The Heiresses by Sara Shepard
Published by Harper
From the publisher:
You know the Saybrooks. Everyone does. Perhaps you’ve read a profile of them in People or have seen their pictures in the society pages of Vogue. Perhaps while walking along that choice block on Fifth Avenue, you’ve been tempted to enter the ornate limestone building with their family name etched into the pediment above the door.
The only thing more flawless than a Saybrook’s diamond solitaire is the family behind the jewelry empire. Beauties, entrepreneurs, debutantes, and style mavens, they are the epitome of New York City’s high society. But being a Saybrook comes at a price—they are heirs not only to a dizzying fortune but also to a decades-old family curse.
Tragedy strikes the prominent family yet again when thirty-four-year-old Poppy, the most exquisite Saybrook of them all, flings herself from the window of her TriBeCa office. Everyone is shocked that a woman who had it all would end her own life. Then her cousins receive an ominous threat: one heiress down, four to go.
Was it suicide… or murder? In the aftermath of the tragedy, the remaining heiresses—Corinne, the perfectionist; Rowan, the workaholic; Aster, the hedonist; and Natasha, the enigma—wrestle with feelings of sadness, guilt, and, most of all, fear. Now they must uncover the truth about their family before they lose the only thing money can’t buy: their lives.
While I’ve never read the Pretty Little Liars books, I do love the TV show on ABC Family, and I’ve enjoyed Shepard’s adult novels, so it didn’t surprise me one bit that I was drawn to The Heiresses. I have to admit that this novel’s premise intrigued me a lot. Rich people, intricate family drama, and a mystery? Sign me up!
The thing about The Heiresses that’s funny is I can SEE it becoming another TV show. It’s got the perfect set-up for TV, and since it’s going to be a series, it’s only a matter of time before it becomes another Pretty Little Liars. And honestly, while I think I’d love watching this on TV, I didn’t love it as a novel. I was entertained for sure, but that’s about where my enjoyment of the novel ended.
I think there were too many characters and too many secrets for this short of a novel – while I think Shepard handled them all well, a few of the characters felt flat and one-note to me. For example, Natasha has distanced herself from the family, but after Poppy’s death she comes back, yet Shepard still gives her very little face time in the book. So the reader has no chance to get to know her, which makes the big reveal at the end (about why she left the family) kind of a let-down – there was no opportunity to care about her as a character throughout the book.
There’s a lot of stuff about these women feeling like they have to play a certain role, and be perfect because they are part of a famous family, and it just seemed kind of … superficial? Obvious? I’m not sure what the word is that I’m looking for.
The Heiresses is a planned series, but I don’t think I’ll read the rest of the books. What I will do, though, is watch the TV show if it ever happens.