and quite enjoyed the mystery plot, and on the other there’s Isabelle. I tried to like her, truly I did, but every time the story switched to her perspective I was continuously battling the need to put the book down and read something else.
Isabelle is a dreamer, a fantasist and a frequent escapee from reality. This isn’t entirely a bad thing, I have an active imagination and love a bit of whimsy and silly fun, but Isabelle takes it to the extreme. She doesn’t just make up ridiculous stories about people she’s never met, she believes them and really is foolish beyond permission. Which is why she’s in love with a man simply because he winked at her once, believes Fallon is secretly a pirate and is oblivious to real dangers that swirl around her. I feel mean for not liking her, but in truth, there were times when I wanted her to be kidnapped simply to get her out of the story for a bit.
Which is a massive shame, because I genuinely love Fallon. He’s a great character, caring, loyal and a bit of a control freak. He looks after and commands his spare heirs with all the diligence he possesses (which is a lot), all while believing himself cold and worthless. He’s not, he’s wonderful. The way he cares for Isabelle was lovely, even if she didn’t really deserve it at times. I don’t know where he found the patience to deal with her ridiculous stunts, but it just proves what a good man he is, even if I was worried about his sanity at times.
I’d love to be able to say that Isabelle improved or grew on me, and around the halfway mark I had hope, but then came the pigeon scene. It started out as quite amusing, but by the end I wanted her to fall out the window. What really got to me, though, was how selfish she was regarding her sister. Her behaviour there proved she’s not nearly as sweet and lovely as she likes to pretend and I was very disappointed in her.
What didn’t disappoint was the mystery plot. It sneaks and creeps its way in around the romance, showing hints of danger and antagonism here and there, and I really enjoyed it. I loved getting a glimpse of what the Spare Heirs Society is really about and even if this heroine didn’t appeal to me in the slightest, this book still left me wanting to know more about this series and these characters.
So my feelings are mixed. Fallon is a five star hero, the plot was a good four, but Isabelle barely scrapes two stars, leaving me somewhere in the middle. Of course other people’s mileage will vary depending on how much patience they have for Isabelle. Perhaps my own will change when I’ve read more of the series. I guess I’ll have to catch up with the first two books sometime and find out.
The Wicked Heir is out July 4th.
Visit Elizabeth Michels for more details.