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The Heirs

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Brilliantly wrought, incisive, and stirring, The Heirs tells the story of an upper-crust Manhattan family coming undone after the death of their patriarch. Six months after Rupert Falkes dies, leaving a grieving widow and five adult sons, an unknown woman sues his estate, claiming she had two sons by him. The Falkes brothers are pitched into turmoil, at once missing their father and feeling betrayed by him.

In disconcerting contrast, their mother, Eleanor, is cool and calm, showing preternatural composure. Eleanor and Rupert had made an admirable life together -- Eleanor with her sly wit and generosity, Rupert with his ambition and English charm -- and they were proud of their handsome, talented sons: Harry, a brash law professor; Will, a savvy Hollywood agent; Sam, an astute doctor and scientific researcher; Jack, a jazz trumpet prodigy; Tom, a public-spirited federal prosecutor.

The brothers see their identity and success as inextricably tied to family loyalty - a loyalty they always believed their father shared. Struggling to reclaim their identity, the brothers find Eleanor's sympathy toward the woman and her sons confounding. Widowhood has let her cast off the rigid propriety of her stifling upbringing, and the brothers begin to question whether they knew either of their parents at all.

A riveting portrait of a family, told with compassion, insight, and wit, The Heirs wrestles with the tangled nature of inheritance and legacy for one unforgettable, patrician New York family. Moving seamlessly through a constellation of rich, arresting voices, The Heirs is a tale out Edith Wharton for the 21st century.

256 pages, Audio CD

First published May 27, 2017

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About the author

Susan Rieger

3 books135 followers
Susan Rieger is a graduate of Columbia University Law School. She is also a former Associate Provost for Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action at Columbia University. The Divorce Papers is her debut novel.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 831 reviews
Profile Image for Angela M .
1,308 reviews2,191 followers
Shelved as 'abandoned-not-for-me'
June 23, 2017
I'm abandoning this after 50 pages . Feels like a soap opera and I have too many other good books waiting. In fairness, no rating or review. Also in fairness to the author, there are several high ratings. Just wasn't for me .
Profile Image for Victoria.
412 reviews326 followers
November 4, 2017
Witty, intelligent and sharply-drawn family drama…

I really enjoyed The Nest and thought I’d give another WASP-y dysfunctional family a try and it did not disappoint though this takes it up a notch. The writing is superb, make that SUPERB, and the tone has a sort of upper crust, clipped quality which works really well for these characters and this story.

If you’re still with me, I’m also going to tell you that the construct may not appeal to all. Each chapter is dedicated to a character, but it’s not fully dedicated, more like orbits around that character. And it moves back and forth in time in a non-linear way within that chapter, it’s something of a puzzle to put all the pieces together as you’re provided only snippets. Remember the Rubik’s cube of yesteryear? This is a literary equivalent.

And yet I simply loved this novel. As I’ve said before, my friends will now utter a collective groan, great writing makes my socks go up and down. And great characters set those socks to dancing.

I enjoyed The Divorce Papers (though unpopular here on Goodreads) and for me, Reiger has delivered another incisive and clever story. The uppity Falkes may not be to everyone’s taste, but they kept me steeped in their drama and satisfied to the very end.
Profile Image for Caro (Bookaria).
617 reviews20.5k followers
August 12, 2017
This is the wonderful story of Rupert Falkes, his family, and related friends and acquaintances. It starts with Rupert, a self-made and wealthy man in his sixties dying of cancer. Soon after his death a woman named Vera claims that Rupert had two children with her and therefore her sons are entitled to a portion of his inheritance. This is where the novel starts and what follows are their life stories which are interesting, engaging and sometimes funny.

The story is told from multiple points of view and alternates between the present and the past. The pace with which the story is narrated is neither fast nor slow, it's in the middle and kept me engaged throughout. The novel takes place mostly in Manhattan and is beautifully written.

I am drawn to these types of novels: the stories of wealthy family members living in or close to New York, some of these stories include highly-dysfunctional relationships. It is similar to other books I have read and loved such as The Nest and The Children.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and recommend it to those who love reading interesting fictional stories about family and relationships.

