In the wilds of Manhattan are four wealthy women — all heiresses to the sizable Saybrook diamond fortune. When their grandfather returned from World War II with a rare, valuable gem, he couldn’t have known how his empire would expand . . . or how his granddaughters would someday work to either protect or squander it.
Corinne, Poppy, Aster, Natasha and Rowan are differing cousins with one major bond: the Saybrook name. Though Natasha has renounced her claim to the family fortune, the others spin around the sphere of the successful jewelry company with varying definitions of success. But when tragedy strikes, grievances are aired — and it’s obvious not everyone thinks the Saybrooks walk on water. In fact, someone wants to bring them all down.
Sara Shepard’s The Heiresses is fast-paced rich-people voyeurism at its finest. Manhattan addresses, fancy clothing, scandal, intrigue, mystery . . . and death. It’s basically a nonstop ride as delicious as settling in with your favorite candy, and its serious cliffhanger has me eager for more.
Though I initially feared this story of five powerful women would be stricken with a vicious case of Too Many Characters-itis, it didn’t take long to learn the quirks and foibles of the Saybrook heiresses. Each has a secret they’re guarding: a scandal that could break their famous family wide open. Though I can’t say I really loved any of the ladies, they were certainly entertaining to read about.
I bonded best with Corinne — a woman planning a wedding to the man she’s “supposed” to marry: Dixon, a preppy dude with a trust fund, square jaw and respectable family. Though her fiance was a bit of a caricature (just picture any polo-wearing jock in your life), I found her back story — and one-time love affair — very compelling. In the weeks leading up to her nuptials, Corinne held my attention as I wondered how she would deal with so many conflicting emotions. It was tough — but realistic, I think.
Poppy was a control freak, Rowan a mess. Aster was the stereotypical socialite bent on destroying her father for something he may or may not even have done, and Natasha was a bit of an empty shell. But compiled together? The Saybrook women were an entertaining lot, if only because they led such vastly different lives from my own. Mystery surrounds two unexpected deaths, and the bent of a blogger to expose their every movement keeps them on edge. As readers, we’re compelled to keep going if only to learn — Clue-style — whodunnit.
In the background are a bevy of relationships, lovers, complications and family troubles — as well as a family secret so dark it has the power to destroy them all. I sped through this story like lightning, invested in the plight of the Saybrooks and curious as to who was trying to wreck them (the options seemed endless).
Fans of women’s fiction, New York-based mysteries, contemporary fiction and wealthy family fiction will find The Heiresses to be a worthy addition to their beach bag this summer. I’m already looking forward to the next installment!
4 out of 5!