Johanna Lindsey takes her 36th novel to the ballrooms and estates of Regency England. While she has visited the era before, this is her first attempt to write a novel in the style of a traditional Regency.
Sadly, the attempt is not successful. When it works, the tone of a traditional Regency is light but captivating. The tone of the opening paragraphs crosses over into shallowness, almost a forced gaiety that makes it difficult to care much for the couple, Duncan and Sabrina, even after the narrative style settles down. Jarring the reading further is the flawed premise upon which the main conflict between the hero and heroine is based: Sabrina is doomed to not marry any noble because of family history, yet this history is made more of gossip than scandal. In fact, at times the story itself contradicts this assertion, showing that many know the true circumstances and know that it is not reason for her to stay unwed. Add in secondary characters that outshine Duncan and Sabrina and an unneeded plot twist that truly comes out of the blue, and as a result The Heir doesn’t add to the legacy of wonderful novels Lindsey has written.
Public libraries will want to carry a copy because Lindsey’s readership is vast enough to demand access. Individual readers may find it better to seek out those lending copies or to reread a Lindsey of old.