Review posted on blog.
Profile Image for shakespeareandspice.
344 reviews533 followers
March 10, 2017
Somewhere between 2.5 to 3 stars.

The Heirs opens with the death of Rupert Faulkes and the hidden secrets of his life smearing what his family had falsely considered a tranquil home. Each of the chapters follows either a member of or a person connected to the Faulkes’ family, beginning with his wife—Eleanor. Although the chapters are dedicated to individual characters, the novel retained an omniscient, third-person narration throughout.

While I went into this fairly blindly (given that it’s not yet out in print), I had higher expectations then this novel met. I expected turmoil and grief but what followed was a somewhat predictable soap opera about an upper-class family who thought there were as perfect as families can be. Even after only having read the first chapter—Eleanor’s perspective—the structure and history of the family was rather unimaginative. Each of the five sons is sculpted to fit the mold—the artist, the lawyer, the scientist, etc. When the end of the chapter came, and when we are told the dark secret of Rupert’s life, I, unfortunately, guessed what events would follow fairly easily.

I didn’t connect to any of the characters as much as I was hoping to even when a specific chapter was dedicated to understanding one individual amongst the group. I would even argue that when a chapter is meant to give the titled character a space to establish their identity, we are still told their story through a tarnished lens. The multitude of characters we get do add to the complexity of the family secrets but once again, some of the events unfolded remained predictable as the Faulkes dominated the stage.

It seems my major concern with this novel lies in that I repeatedly grasped for reality within it and, finding none, felt frustrated.

I did, however, like Eleanor’s character quite a bit. She started off a very simplistic figure but developed into something larger and more mystifying then even her family had suspected. I was mostly enthralled by her marriage to Rupert but admired her courage and loyalty to her loved ones as well. She seemed to manifest an aura of feminism that was unexpected given her outwardly indifference to the world. In the end, I’m not quite sure I fully understood Eleanor Faulkes but I kind of liked that about this novel.

As a whole, The Heirs is entertaining and engaging in its dramatics. This isn’t usually my cup of tea but I completed it in one sitting so that counts for something I think. If you need a comfortable read for the evening, with enough drama to keep you turning pages, pick up this book and get reading.

Disclaimer: I received this e-book from NetGalley in exchange for a review. All opinions stated are my own and not influenced by the exchange.
Profile Image for Cindy Burnett (Thoughts from a Page).
575 reviews992 followers
March 12, 2017
4.5 stars

I loved this book. The Heirs is beautifully written, and the story unfolds bit by bit through alternating perspectives from a number of the main characters. Rupert Falkes is the patriarch of a wealthy Manhattan family. He dies leaving his wife, Eleanor, and five grown sons. Following his death, an unknown woman makes a claim on the estate claiming she had two sons with Rupert. This new information throws the family into turmoil. As The Heirs progresses, the reader learns more about each of the characters, and numerous secrets emerge.

This is not usually my favorite type of read – I am not a fan of too much dysfunction and like all of the details to be wrapped up when the book ends. The Heir has some dysfunction (not over-the-top which was nice), and there are numerous issues that are not resolved. However, I truly loved reading it and had a hard time putting it down to take care of everyday life. Rieger’s prose is lyrical, and I did not want the book to end.

I highly recommend this novel. Thanks to Crown and LibraryThing for the chance to read this ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Stephanie Anze.
657 reviews114 followers
November 21, 2017
After Rupert Falkes dies due to cancer, a woman comes forward claiming that he fathered two sons with her. His widow, Eleanor and his five grown sons are taken aback by the claim. Wavering between feeling confused and betrayed by their father, all five Falkes sons are surprised when their mother is willing to validate the claim and give them part of the inheritance left by Rupert. Having to deal with their father's supposed betrayal, their mother's nonchalant attitude and their own personal demons, the Falkes clan has to learn how to navigate their dysfunctional family.

