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Last Heiress (Signet Eclipse) [Mass Market Paperback]

Beatrice Small

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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Signet Book; Reprint edition (31 Dec 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451222709
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451222701
  • Product Dimensions: 17.1 x 10.9 x 3.2 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,786,946 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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First Sentence
You are going to court Rosamund Bolton Hepburn said firmly to her daughter, Elizabeth Meredith, in a tone that ordinarily no one challenged. Read the first page
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.1 out of 5 stars  33 reviews
27 of 28 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Historical - Full and Passionate Addition to Series 4-1/2* 23 Oct 2005
By M. Rondeau - Published on
Setting - Britain, 1530 --- During the passionate and turbulent reign of Henry VIII, Elizabeth Meredith, the heiress of Friarsgate and youngest of Rosamond Bolton's daughters, at the age of 22 was still unmarried. After her eldest sister Phillipa had renounced her inheritance of Friarsgate for a life in court, Elizabeth, the youngest had proclaimed she wanted Friarsgate and would run it herself. Fiercely independent, intelligent, and hopelessly devoted to the land, she needed nor wanted any man in her life to take the reins of that responsibility away from her.

Her mother Rosamond, knew that Friarsgate needed an heir and Elizabeth needed to marry in order to keep Friarsgate in the Meredith family. Summoning Thomas Bolton, Rosamond's cousin and Elizabeth's beloved elderly and most fashionable uncle to escort her, arrangements were made for Elizabeth to travel to court where Thomas would endeavor to find Elizabeth a suitable husband.

Prior to their leaving for court, Elizabeth met and was attracted to the divinely handsome Scot, Baen MacColl, but knowing of his own humble and illegitimate beginnings, Baen dared not to hope for anything other than friendship with the very beautiful Elizabeth.

During the short time Elizabeth spent at court, the very lonely and exotic Anne Boleyn, who was then the object of Henry VIII's latest attention, befriended her. Anne valued Elizabeth's honesty and they forged a firm friendship. It was also during this short stay that Elizabeth would enjoy a flirtation with Flynn Stewart, bastard brother of King James V of Scotland, and be disappointed that he'd choose duty over marriage to her and Friarsgate.

After returning home she had another visitor from the north, and Elizabeth would throw caution to the wind in the arms of Baen MacColl. It would be a bittersweet lesson to find that once more, her weakness for a Scot would leave her disappointed as Baen battled his loyalty to Elizabeth over ties to his family.

--- Lovers of deeply historical romantic reads will soon find themselves immersed in the latest tale from the prolific pen of Ms. Small as she takes the reader on a delightful tour backstage of the court intrigues of Henry VIII. The historical background, the descriptions of fashion, food, behavior, and court intrigues will all be fascinating to the romance readers who love the historical details that this author supplies in abundance. As a stand-alone novel, the faithful reader will be reintroduced and updated on the lives of the other Friarsgate Inheritance ladies, their spouses, and the ever-beloved cousin and uncle Thomas Bolton; while the first time readers will find themselves scurrying to find the previous books in the series. As always, Bertrice Small delivers another lusty, full and passionate romance that is sure to delight her present fans and make believers of the uninitiated. --- [...]
18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars If you must read it, get it from the library. DO NOT PAY FOR THIS BOOK 2 Dec 2005
By happyreader - Published on
This is the worst romance I have read in ages and ages. The heroine is perfect- like Jo in Little Women. She can do all and be all. Independent, head-strong, beautiful ofcourse. And the guy she picks- tall, handsome, loyal, perfectly patient with all of Elizabeth's ("don't call me Bessie!") prickliness. "don't call me Bessie" is what she constantly says to all the family members- quite repetitive.

And that is another reason this book is really poor. So much repetition. In the first few chapters the author says the same things over and over and over again- How the Uncle took the first two daughters to court to find their husbands. How Elizabeth doesn't really want to go. They say it to each other, they say it again.

Spare yourself. And if you must read it, get it from the library. This is not a book you'll want to pay for or keep or lend to a friend. Want a good historical romance? Try The Queen's Fool by Phillipa Gregory. Now that is a complicated plot with lots of surprises. And the heroine isn't quite perfect...
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fourth and final book in the Friarsgate Inheritance series 27 Jan 2007
By C. Dionne - Published on
Entrusted with the running of Friarsgate at the tender age of fourteen, Elizabeth Meredith has grown up a country lass with no interests beyond her precious Friarsgate and the sheep and wool her estate is well known for. Now twenty-one years old, Elizabeth must marry in order to provide the estate with an heir, and Elizabeth has no intention of marrying just so some male can take over her precious Friarsgate.

Baen MacColl started life out on the wrong side of the blankets. While he knows who his father is now and is even accepted and loved by his father and his family, he's still illegitimate and as such owes everything he has to his father and has nothing to offer a wife.

