Spoiler warning! This review will contain plot spoilers, because for me to be able to work through my various thoughts and feeling about the plot (which was quite dumb), I will need to spoil bits of it. You don’t actually want to read this book anyway, I promise, so view the spoilers as more of a favour than a problem.
Ashley Claughbane is the fourth son in a noble family from the Isle of Man (or Wight – I don’t entirely remember, and I can’t be bothered to look it up – it’s one of those wind-blown islands off the coast of Britain somewhere). He is in no way the heir to anything at all – so the book’s title is wildly misleading. While some of his actions might be seen as rebellious, he appears to have two healthy brothers between himself and the eldest, who is in fact a duke. Ash (he hates being called Ashley) has sworn revenge on Lord Rightworth, the man who apparently ruined the family fortune a decade or so back. He promised his mother on her deathbed (or something to that effect) that he would not rest until he had made the man pay. For reasons that aren’t entirely clear, he’s been preparing for this revenge by travelling around much of Southern England, selling worthless potions and conning stupid nobles out of money. During one of these encounters, he met Evangeline Green, shared a kiss with her and then disappeared without a trace.
Now a year later, Evangeline recognises Ash at a ball, currently posing as Lord Crosby. He now has the backing of a group of gentleman known as “The Spare Heirs Club”, although what exactly these dudes do is a mystery to me, even after finishing the book. He wants to con Lord Rightworth and a bunch of other people out of a large amount of money by having them invest in a “portable steam engine”, but keeps being distracted by the lovely Evie. Who of course is Lord Rightworth’s youngest daughter.
Will these crazy kids make it work in the end? Will you even care if they do? Read my full review here.