I had higher expectation of this book. The premise was intriguing. Dealing with betrayal, legacy, money and a dysfunctional family, this combination seemed like it would amount to a more appealing narrative. It did not, at least not for me. Rupert Falkes is a successful lawyer originally from Britain. He moves to the States, meets and marries Eleanor, and together they have five sons. Harry, the oldest, is a law professor. Will is a Hollywood agent. Sam is a doctor and researcher. Jack is a talented trumpet player. Tom, the youngest, is a federal prosecutor with a noble heart. Most characters acted entitled and came off mostly as annoying, bordering on nonsympathetic. I also disliked that more often than not, it was difficult keeping track of who was who, their spouses, children and other acquaitances. My biggest issue with the book though, is that the initial premise, the two sons born to this other woman, is not really a focal point. Where this should have been the "meat" of the story, it was a secondary storyline. When Rieger does give the reader the reveal to the truth, its underwhelming. I did not much like the melodramatic feel either. This novel reminded me of 'The Nest' and while that had a dramatic aspect to it too, it was done in a better way. The only reason I did not DNF this is because at 250 page mark, it was a fairly short book. All and all, a disapponting read.
Profile Image for Tucker.
385 reviews113 followers
May 25, 2017
I just put “The Heirs” on my list of Top 10 novels for 2017. I’m sure I will read many other great books this year (at least I hope so!), but “The Heirs” was exceptional. The death of Rupert Falkes, the patriarch of a wealthy New York family, is a blow (in varying degrees) to his wife Eleanor and their adult sons Harry, Will, Jack, Sam, and Tom. The Falkes family has always seen themselves as a particulary tight-knit unit - “Team Falkes, Always Team Falkes.” The brothers label themselves “The Five Famous, Fierce, Forceful, Faithful, Fabled, Fortunate, Fearless Falkeses.” But their closeness is thrown into turmoil when Eleanor receives notification of a lawsuit against Rupert’s estate, filed by Vera Wolinski, claiming that Rupert is the father of her two sons. Eleanor and her sons all have different reactions to the possibility that Rupert fathered other children, but they are baffled by Eleanor’s seeming acceptance of that possibility and her desire to set up a trust for the Wolinski boys. The brothers question whether they really knew their parents at all. The Falkes family is not the only one questioning paternity, as other families in their orbit are confronted with the effects of unknown or uncertain paternity. The introduction of these other families provides additional depth and complexity to the rich portrait Rieger paints of family relationships. Written with nuance, wit, insight, and an intricate and captivating plot, the “The Heirs” is a masterful work of literary fiction. It now has a permanent place on my bookshelf and I know I’ll be reading it again.

Thank you to Crown Publishing and NetGalley for an advance copy of this book.
Profile Image for Barbara**catching up!.
1,396 reviews804 followers
September 21, 2017
“The Heirs” by Susan Rieger is a novel that explores marriage, family, betrayal, and memory. Eleanor and Rupert Falkes seem to have it all: wealth, good looks, five talented and respectful boys, and a strong family bond. Rupert is a self-made man possessing a drive that made him a hugely successful lawyer. Eleanor comes from moneyed lineage, educated at Vassar, beautiful, and witty. Eleanor ran the household, caring for the five boys. Rupert was the breadwinner. Each son went to Yale, as his father did. Each son becomes successful in his own right.

The story begins with Rupert dying, and Eleanor caring for him with the best that money can buy. She is dutiful and passionate in his care. This is a character driven story, with characters providing their story in each chapter. Eleanor leads the story and the reader learns of her views of marriage, childrearing, and character. Rieger furthers her story with each character, not necessarily linearly, more like character viewpoint. It’s a story that follows subjects, not time.

After Rupert dies, a woman sues his estate with the claim that he fathered her two sons. What makes this interesting is that the boys are not worried about the financial claim; it’s the moral claim that they find offensive. How could their dutiful father betray their mother? Each of the five boys second-guesses their family life, with one trying to rewrite the history of their life with their father. What makes it worse for the boys, their mother Eleanor seems untroubled. They want their mother to be indignant.

