The Runaway Heiress

Written by Emma Orchard
Review by Clare Lehovsky

This is a fast-paced Regency novel that encompasses both danger and desire. Cassandra, the protagonist, flees her uncle’s home under duress and falls under the protection of Lord Irlam and his family. The author successfully manages to create historical accuracy alongside tension and drama, revealing the vibrant personalities of each character along the way. It is interesting to see how a woman’s world rested entirely on her marriage status.

We follow Cassie’s journey from London to Brighton, and the themes of honour and reputation are explored, both very different notions in a woman’s and also a man’s world. For the woman, dishonour if a passionate moment was not sealed with marriage, and for the man, the obligation to marry or a duel to set things right in society’s eyes. It is within these values that the world of 1815 operates, setting characters such as Cassie, Irlam, and Georgiana on predefined fates. However, the author finds moments to break tradition in clever ways. The concept of marriage is one of the main themes, which defines character choices and decisions throughout. Tensions run high as Orchard’s characters’ resolutions are tested, making it clear that it is only in the darkest of times that people’s true selves are revealed.