A Most Noble Heir by Susan Anne Mason

Disclaimer: A Most Noble Heir, by Susan Anne Mason, was provided by Bethany House. I received a free copy from the publisher. No review, positive or otherwise, was required—all opinions are my own.

When stable hand Nolan Price learns from his dying mother that he is actually the son of the Earl of Stainsby, his plans for a future with kitchen maid Hannah Burnham are shattered. Once he is officially acknowledged as the earl’s heir, Nolan will be forbidden to marry beneath his station. Unwilling to give up the girl he loves, he devises a plan to elope—believing once their marriage is sanctioned by God that Lord Stainsby will be forced to accept their union. However, as Nolan struggles to learn the ways of the aristocracy, he finds himself caught between his dreams for tomorrow ad his father’s demanding expectations. Forces work to keep the couple apart at every turn, and a solution to remain together seems farther and farther away. With Nolan’s new life pulling him irrevocably away from Hannah, it seems only a miracle will bring them back together.

My rating: 2/5

A Most Noble Heir (titles like these need to disappear. Overused and unoriginal) is an interesting historical romance. It doesn’t do a whole lot to improve on old tropes, but at least the premise is interesting. Plus, it’s refreshing to read a book where the romantic interests marry at the beginning of the book. Even though Nolan and Hannah go over a lot of familiar ground in terms of romantic tropes, the way it’s framed makes it appear as if it’s fresh and new. I would have preferred actually fresh and new, but it was a pleasanter romance to read since they got married early on. I just wish there had been a bit less convenience in terms of Hannah’s station and slightly more tension (Nolan always thinks about the class divide between them and how it will affect their social standing, but it is never voiced nor noticed by anyone else, making his worries seem pointless. Plus, Iris showing up means that the point is moot—not that anyone actually seemed to care).

I really enjoyed the development of Nolan’s relationship with his father, though I wish it had been less jerky in terms of pace. Since we never actually see Nolan’s “aristocracy lessons,” the only glimpses of him with his father we get are when they are fighting, so the reader has to fill in the gaps for himself. However, I really enjoyed the scenes from Edward’s point of view (Nolan is a bit of a bland character), and they did a much better job of showing the development of the father-son relationship than Nolan’s did.

Nolan is a bland, forgettable character (and hardly noble, as the title suggests), but Hannah is secretly my kindred spirit. Her struggles in the novel, especially the ones revealed closer to the end of the book in regard to her own perception of herself, are similar to things I have felt in the past, and having those addressed in the book helped me just as they helped Hannah. She’s a bland character, too, when I look past the parts in the book that really connected me to her (the only non-bland characters are Edward and Iris, and Iris goes too far in the other direction), but she’s definitely a character I’ll remember.

A Most Noble Heir does strive to reinvent old tropes, and ends up doing it somewhat, but there’s still too much reliance on cliché, predictable romantic tropes. The characters are bland and boring, except for Edward and moments from Hannah, and many of the concerns that drive the tension of the plot seem flimsy and weak when compared with what Mason has shown us. It’s an intriguing premise, but it falls on its face one too many times.

Warnings: None.

Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction

You can buy this here: https://amzn.to/2GguZ8h

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