This is a beautifully written story of the wealthy Falkes family with contributing characters to their story. Rieger writes with wit and astute observations. The story is interesting, the skill with which Rieger pens the story makes it a fabulous read.
Profile Image for Kristy.
1,071 reviews150 followers
April 24, 2017
Rupert Falkes is a wealthy, (somewhat) self-made man. A British orphan, he came to America, charmed his way into Yale Law, and made a career as a successful lawyer. He also married well: the beautiful (and rich) Eleanor Phipps. Together, the pair had five sons (Harry, Will, Sam, Jack, and Tom) and a happy life. When Rupert dies of cancer, a woman comes forward, claiming to have had two sons with him as well. The revelation causes different reactions among Eleanor and all the Falkes boys (now men), setting off a chain of reactions throughout the privileged family.

I'll be honest; I requested this ARC solely because I enjoyed Reiger's previous novel, The Divorce Papers, so much. I did not realize THE HEIRS was set in New York City and focused purely on a wealthy family--it seems like so many of these novels lately are tedious, and I can't find any connection to the characters.

And, truly, at first seemed it seemed like a boring look at a bunch of rich people. However, the novel becomes more interesting and nuanced as it progresses, with the viewpoints varying by chapter (and really within each chapter). The story is told by the people who were within Rupert Falkes' orbit. We hear from his wife, some of his sons, and past love interests of both Rupert and Eleanor. It turns out to be an effective way to tell the story, with bits and pieces of various stories coming out from the characters throughout the book, including about the possible illegitimate sons. (The focus is less on these two potential heirs than you would think, albeit their potential existence sort of kicks off the story.)

About halfway through, I found many of the characters to be petulant and annoying again--probably because we were in whiny middle son Sam's chapter. Truly, a lot of the people in this book are jerks. Sadly, Eleanor and Rupert's sons aren't always of the best character. Still, Eleanor is a fascinating person. She's strong, witty, and deep. She was definitely my favorite character in the novel, and any stories related to her were my favorite as well.

There is a lot of talk about money, class, and heritage in the novel. It's set in an earlier time period; it sometimes seems a bit much, but I suppose it's a realistic portrayal of wealthy New York in that era. Still, it is a lot of Jews versus Gentiles, rich versus poor, Yale versus Princeton.

I was a bit torn on this one for a bit, but I can't deny that I really enjoyed it, even if I didn't always like the characters. Besides, I was quite taken with Eleanor and even Anne (the wife of Eleanor's past love, Jim). Rieger is simply a good writer: her books are crisp and sharp. While on the surface the novel seems to be about a bunch of rich people, it also depicts the ties that bind us; there's meaning behind the sniping. There are touching moments in this novel, heartbreaking ones, and even funny ones. I didn't love it quite as much as THE DIVORCE PAPERS, and would probably rate as it 3.75 stars, but I'll round up to 4 stars here.

I received a copy of this novel from the publisher and Librarything (thank you!) in return for an unbiased review; it is available everywhere as of 05/23/2017.

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Profile Image for Stephanie (Books in the Freezer).
434 reviews1,121 followers
March 4, 2017
I received this as an ARC from Netgalley in exchange for a review:


I love a good family drama, especially one with full of money and family secrets! This was a very enjoyable read tackling identity, paternity and the meaning of family. I would say my only issue with it was the soap-opera level twists and the fact that most of the POVs mirrored each other too closely. Definitely recommend!
154 reviews4 followers
June 12, 2017
A more complete review is available on my blog:

When I put this book on my to-be-read list, I believed that it would be more about the claims of additional heirs. Instead, it was really more of a saga of a family and their friends. The stories of the lives of the various members of the family were interesting but I think I would have been more interested if the book centered more on the drama of the woman's claims of being the mother to Rupert's children. Rieger did a wonderful job building unique and developed characters. The ending really bothered me as I felt that the story really started to get interesting at the very end of the book but questions were asked that failed to be answered. While I was a bit disappointed by some of the parts of the book, I did enjoy reading it. The writing is very fluid and easy to read and I found myself finishing the book quickly. While it wasn't one of my favorite books of the year, I would recommend it to a reader who enjoys books about characters more than stories.

I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review. This is my honest opinion of this book.
Profile Image for Bonnie Brody.
1,214 reviews187 followers
April 1, 2017
The Heirs is a novel I did not like or warm up to. The writing seemed removed and strained, the characters formulaic and postured.

