Rules for Heiresses by Amalie Howard

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rules for Heiresses opens with an explosion of romance tropes all smashed together into one big messy but delightful chapter: heroine in disguise, compromising situation, heroine on the run, marriage of convenience, childhood friends turned enemies to lovers, and then toss in an initially dislikeable alpha hero who is rather a Cinderella in his own right.

As the story continues, some of these tropes are put on the shelf as the marriage of convenience plays itself out. From the island setting of Antigua, West Indies where Lady Ravenna Huntley, sister to a duke, is “forced” into marriage to Courtland “Cordy” Chase who has just inherited a dukedom, we travel to the backdrop of ton London during the season, where the pair must put on a united front no matter how much angsty pining and fighting are going on in the background.

We all enjoy seeing mean and nasty characters get their comeuppance and this book delivers on that front. In this case, the hero is our both privileged yet despised underdog and his family is so very delightfully easy to detest.

Ravenna is a fantastic heroine. Her encounter with the Green Fairy was a hoot. It took me a while to realize just how much I was enjoying her. She is anachronistically feminist and defiant, bold and beautiful, but it is her witty and unstoppable tongue which made me really love her. The scenes in which she takes on her husband’s family, even when she is furious with him, are immensely satisfying.

There is a little bit of choppiness in the sequence of events, especially at the very beginning, as another reviewer has already pointed out, but most avid readers will easily get past this. The book really begins to shine about 1/3 of the way in, so it is worth the wait.

And the steam! The steam is worth an extra star in itself. Amalie Howard knows how to write beautiful, sizzling scenes.

Thank you to NetGalley for the advance copy!

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