cover image The Unexpected Heiress

The Unexpected Heiress

Kaitlin O’Riley. Zebra, $7.99 mass market (336p) ISBN 978-1-4201-4467-3

In O’Riley’s mixed final Hamilton Cousins romance (after The Irish Heiress) a lackluster pairing navigates a lush, well-rendered Victorian London. Twenty-year-old Meredith Remington, a gorgeous American heiress, would rather be writing novels than husband hunting. But with her father’s company on the brink of bankruptcy, she sets sail to London to get a ring on her finger before anyone can learn her true financial circumstances. There she meets 24-year-old Phillip Sinclair, the Earl of Waverley, a toxic combination of extreme privilege, lust, and debauchery. His private agony, he tells Meredith, is that no one appreciates how hard it is to be an earl. Though Meredith has a respectable duke on the hook, and Phillip introduces his mistress to Meredith in a very public display, Meredith can’t fight her feelings for the roguish earl and impulsively falls into bed with him. The characters’ juvenile choices will have readers struggling to sympathize, but cameos from the cast of previous books keep things entertaining, the period details are delightful, and the lovers’ tryst in a bookstore is worth dreaming about. Despite its flaws, series fans will be glad for this final trip with the Hamilton family. Agent: Jane Dystel, Dystel, Goderich & Bourret. (Aug.)