Shortly after Rupert Falkes dies, his wife and five sons find out that he had another family. Despite the second family losing their legal battle for a claim to Rupert's enormous wealth, his widow Eleanor decides that she wants to leave part of Rupert's estate to them. This causes dissension among Eleanor's sons.

The story is told from different perspectives and vantage points. Each of the voices seems to ring flat and have no depth. There is a lot of description but it all falls short and feels hollow. There are the WASPS of Manhattan who are well-bred and repressed. Then there are the nouveau riche, the gays, the Jews and the Italians. Each 'type' might as well have a Walmart picture frame around their characterizations, as flat and one-dimensional as they are.

I had wanted to read the author's previous novel, 'The Divorce Papers', but after having suffered through 'The Heirs', I will pass on that.
Profile Image for Robin.
1,449 reviews35 followers
December 2, 2017
The lifestyles of the rich and dysfunctional where everyone is well educated and smart and live far above everyone else in their own stratosphere yet can't handle the events of everyday life. Despite its eruditeness (I found myself using the Kindle dictionary for the meanings of many words) and unlikable characters, I loved it.

Perfect for readers who loved Sweeney's The Nest, Wolitzer's The Interestings, and Straub's Modern Lovers.
Profile Image for Meredith Duran.
Author 25 books1,664 followers
June 27, 2017
Okay, this was just a ton of fun. An elegantly written family potboiler that kept me entirely entertained on a very long plane ride.
Profile Image for Lisa.
1,996 reviews
October 19, 2017
I have mixed feelings about this book. There's not much of a plot; it's a story about family, as we learn about various family members, lovers, and possible heirs (which are difficult to keep track of). It held my interest more than I thought it would, but the narration jumps around (both in character and time), and many gaps aren't closed.
Profile Image for Nancy.
1,503 reviews348 followers
July 26, 2017
"I don't think children are meant to understand their parents." Will Falkes

The Heirs by Susan Rieger kept me reading, finishing the novel in 24 hours.

Eleanor and her five adult sons must contend with more than the early loss of the family patriarch, Rupert. It appears that Rupert had a secret life, and possibly sons with another woman. As we learn about the family and their history through the various characters we realize everyone has secrets, and it is all right.

"I never told you boys to always tell the truth. We don't owe the truth to everyone." - Eleanor Phipps Falkes

The British born Rupert was a foundling raised by an Episcopal priest whose last name he assumed. His early life at a boarding school was brutal. He was beautiful and smart and lucky, immigrating to America for his education, becoming a successful lawyer, and marrying the gorgeous, rich, and aristocratic Eleanor. Each had previously been involved with someone else, but none of that mattered and neither shared their stories.

Their five sons are very different from each other but devoted--and unanimous in believing their parents were each other's first loves. The boys struggle with how to deal with the lawsuit from Vera Wolinski who claims Rupert was the father of her two sons.

"At what point, she wondered, would her sons stop thinking their parents existed only for them?"- Eleanor

The stories behind the family in The Heirs are sometimes steamy and always complicated, but the book reads very cool and elegant, full of literary references.

Chapters share different character's back stories and viewpoints. We realize that the 'truth' not only changes with each character but that a character's understanding of the truth shifts.

In the end, it does not matter what is 'true.' Life is mysterious, especially the lives of our parents, who don't owe us any explanations.

I received a free book from the publisher through Blogging for Books in exchange for a fair and unbiased review.
Profile Image for Sadie VanderKodde.
244 reviews4 followers
July 11, 2017
Yuck. Just yuck.

I was under the false impression that the publishers I've been getting free books from only printed Christian books. The premise of this one sounded interesting, the couple of reviews I read said it was riveting and un-put-down-able. So I started it without a second thought.