Rosamund, Elizabeth's mother insists that Elizabeth must go to court to find herself a husband. Friarsgate requires an heir and in order to do that duty she first needs a husband. Since Elizabeth's elder sister, Philippa is a creature of the court, Rosamund is determined for Elizabeth to go to her. Phillipa and Elizabeth do not get along and so Elizabeth counters with the request that Uncle Tom accompany her and she'll go quietly. Otherwise, every eligible that Phillipa brings to her presence, Elizabeth swears she will "belch, fart, speak with a broad North Country accent, and make herself generally undesirable." Uncle Tom agrees to accompany her and arrives at Friarsgate to ready her for the pomp and circumstance that the court would expect of a young lady in their midst. Both Uncle Tom and Elizabeth are aware that this trip to court is a fools' errand, none of the men attending court will be suitable. Baen arrives with a missive from his father for the Lady of Friarsgate, only it's addressed to Rosamund and so Elizabeth offers her hospitality for the night and sends him to her mother's home, over the border in Scotland, only to have him return as the missive is in regards to buying sheep from Friarsgate. Elizabeth does agree to sell some, at the same time, also offering him one of the border collie pups to help with herding the sheep. Baen is attracted to the fair Elizabeth in all her course ways, however, he also knows that with his lack of lineage that he's not suitable. Still she must be made ready to attend court and he's more than willing to offer to help her in the fine art of kissing. On the day she's to leave for court, Baen finds her crying in one of the fields and holds her as she cries herself out. Will Baen and Elizabeth find a way to be together? Or will their senses of duties keep them apart?

THE LAST HEIRESS encompasses all the boldness, coarseness, honesty, and flat out bluntness of a young woman raised in the country, bundled up in all the finest frippery and have her attending the court of King Henry VIII. The results are charming and fun as Elizabeth continues to be true to herself despite the gossip and backstabbing that the court thrives on. Elizabeth is a strong, independent woman fully in control of her lands, and it's a pleasure to experience her in all her simple country girl glory. I love that even though this is the fourth and final book in the Friarsgate Inheritance series and thus, has followed along the same kind of theme. There is also mention of characters from previous Bertrice Small novels. Blaze Wyndham was mentioned from the book by the same name, as is the Earl of Glenkirk's daughter, Janet and Colin Hay who are both characters from THE KADIN. In this way two of the other books I loved are also included and their characters live on in the reader's mind. This book is full of amusing memorable characters.

Chrissy Dionne (courtesy of Romance Junkies)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Boring 14 Feb 2007
By _Circe_ - Published on
This is the final installment in the Friarsgate series. It tells the story of Elizabeth Meredith, Rosamund's youngest daughter, who was made heiress to the estate, after her eldest sister, Philippa, renounced it.

The novel begins with Elizabeth and Rosamund arguing on the subject of a husband for Elizabeth. Elizabeth agrees to go to court, if her Uncle Tom, who had also taken her older sisters, agrees to accompany her. At court, she befriends the exotic new-comer Anne Boleyn.

This book is definitely not up to par with Small's earlier works. It is quite repetitive. They dwell on how Elizabeth ended up in charge of Friarsgate, how she doesn't want to go to court and belongs on her estates, "don't call me Bessie," and so on. It also just drags. It takes forever to her to get to court, and when she does, she leaves right away because she "doesn't belong there." Then it is back to Friarsgate for more of the same "I need someone who loves Friarsgate as I do." There are not very many sex scenes, as Elizabeth and her hero don't consummate their relationship until about 3/4 of the way though the book. The entire book is predictable and there are no plot twists at all.

I did like the description of Anne Boleyn's coronation, as well as any interaction with the "real" people from history, as I do with many of Small's novels. I enjoy reading on how she perceives these people and what types of personalities she gives them. Unfortunately, since Elizabeth's time at court was limited, there wasn't much incorporation of them in the entire novel.

I still read Small's works, mostly out of habit now, I think. But if you want a really good romance with more interesting plot lines and characters, check out her earlier works, like the Skye O'Malley series, or the Leslie novels (The Kadin, Love Wild and Fair, etc).
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Last Heiress 27 Dec 2007
By L. Restivo - Published on
In general terms, I enjoyed the Friarsgate series, it strikes me as odd that the original heiress went through so much to retain control of Friarsgate, but gave it up to her youngest daughter with hardly any emotion. It's like "oh well, I'm got myself a new gorgeous husband and I'm leaving". Very strange.

Another oddity is Phillipa's (I may have her name wrong, but it's one of the first two books) husband is the best thing since sliced bread in her novel, only to be described here as rather stupid and only interested in hunting. Doesn't the author realize that fans remember things like that?
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