Seducing the Heiress
St. Martin’s, Dec 1 2009, $7.99
Viscount Colin Byrd needs to marry a wealthy heiress rather quickly to pay off his debts. He targets Miss Portia Crompton who grew up in India and only recently returned home with her family. Colin knows it will not be easy as he is blackballed for killing his father, leaving his mother rusticate, and has exorbitant gambling debts. He sneaks into a ball hosted by his family’s enemy the Duke of Albright and meets Portia by throwing strawberries at insulting Mrs. Bardsley. However, Albright kicks him out before he can make much progress. His plan remains the same to get Portia to love him so she will marry him, but has had problems seeing her as her parents banned him.
Portia is unhappy as she has not received a letter from her beloved Maharajah Arun in a year. They fell in love, but his dad rejected her and her parents rushed her back to London. Portia is home alone with her sisters and the servants when she finds Colin in her room. Unafraid Portia asks about his dad and if he would pursue her if she was broke. He says his father died in a tragic accident, and her money made him aware of her, but since he met her he would pursue her. Meanwhile Albright does what he can to paint Colin as a killing wastrel, bur Portia is attracted to him anyway while the truth remains to be seen through a hazy web of lies.
The changing relationship between the lead couple is superbly developed so that the audience can see and understand the metamorphosis of both of them. Her family is terrific as fully developed characters while his mother is so shallow she seems real. Although the villain’s motive does not ring true especially since he conceals his deep anger so effortlessly, fans will enjoy this entertaining historical romance as nothing is quite like it seems.