At first, it was just boring. I realized soon enough, thanks to the language and content that it was not a Christian book, but it wasn't terrible. I just didn't enjoy the writing style (back and forth in time and characters). The characters were all un-likeable. I kept reading, hoping there was going to be some dramatic twist or major plot turn. There wasn't. It just plodded along, bouncing from one character to another. The dialogue was stilted. The action was boring. There was very little plot. And then came the chapter on Vera. When I realized where it was going, I skimmed much of it, but I wish I had skipped the whole chapter. It was disgusting, even for secular fiction.

And then, it just ended. Because there wasn't much of a plot, there weren't many loose ends to tie up. So I guess the author just stopped writing when she got sick of her un-likeable characters. Haha.

I will say that the whole book was too intellectual for me. There were tons of literary and film references that went over my head. There were countless references to New York high society (if it was still called such a thing in the 80s) and people I was apparently supposed to know. I just didn't enjoy any of it, but maybe someone more well-versed in such themes would appreciate it.

I received this book from Net Galley for free in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Nicole.
227 reviews3 followers
July 4, 2020
It was a struggle to finish this book. The story moved along slowly, and other books were much more enticing. The Falkes men were entitled, self-indulgent brats, and difficult to like. Actually, I didn’t manage to like them at all. Susanna was a rather sweet character, but slightly ruined by the fact that she fell for someone who would never love her how she deserved to be loved. Reading The Heirs was frustrating with difficult characters like these! It often seemed like Rieger tried to include components to The Heirs that might be a draw to certain readers, but did not add any benefit to the story.

The story read like it was supposed to sound really dramatic, but the drama fell short for me. I almost gave up finishing the novel several times. Despite all of this, there was a section that included a reference I really appreciated on page 116:

“I want a scientific breakthrough, a miracle.
‘Not very English of you,’ Francie said. We still ‘go gentle into that good night.’ "

I loved that Rieger included that poem! All in all, though, I do not recommend this book. It was unfortunately a bit of a boring read, and did not keep my interests at all. The story could have been much shorter and still given much of the same information, just at a faster pace (which would have been preferable).

Disclaimer: I received this book for free from Blogging for Books in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Note: this review is cross posted on https://www.allbehindasmile.com/heirs... .
Profile Image for Cindy.
1,501 reviews21 followers
April 12, 2017
A LibraryThing win! Thank you! Well this certainly was an interesting and very unusual read for me. I had a love/ hate relationship with the premise and the characters. Rupert, the father of 5 grown children all male, dies of cancer leaving his wife and heirs with questions and secrets. Told from the perspective of family members and acquaintances the story, past and present, unfolds and the family finds themselves questioning their father's life and their own. The story is paced very slowly and at first this bothered me as there is little action. However the writing is so beautiful that I eventually accepted the pace and settled down into the story. And quite the story it is! Dysfunctional best describes just about everyone with a very few exceptions! 3.5 stars.
Profile Image for cluedupreader.
313 reviews12 followers
December 2, 2017
If you like Edith Wharton books, then you'll like The Heirs.

For all of the contemporary novels I've read about affluent New Yorkers (quite a lot!), this is the first to truly reflect their mindset and lifestyle. A standout for being right on the money.

The vivid characters, engaging plot, and cultured tone make it a great literary read.

Very special thanks to NetGalley and Crown for the advance reader copy.
137 reviews12 followers
October 15, 2017
I don't know why, but this turned out to be such a exceptional surprise. Centered in NYC around Rupert Falkes, his wife and five sons. Rupert passes away at age 66 of cancer and the story offers differing viewpoints of not only the direct family, but extended family and friends and from both the current time period as well as flashbacks. A story of family, relationships and the complications and curves that life tends to throw at us.
Profile Image for Anmiryam.
787 reviews137 followers
May 15, 2017
I enjoyed this -- the narrative voice, calm, restrained, and omniscient suited this tale of a wealthy WASPY family in New York from the '50s to early '00s -- but the architecture was sloppy. The proliferation of characters distracted from the central figures of Eleanor and Rupert Falkes who I quite enjoyed. Despite heroic efforts to label the five male offspring of this marriage as different and unique (lawyer, agent, doctor, musician, crusader), none, except perhaps middle child, Sam, ever attain life on the page and I found myself constantly having to remind myself who lived where, which wife belonged to which brother, which was cheating, which had children and which didn't.

