• An Heiress's Guide to Deception and Desire

  • By: Manda Collins
  • Narrated by: Mary Jane Wells
  • Length: 7 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.3 out of 5 stars (467 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Former lovers become reluctant allies in this delightfully witty historical rom-com from the best-selling author of A Lady's Guide to Mischief and Mayhem — for fans of Evie Dunmore, Enola Holmes, and Netflix's Bridgerton!

England, 1867: As half of the writing duo behind England’s most infamous crime column, Miss Caroline Hardcastle has quite the scandalous reputation. It may have cost her a fiancé, but she would much rather bring attention to crimes against those ignored by society than worry about what the ton thinks of her.

After Caro’s dear friend is kidnapped, however, she has no choice but to work with Lord Valentine Thorn, the same man who broke her heart. Worse, when her actions put her father’s business at risk, a marriage of convenience may be her only solution...but can she trust Val to stand by her? Or will their past repeat itself?

Val — the new Viscount Wrackham — is in an untenable position: His father is demanding he find a respectable bride to secure the succession. Yet the only woman he’s ever loved, Miss Caroline Hardcastle, is notorious for behaving improperly. And she’s never forgiven him for his youthful transgressions, missteps made in the name of familial duty, but ones he still regrets to this day.

As they grow closer to unmasking the culprit, Val sees an opportunity to show Caro he’s a changed man. But can he convince her to give their love a second chance — before death does them part?

©2021 Manda Collins (P)2021 Forever

Critic Reviews

"After delighting readers with A Lady’s Guide to Mischief and Mayhem (2020), Collins is back in fine fettle with another fetching mix of sprightly wit, nimble plotting, and engaging characters that is certain to endear her to fans of historical romances and cozier historical mysteries." (Booklist)

"Mystery, romance and an indomitable heroine make for a brisk, compelling read." (Madeline Hunter, New York Times best-selling author)

"Manda Collins writes sexy and smart historical romance, with a big dash of fun." (Vanessa Kelly, USA Today best-selling author)

What listeners say about An Heiress's Guide to Deception and Desire

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

why I returned the book

I love cozy mysteries that I want to listen to more than once and most of this book falls into that category. then the sex scene. it wasn't hard core but detailed enough it didn't fit what I considered the flow of the book.

62 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Great narration/decadent read

MJ Wells is the best narrator! I did listen to this at .9 to slow it down a tiny bit.

The story was a little boring but I managed to finish...probably due to the excellent narration.

10 people found this helpful

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Very enjoyable.

I Love the emerging characters. I happy the author had not spend too much time with the chase between the couples but relied on the content of the story.

6 people found this helpful

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Narrator perfection

At this point I search anything MJW narrates, she’s the best! Story was typical but some fun, overall good combo author and narration!

5 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars

Enjoyable characters. Good storyline that moves well.

Enjoyed this book more than the first although the relationship of two main characters was somewhat predictable from reading the first book. I’m guessing the next book will proceed over the course of the two main female characters being pregnant at the same time (just following in the line of predictable plot options). Again I’m grateful for Collins ability to move her storyline along at a decent pace and avoid redundant conversations. The underlying “love” story was a little less cheesy than the first book, which apparently Collins normally excels at given her other books (which I have yet to read as that is not genre I particularly care to partake). Collins also managed to pull of the “climax action” scene much better this time by avoiding silly prosaic phrases and actions in what I call 1940s, bad acting, gangster movie style. I look forward to the next book and will be impressed if it doesn’t follow the story line I predicted above. Either way I’m sure it will still be delightfully entertaining.

5 people found this helpful

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Sweet story with the added bonus of a heroine who has a brain and knows how to use it!

Loved book two of this series and hoping that there will be a third. So nice to have smart women as the main characters. Worth the credit!! And narrator is my favorite so, can’t go wrong. I wish she had narrated some of the other books by this author.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Between cozy and bodice ripper

Delightful, if a bit shallow, historical romance with a side of mystery. I’m not sure I would have enjoyed this as much without Mary Jane Wells’s always fantastic narration. The second chance romance between independent publisher Caro and newly minted heir to a dukedom Val is frisky, rather than angsty.
The lighter tone is perfect for the shorter length of the book. The mystery is also on the lighter-side and feels more Scooby Doo than Agatha Christie, never leaving me worried about the possible fate of the missing Essie.

This book was saturated with feminist refrains on the plight of women in this time period and chock full of features to distinguish main and supporting characters from traditional regency sentiments: Caro’s independence, Caro’s dad planning to leave her the family business, Val’s disdain for society’s dictates, cousin Frank’s love for a lower class actress, Tate’s openness in his affection for his mistress in front of Caro, BFF Kate’s love match with a working man (book 1’s couple, apparently), etc. it was all a bit much… yet it still went down easy.

Between the tone and cover, I thought this was a cozy, and had to reassess in the final quarter, with the single, short, but definitely not-cozy, get-together. Then, having heard the not-cozy nooky, I thought it a shame there was so little nooky. In failing to embrace either end of the “cozy to bodice ripper” spectrum, this ended up in the fair to middling category. Great as a daily deal- but not worth a full credit.

On either end of the spectrum, I recommend:
📍Dianne Freeman’s Countess of Harleigh Mystery series for cozy regency mystery/romance
📍Tessa Dare’s Duchess Deal or Wallflower Wager for funnier, sexier regency romance

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent narration

I had already read the book and ordered the audiobook to listen to on my commute. I love this series and highly recommend it.

1 person found this helpful

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Love This Book!

I truly enjoyed these two books! Great characters and fun exciting story line!! The narrator is superb!! I highly recommend this book. Looking forward to the next in the series when it is available .
Leslie M

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  • SS
  • 08-01-22

Wonderful story and wonderful narration.

This was a very enjoyable story with a fantastic narration. I had finished a rather mediocre audio book and this blew that out of the water. Lovely period mystery with fun characters. If you read A Lady’s Guide, this will be a welcome sequel. I accidentally read this out of order but it made no difference in my enjoyment. Highly recommend.