Rules for Heiresses

Sourcebooks Casablanca. Oct. 2021. 312p. ISBN 9781728217222. pap. $8.99. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
Lord Courtland Chase must have a card cheat on his hands; that’s the only explanation why the boy opposite him is winning hand after hand, against impossible odds. Chase grabs the young man to confront him and discovers that the boy in his arms is actually his childhood friend and neighbor Lady Ravenna Huntley in disguise. Ravenna stowed away on a ship to Antigua to flee an unwanted engagement and has since been surviving on her wits and her skill at cards. Her discovery by Chase (whom she—and London society—believed to be dead) signals a turn in her luck. When the rules of society force Ravenna and Chase into an unwanted marriage, neither is happy about the change in their circumstances, but they can’t deny the chemistry that sizzles between them. Chase is multiracial, the product of a love match between his English aristocrat father and his Caribbean mother. His birth and peerage gave him the privilege of the upper classes in England, where he grew up, until his stepmother and half-brother chased him out of the country, having convinced him that his heritage made him unworthy of his title. Now he’s built a life in Antigua and swears he’ll never return to England. Ravenna, who’s white and is the sister of a respected duke, has never questioned her place in society. Daring and outspoken, she’s accepted everywhere, even as she flouts societal mandates. Their well-written romance involves espionage, smuggling, and primogeniture; it also explores racial and gender equality, concepts that readers may see as more modern than the setting. Howard (The Beast of Beswick) has seamlessly woven all of these elements into Chase and Ravenna’s story and created a very readable, very relatable novel.
VERDICT This steamy historical romance is recommended for general purchase.
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