The Heiress Gets a Duke
by Harper St. George
The Gilded Age Heiresses - Book 1
Release Date: January 26, 2021
Reviewed by PJ
American heiress August Crenshaw has aspirations. But unlike her peers, it isn't some stuffy British Lord she wants wrapped around her finger--it's Crenshaw Iron Works, the family business. When it's clear that August's outrageously progressive ways render her unsuitable for a respectable match, her parents offer up her younger sister to the highest entitled bidder instead. This simply will not do. August refuses to leave her sister to the mercy of a loveless marriage.
Evan Sterling, the Duke of Rothschild, has no intention of walking away from the marriage. He's recently inherited the title only to find his coffers empty, and with countless lives depending on him, he can't walk away from the fortune a Crenshaw heiress would bring him. But after meeting her fiery sister, he realizes Violet isn't the heiress he wants. He wants August, and he always gets what he wants.
But August won't go peacefully to her fate. She decides to show Rothschild that she's no typical London wallflower. Little does she realize that every stunt she pulls to make him call off the wedding only makes him like her even more.
I've read other historical romances with wealthy American heiresses and debt-ridden, titled Englishmen at their core. Usually, my allegiance goes to one or the other. Not so in this case. In The Heiress Gets a Duke, both August and Evan are likeable, relatable, and sympathetic characters caught in a web not of their making and I was firmly in both of their corners.
August is more than the blunt-speaking, independent American typically found in these stories. She's an educated, savvy, and well-prepared businesswoman, a shrewd negotiator as comfortable in the boardroom as the men of her family and confident in her position within the family company. Unfortunately, she discovers that the glow of a title is much more attractive to her parents than their daughter's wishes or her business acumen.
Evan was never meant to be duke but after the deaths of his older brother and father, that's exactly where he finds himself. Unfortunately, he's been left with a mountain of debt and hundreds of people depending on him. His secret forays into the world of bare-knuckle boxing have brought in some money but not nearly enough. His path forward, unfortunately, is quite clear. His mother, and August's parents, have their eye on younger sister, Violet for his bride but Evan has only one Crenshaw heiress in his sights. It's August or nothing. Now if he can only convince her they are meant to be.
I loved these two! Their story is filled with witty banter, sizzling chemistry, and refreshingly honest communication...most of the time. It was fun watching them go toe to toe. I also enjoyed watching them slowly open themselves to one another as they each expanded their own emotional horizons. I especially appreciated how Evan liked August not in spite of her honesty, willingness to stand up to him, and refusal to let him get away with anything due to his privilege, but because of it. The more she challenged him, the more certain he became that she was the woman for him. He valued her. And I loved that Evan was much more than the stereotypical English peer, lounging his days away at his club and not taking responsibility for those under his care. He has layers and I am here for them.
This was my first book by Harper St. George. I enjoyed her writing style, her fresh approach to this trope, and, mostly, her characters. I'm intrigued by August's younger sister, Violet, who I'm certain will turn out to be much more devious and independent-thinking than she appears at first glance. I'm hoping her story will include a certain Earl. And I'm definitely intrigued by August and Violet's older brother. I do hope we'll be seeing more of him as well.