The Heirs by Susan Rieger [in Library Journal]
Susan Rieger (The Divorce Papers) shows how a wealthy Manhattan family’s marital dysfunctions break, prune, and graft the branches of their family tree. Rupert Falkes, a British orphan-turned-New York elite, is dead. As far as the world knows, he’s survived by his blue-blooded wife, Eleanor, their five adult sons, four granddaughters, and a fifth he’ll never meet – until a woman claims Rupert fathered her two sons and insists on their share of his estate. Eleanor’s quintet can’t understand – nor accept – Eleanor’s steely calm in reaction to their father’s shocking betrayal.
Disclosing alliances and dalliances throughout, Rieger expertly dismantles the seemingly perfect façade of the Falkes family. Narrator Kimberly Farr is Rieger’s ideal accomplice, effortlessly modulating her nuanced voice to match multiple viewpoints: she’s elegantly controlled as Eleanor, blindly determined as Rupert, bristling as professor son Harry, brash as doctor son Sam, cloying as the other woman, and desperately resigned as the wife of Eleanor’s first love, among others. Schadenfreude revelers with a penchant for “the rich are so different” dramas will especially enjoy meeting the “Famous, Fierce, Faithful, Fabled, Fortunate, Fearless Falkeses.”