Was this tepid, dull romance actually penned by Johanna Lindsey? The Heir was the first book that I noticed a weird change in her writing. Previously, if there was a Lindsey I didn’t like, it was due to a dull plot or excessive fighting between the leads. In this one, there is friendship for sure, but romantic isn’t what I’d call the relationship between Duncan and Sabrina.
The Plot: Friends to Lovers
Duncan, a Highland Scot, is the new heir to be an English Marquess. Everyone is eager to meet this new laird, er lord, especially the young ladies in town. Sabrina has no designs on Duncan; she’s plump, plain, orphaned, and not anyone’s ideal candidate for a wife. Certainly not for an heir to a Marquessate.
Then there’s the manipulative, beautiful Ophelia, who desperately wants Duncan’s title.
Slowly, painfully slowly, Sabrina and Duncan’s relationship turns physical, and one night they make love. But Ophelia’s scheming makes it appear as if Duncan has ruined her, so the red-haired idiot decides to do the honorable thing: marry Ophelia. Duncan is too young and he flounders in areas where a more mature man might have acted differently. I can’t imagine too many other previous Lindsay heroes going along with this stupidity.
And of course, Sabrina says nothing, as she wants no part in a scandal, and boo-hoo, she wasn’t cut out for marriage anyway. Because who in his right mind would want a schlub like her?
If it weren’t for the only interesting character in this book, Raphael, twisting Ophelia’s arm to break the engagement, Duncan would be married to a woman he didn’t love and never touched. As it is, I wasn’t even sure he loved Sabrina. They were friends, or at least, they often conversed with one another without resorting to bickering, like so many Lindsey leads tended to do.
I was not too fond of almost all the characters, Raphael the lone exception. Sabrina was spineless, Duncan was a squish with an annoying brogue, and Ophelia was just a bitch who didn’t deserve her own book. When I saw Duncan’s mullet hairstyle on the inside cover of the paperback edition, it turned me off even more, making me long for the days of Fabio.
Final Analysis of The Heir
I listened to this one on audio cassette as I’d drive to and from work. I think that’s the only way I could have consumed this story. Reading it would have been a chore. As it was, that daily one-hour round trip should have passed easily with an audiobook to listen to, but sadly, The Heir was not an engaging read.
It just was. (Does that make sense?)
I think since The Heir, I’ve only read one “newer” Lindsey I enjoyed: When Passion Rules, which was a mildly better version of Once A Princess, another one I wasn’t crazy about.
Oh well, Johanna Lindsey had a great run for a long time as a writer of fantastic books that made historical romance exciting. Although she’s now gone to the great beyond to be with her beloved husband, she does leave behind a legacy of entertaining romance novels that made tens of millions of readers fall in love. Too bad The Heir wasn’t one of them.