I was sadly disappointed with The Valcourt Heiress. I went into it with high expectations; my mother is a huge fan of Catherine Coulter’s FBI series, and I was excited that she’d turned her hand at a historical romance. The premise was right up my alley: Merry’s father dies, and she suddenly finds herself an heiress at the mercy of her mother, an Abbess who also happens to be a powerful witch. When her mother announces that she’s selling her to the cruel Jason of Brennan, Merry runs away.
Meanwhile, Garron, a young member of the king’s guard, learns that his brother has died and he is the new Earl of Wareham. While on the journey home, he rescues a young boy from a band of ruffians who have kidnapped him. The boy disappears, and Garron and his men continue on to the castle only to find the whole place ransacked by a man the villagers are calling The Black Demon. The villagers explain that Garron’s brother stole a cache of silver coins from The Black Demon, and that he’d destroyed the castle and killed almost all its inhabitants in reparation. Garron vows to rebuild the castle and take his revenge on The Black Demon.
Unbeknownst to him, the young boy he saved in the forest, who happens to be Merry in disguise, sneaks into the castle and reveals herself to the elder maids. She promises to rehabilitate the castle if they keep her identity a secret.
And I think you can figure out the rest.
I wanted to like this book. I really did. Unfortunately, the plot felt a little contrived (Did it sound contrived when I summed it up? I thought so.), the twists were extremely predictable, and there were so many redundancies in the writing that I found myself skimming at points (which I hate!). Merry and Garron are extremely likeable protagonists, but the story was so uninteresting to me that they were a little wasted.
I’ve read worse books in my time, and I finished this one fairly quickly, so if you want to give it a go, I won’t say you shouldn’t. You might find it a lot more compelling than I did.