The Honorable Heir By Laurie Alice Eakes
(Note – The cover illustration pictured is pending approval and may not match final copy)
Published By Waterfall Press October 4, 2016
Genres: General Fiction (Adult), Religion & Spirituality
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
An American heiress and widow of a rakish English earl, Catherine has returned to New York high society determined to make amends for the scandal she caused when she crossed the Atlantic to elope with her best friend’s suitor and win the title of Lady Bisterne. But a ruined reputation isn’t the only thing that’s followed her home: Lord Tristram Wolfe, the rightful heir to the Bisterne estate, has vowed to track down his family’s stolen jewels—gems he’s certain Catherine stole.
Catherine has more to think about than charming, handsome Tristram and his accusations, even if he’s beginning to change her mind about never returning to England. Back at her family’s Tuxedo Park estate, she resolves to restore her honor by earning the forgiveness of her best friend and protecting her younger sister from other fortune-seeking Englishmen with dubious titles, all while abiding by the etiquette of the Gilded Age.
Yet when Tristram’s quest takes a dangerous turn, she must decide whether to follow the rules or save her accuser’s life.
Laurie Alice Eakes latest novel is an enjoyable read with just enough thrill and mystery to keep me reading each page with anticipation. The characters she creates and develops through the pages are very real and possess the necessary flaws to keep them well within the realm of humanity.
Lady Catherine Bisterne nee Van Dorn and Lord Tristram Wolfe are the central characters in this delightful story. Catherine is the quintessential society “matron” who maintains and demands proper behavior from both herself and her family. Her continual endeavors to prove her innocence and recover the relationships she left behind when she eloped with Edwin Bisterne made this story one of the best I have read in quite a while. I loved that Catherine was gracious and kind to those who sought to make her feel unworthy of both her social standing and the friendships of those she knew before her marriage. Her willingness to humbly admit her wrong and ask forgiveness was a reminder to me that forgiveness is more readily given when there is true penitence. Furthermore, I found her quick wit and remarks to Tristram’s accusations to be the best part of the story. She had an answer for all of his questions and showed him that you should not assume that everyone wants revenge for the things done to them. Tristram, heir apparent to the Marquess of Cothbridge, and disgraced former Captain in the Boer War, is seeking to redeem himself in his father’s eyes by returning the stolen jewels to the Baston-Ward family. Tristram’s standing as the succeeding Marquess of Cothbridge, and the Bisterne estate, depends on his recovery of the jewels and he is determined to prove that Catherine is the thief. Tristram’s quest to return the jewels colors all interactions he has with Catherine, making him a good foil for Catherine, who is also seeking to right wrongs. I enjoyed seeing how Tristram comes to believe in Catherine’s innocence as his time spent with her reveals the “real Catherine”. And his discovery of the truth is made even better when he unintentionally falls in love with his quarry. The supporting characters in the story are fairly well written, although given the length of the book, there was not enough time to develop them fully. I did enjoy the quips that Ambrose Wolfe and Florian Baston-Ward exchanged with Tristram; they helped show Tristram’s feelings and thoughts on a more personal level. I would have preferred that Ambrose Wolfe’s character be further developed before it was revealed that he was the real thief. I am still not sure if he was also supposed to be the one who killed Edwin Bisterne, or if Edwin really died in an accident as was intimated.