... 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 ... Keen observations about society and strong supporting characters make The Heiress a perfectly joyful read.
Fans of Jane Austen’s novel Pride and Prejudice might recall meeting Anne de Bourgh for a hot minute and also hearing her referred to incessantly by her domineering mother, Lady Catherine. The Heiress tells Anne’s story from her point of view ... This book was not what I expected, but I loved it once I adjusted to its tone. While The Heiress contains a romance, it is less about romance and much more about the search of the protagonist for autonomy and purpose in her life. It may not be necessary to have read Pride and Prejudice to enjoy this novel, but the reader should at least have a familiarity with the characters and basic plot ... I was enchanted by the lyrical, descriptive, mood-evoking language in the novel. It is sensorially immersive but also allows the reader to share Anne’s mood. What the book lacks in plot it makes up for in description – assuming that the reader enjoys long descriptive passages such as the one quoted above ... This is a slow-paced, character-based novel, with no major exciting events. Nothing explodes, there are no murders, no high-speed chases. Instead, it’s a quiet, lyrical, moving biography of a remarkable woman who fights a lifetime of gaslighting, abuse and drug dependency to live life on her own terms. A lot of this book was difficult to read because of the gaslighting and abuse, but it is ultimately triumphant. Meanwhile, the prose is gorgeous. This is not the light read I was expecting. It’s so much better, and will delight readers who enjoy beautifully written, historically accurate, feminist, LGBTQIA-friendly fiction with the inclusion of a moving love story.
Molly Greeley’s The Heiress: The Revelations of Anne de Bourgh, inspired by the tertiary character in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, is a pleasant enough – but not remotely revelatory – piece of historical fiction ... Greeley gives her a highly specific voice which is the highlight of the novel ... Her calm narration and her considerate, goodhearted character make her a heroine easy to sympathize with, if not a boldly inspiring one. As you might guess given such a first person narration, the writing tends to the literary and descriptive, so fans of quick, witty dialogue will be disappointed ... The Pride and Prejudice angle is almost totally unnecessary, other than to act as a lure for Jane Austen’s preexisting reader base ... Had The Heiress offered a longer, more complex story rather than a montage of linear, ever-escalating triumphs for its protagonist, it could have been, if not a revelation, more than satisfying.
Greeley (The Clergyman’s Wife) delivers an immersive queer reimagining of Pride and Prejudice character Anne de Bourgh ... Greeley’s expert imaginings of the life of Anne de Bourgh reveal the hidden depths of her character and highlight the societal restrictions of 19th-century women as Anne seeks to overcome her mother’s domineering persona and find happiness. Historical fiction fans will be drawn to Anne’s plight.