I enjoyed Sara Ramsey’s pleasant Regency romance, Heiress Without A Cause, for many reasons. For one thing, when we first meet her, the heroine Madeleine is ambitious and interested in art. She’s leading a scandalous secret life as a French actress, using the pseudonym of Marguerite, and playing the lead role in Hamlet to great acclaim. My quibble with Madeleine is that once she falls in love with the hero, Ferguson, she’s willing to leave her career behind; her love for him replaces her ambition and interest in performance. Of course, to remain reasonably respectable, it would’ve been nearly impossible for someone of Madeleine’s social class to keep acting, but it’s too bad she gives up on that career so easily.
The hero, Ferguson, is a little more typical of what you’d expect a Regency hero to be: handsome, brooding yet sensitive, moneyed, and great in the sack. It’s easy to understand why Madeleine becomes interested in him so quickly. Yet, in a refreshing twist from romantic convention, she sleeps with him before acknowledging she’s in love with him. At the beginning, at least, she’s more interested in physical pleasure than emotional commitment. Of course, that emotional commitment follows—this wouldn’t be a romance without it, after all.
Finally, Heiress Without A Cause is full of interesting secondary characters, and Ramsey shows us just enough of them to leave us wanting more. What will happen to Madeleine’s cousin Amelia, who’s also committed to making art? (Amelia, a writer, might be the most career-oriented female character I’ve come across in Regency books.) Then there’s her handsome brother Alex, the earl—he shouldn’t be left on the shelf either. And what about Ferguson’s sisters, Ellie—the widow with a dark romantic past—and the young twins Kate and Maria? Each of these individuals would make an interesting main character in another book.
A final note: when I finished reading, I was surprised to learn that Heiress Without A Cause is technically the prequel to another work by Ramsey, Scotsmen Prefer Blondes. This book stands on its own, so I imagine that Ramsey’s other works do, too. However, it’ll probably be even more fun to read them once you know that many of her characters might turn out to be familiar faces.
Rachel, who has a Ph.D. in English, is a freelance writer/editor and a voracious reader. You can talk to her about books at http://twitter.com/writehandmann.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by the Sara Ramsey. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.