"Greeley’s storytelling is intricate, masterly, and delightfully imaginative. Highly recommended."—Library Journal (starred review)
In this gorgeously written and spellbinding historical novel based on Pride and Prejudice, the author of The Clergyman’s Wife combines the knowing eye of Jane Austen with the eroticism and Gothic intrigue of Sarah Waters to reimagine the life of the mysterious Anne de Bourgh.
As a fussy baby, Anne de Bourgh was prescribed laudanum to quiet her, and now the young woman must take the opium-heavy tincture every day. Growing up sheltered and confined, removed from sunshine and fresh air, the pale and overly slender Anne grew up with few companions except her cousins, including Fitzwilliam Darcy. Throughout their childhoods, it was understood that Darcy and Anne would marry and combine their vast estates of Pemberley and Rosings. But Darcy does not love Anne or want her.
After her father dies unexpectedly, leaving her his vast fortune, Anne has a moment of clarity: what if her life of fragility and illness isn’t truly real? What if she could free herself from the medicine that clouds her sharp mind and leaves her body weak and lethargic? Might there be a better life without the medicine she has been told she cannot live without?
In a frenzy of desperation, Anne discards her laudanum and flees to the London home of her cousin, Colonel John Fitzwilliam, who helps her through her painful recovery. Yet once she returns to health, new challenges await. Shy and utterly inexperienced, the wealthy heiress must forge a new identity for herself, learning to navigate a “season” in society and the complexities of love and passion. The once wan, passive Anne gives way to a braver woman with a keen edge—leading to a powerful reckoning with the domineering mother determined to control Anne’s fortune . . . and her life.
An extraordinary tale of one woman’s liberation, The Heiress reveals both the darkness and light in Austen’s world, with wit, sensuality, and a deeply compassionate understanding of the human heart.
About the Author
Molly Greeley earned her bachelor’s degree in English, with a creative writing emphasis, from Michigan State University, where she was the recipient of the Louis B. Sudler Prize in the Arts for Creative Writing. Her short stories and essays have been published in Cicada, Carve, and Literary Mama. She works as on social media for a local business, is married and the mother of three children but her Sunday afternoons are devoted to weaving stories into books.
“Pride and Prejudice retellings abound, but none are quite like Molly Greeley’s.”
"Greeley is faithful to the original story, while creating an imaginative and vivid inner life for the beleaguered Anne. This inventive novel will delight Pride and Prejudice fans, and win over readers who are skeptical of Austen reimaginings."
— Booklist (starred review)
"A perfectly joyful read."
— Book Page
“Greeley’s expert imaginings of the life of Anne de Bourgh reveal the hidden depths of her character and highlight the societal restrictions of 19th-century women as Anne seeks to overcome her mother’s domineering persona and find happiness. Historical fiction fans will be drawn to Anne’s plight.”
— Publishers Weekly
"With stunningly lyrical writing, Greeley elevates Austen-inspired fiction—and psychological fiction in general—onto a whole new plane.”
— Natalie Jenner, author of The Jane Austen Society
"Greeley’s storytelling is intricate, masterly, and delightfully imaginative. Highly recommended."
— Library Journal (starred review)
“Haunting….Greeley shines a light on the darkness cloaking Anne de Bourgh...The result is a novel with all the hallmarks of nineteenth-century Gothic... Highly recommended.”
— Finola Austin, author of Bronte's Mistress