Author: Allison Rushby
The year is 1926 and three seventeen year old girls are summoned to London to meet an Aunt they never knew existed. That’s only the beginning of the surprises in store for Thalia, Erato and Clio. The three are triplets, separated at birth and sent off to live with other families. I’m sure I read that they were distant relatives but I can’t really fit that piece into the picture I have formed. Suffice to say the three girls had very different upbringings.
Thalia, Erato (known as Ro) and Clio have been brought up in very different circumstances and so it stands to reason that they have become extremely different young ladies. In the lead up to their 18th birthdays the girls are summoned to London to meet their mysterious Aunt Hestia and learn many things about their past.
The back of the book tells us that the girls are brought together to fight their half brother for the inheritance that is rightfully theirs, and that storyline is always there but it seems almost secondary to the exploits of the sisters learning to live in totally different circles.
Thalia was brought up surrounded by wealth but by a family that she was never made to feel welcome in and always living alongside high society and not actually as part of it. On the surface it seems that she has grown up with every convenience but appearances hide a much darker upbringing.
Clio, the youngest triplet, was raised by a vicar and his wife. They didn’t have a lot and they were in a small country town but she was loved and cherished, and sheltered. The ways of high society are completely foreign to her but in a lot of aspects she has definitely had the best upbringing.
Middle triplet Ro has had an upbringing that really does sit in the middle of the two extremes demonstrated by Clio and Thalia. She was well taken care of and cared for but her Uncle was always too caught up in his work and his research to truly pay attention to her, but she was treated well and educated at a boarding school where she made close friends and always longed for siblings.
The book opens with the birth of the triplets and there is enough information there to know that all is not as it should be and the situation gets murkier before it gets clearer.
At the initial meeting between Aunt Hestia and the triplets it is apparent that all is not going to be as easy as claiming their inheritance and their half brother has no intention of handing it over but wants to play the three off against one another and see if they will sabotage themselves. The girls know that they must work together to get to the truth of the situation. That proves much easier said than done as the girls find themselves basically unsupervised in high society with a ready supply of cash – this is where we really get to know the girls.
Thalia fast finds herself running with the bored rich kids and spiralling to new depths of debauchery with every passing day. She has lived on the outskirts of this society for too many years, now that she’s arrived she has every intention of making her mark. She fast demonstrates that she really is the centre of her own universe and no-one else matters, though there are brief glimpses past the tough exterior to a girl who could have been very different.
Ro is the brains of the threesome, aiming to study medicine, and keeper of an extremely analytical mind. She is very observant and is always the first to put pieces together but she too finds herself caught up in their new life and loses focus on their mission.
Clio may be the sister feeling the most displaced but she is also the sister who changes the least with her change of circumstance. She is always one to give the benefit of the doubt and she always thinks of someone else first. She is a sweet and naive character who I couldn’t help but fall for.
I enjoyed The Heiresses, trying to uncover all the pieces that form the mystery certainly kept me guessing. I was intrigued by the triplets and their story but the rest of the story seemed to take over that. I am still interested to see how it all pans out though so will be continuing.