The Heiresses by Sara Shepard

The HeiressesY’all might recognize the name Sara Shepard as the evil genius behind the show “Pretty Little Liars”, one of my guiltiest pleasures. I had read that book series back when I was an actual teen and loved the first few, but the seemingly endless mystery slowly lost my interest.

Still I couldn’t help picking up this new book of hers – there’s something so much more sordidly appealing when (fictional) murder mysteries occur amongst the rich and famous!

The Heiresses is obviously about a group of heiresses who belong to the fictional Saybrook diamond dynasty. For the most part, the 5 of them are close-knit and seemingly down to earth. Poppy, the oldest, is president of the family company. Rowan works as a corporate lawyer for the Saybrook Company and has a seemingly unrequited crush on Poppy’s husband James. Twins Corrine, the uptight one, and Aster, the party girl, are at odds and Natasha has disowned herself. All the ingredients for a soapy drama are here, including a supposed family curse that plagues them and is brought into the public spotlight after perfect Poppy commits suicide.

An Internet threat suggesting that her death was a murder and the other girls will soon follow brings the FBI in, but meanwhile the girls do a little of their own sleuthing and uncover the dirty secrets their family members, friends, and colleagues are hiding. They themselves have their own murky pasts and struggle to keep their misdeeds from the media as they hunt for a murderer.

This novel was a cross between 90210, a show I never watched, and Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan, which I read last year and loved. While it featured the beautiful and rich found in the former, it had the similar themes of responsibility to the family, social expectations, and wealth dynamics of the latter. Of course, this was very tabloid in tone and lacked certain depth since it was self-contained within a few hundred pages (with room for a sequel left open). The secondary characters were fairly stereotypical, but the heiresses all had unique, if one-note, personalities. And in the end, the conclusion proved surprising.

The Heiresses would be perfect for readers who’ve run out of celebrity-featured magazines and are looking for a light summer mystery.

3 Stars

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