Review: Alliance with His Stolen Heiress by Lydia San Andres (2023)

Heat Factor: Lots of foreplay.

Character Chemistry: I like you, but can I trust you?

Plot: Amalia hires Julian to kidnap her in an attempt to rescue her sister from their controlling uncle/guardian. Julian has an ulterior motive. Plus there are a bunch of villains.

Overall: The premise is bonkers, the execution is fun.

Just to get this out of the way: Amalia’s whole kidnapping plan was definitely half-baked. Like, did she really think that staging her own kidnapping to get her uncle to pay a ransom with her own money that he won’t let her access would *work*? Jeez.

Obviously, it doesn’t work. Instead of paying the ransom, Amalia’s uncle absconds to parts unknown with her younger sister—now that Amalia is out of the way, there’s no one stopping their uncle from marrying off the much more biddable Lucía. So Amalia and Julian are off on a road trip to try and rescue Lucía from whatever plot is happening.

Now, as I mentioned, Julian has ulterior motives. While he appears to be a ruffian (hence: being hired to stage a kidnapping), Julian is actually the son of one of the richest men in the Dominican Republic. He’s spent the past few years raking around, but now he’s big mad at his dad and wants to find out what shady business dealings are happening; these business dealings happen to involve Amalia’s uncle. So he’s only too happy to help Amalia out. (Plus that whole attraction thing.)

The first half of the book is road trip (except on a fancy cruise ship) as Amalia and Julian are racing to rescue Lucía (and pretending to be married). At about the halfway point—in the same scene where Lucía is found—Julian’s identity is revealed. So then we have some wallowing in self-pity, but no worries, there’s not too much of that, because there is a lot of villainy going on which result in more kidnappings, more pretending to be married, and more road trips (but this time on a fancy train).

I have two thoughts about this book. The first is that it really exemplifies why I want more historical romance set in places that aren’t regency ballrooms. San Andres takes some classic romance tropes—a staged kidnapping, a rich rake pretending to be a ruffian—but because of the change in context, they don’t feel stale. In fact, as attested by San Andres’ note about the stories of raptos she grew up listening to, the different context means that we can read the same trope in a very different way.

The second is that in the end, this book didn’t quite work, because the second half was just too jam-packed with villainous nonsense. There were like four villains in the end! Waaaaayyy too many to keep track of. However, even with all the villainy, I never lost the thread of the romance. 

Recommended for those who like their historical romances on the bonkers side, with a lot of plot.

I voluntarily read and reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own. We disclose this in accordance with 16 CFR §255.

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Lots of adventures in this plot!

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