The Unintended Heiress

Fiction - Historical - Event/Era
234 Pages
Reviewed on 03/21/2024
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

The Unintended Heiress was penned by author Colleen Coyne in the historical fiction, interpersonal drama, and cultural writing subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience. The work is a fascinating dual timeline saga entwined with the scandalous lives of Belgium's King Leopold II, his mistress, her lover, and the mystery surrounding a vanished fortune, set against the backdrop of the French Riviera. The narrative delves into the brutal reign of King Leopold II, whose immense wealth derived from the exploitation of the Congo led to untold suffering and genocide. In the present day, Oceane's life takes a dramatic turn as she discovers her family's connection to Leopold's lost fortune while spending time with her grandmother on the French Riviera, unearthing secrets that have remained buried for over a century.

Author Colleen Coyne has crafted an immersive journey packed with history and intrigue that I really couldn’t put down once I’d started. I loved the accomplished sense of authorial control in the handling of timelines past and present, unraveling the dark secrets of Belgium's colonial past and their repercussions in modern times with relevance and drama. The juxtaposition of Oceane's contemporary experiences with the historical atrocities committed by King Leopold II displays the lasting impact of greed and exploitation, and this mood is evocatively portrayed through dialogue and atmosphere throughout the book. The vivid descriptions of the gorgeous French Riviera and the opulent villa on Cap Ferrat provided a lush backdrop for the unfolding drama, yet there were clever details in this setting that still indicated when a shift of mood was about to occur. As Oceane uncovers the truth about her family's legacy, I found myself drawn deeper into the mystery, eagerly turning the pages of this well-timed plot to discover the secrets hidden within. Overall, The Unintended Heiress is a gripping tale of inheritance, redemption, and the enduring power of the past that I would not hesitate to recommend.