The central Macguffin of the tale -- did Rupert father two children outside of his marriage -- never generates significant heat to be compelling -- particularly since Eleanor decides she doesn't really care as this second family only comes to light after Rupert's death. Former lovers and other figures from the family's circle felt like shadows that blew through the story simply to shift more light on Eleanor and Rupert.

I realize this is a book that is set in a bubble of privilege, but given that so much of the action takes place on the Upper West Side of Manhattan in the 1960s - 2000s, I would have liked to see some of the diversity and the travails of that place and time reflected more completely. As far as I know, there are no characters of color on these pages whatsoever. Seriously?

Despite these seemingly tough criticisms, the portrait of a marriage that emerges is both moving and and unusual in modern novels. Eleanor and Rupert don't define themselves as being "in love", nor do they share the sort of tell all intimacy that many couple aspire to, but their union emerges as an advertisement for the strength of a partnership built on respect and good sense. I also relished the casual literary references (Eleanor's father reflects at one point that he had been "Lydgated into marriage"). That was worth reading the book.
Profile Image for Linda Zagon.
1,397 reviews119 followers
April 8, 2017
I would like to thank LibraryThing and Crown for an ARE (Advanced Reading Edition) of “The Heirs” by Susan Rieger for my honest review.

The genre of this book is Women’s Fiction. The author describes the characters in the family as dysfunctional, complicated, confused and complex.

The Falkes family is an upper crust/ upper class family in New York. Eleanor, the mother comes from old money. Rupert, the father was an orphan born in England and was very lucky to get many chances to become a self-made man. When Rupert comes to America, he has the opportunity to do very well. The Falkes have five boys, who are afforded the best in life.

When Rupert Falkes dies, the fiber and the string of the family seems to unravel. A woman claiming that Rupert was the father of her two adult sons wants part of the inheritance. The five Falkes brothers are all adults, each with their own complex relationships.

Their father’s possible secrets and lack of truth causes the sons to question his loyalty, as well as bring up self-doubts. We are introduced to other characters that revolve around the Falkes lives. The story is told through each of the characters.

I like the way the author shows the values of family, love, loyalty , honesty and growth. The question of will money bring happiness is shown in this novel. Is it really true that we know someone well? Is it better to look away or face the truth? These are some of the thoughts I am left with while thinking about the book.

Susan Rieger has done an amazing job of her descriptions of the characters and plot. This was an intriguing book and I would recommend it highly.
October 9, 2017
Sometimes, misinterpreting book blurbs can be a big mistake, leading to disappointment and frustration. Then there are the amazing times when a book sounds like one thing and turns out to be something even better. I’ve had both experiences and while the former can make you swear to never read another synopsis or blurb, the latter can be like Christmas dipped in chocolate. Last week Christmas came early with Susan Rieger’s The Heirs. I thought it would be light summer reading about when the death of the father of a wealthy Manhattan clan reveals secrets that his children must come to terms with. You know, badly behaved rich people! This is not inaccurate, but it’s like saying Breaking Bad was about making crystal meth.

Cancer kills Rupert Falkes at age sixty-five. He’s a successful, prestigious lawyer who leaves behind his wife of forty years, Eleanor, and his five sons, Harry, Will, Sam, Jack and Tom. Six months after his death Eleanor receives a letter and photograph from a woman claiming that Rupert is the father of her two sons and that he had been supporting them up to his death. She wants their share of Rupert’s massive estate. She goes public, giving interviews to the tabloids. Suddenly, what was a tight knit family starts to show strain as each person weighs in on how to deal with this disaster.

The rest of this review is at The Gilmore Guide to Books: http://gilmoreguidetobooks.com/2017/0...
Profile Image for Sabrina González.
Author 12 books12 followers
June 12, 2017
The beginning of the book starts off intense, it reels you in by talking about Rupert Falkes fight with cancer and his willingness to live. You are introduced to his wife and children thinking this is the perfect family. Rupert came from nothing and became a millionaire in his own rights, his wife had a great upbringing but didn't aquire love until she met Rupert. The Falkes seem like your typical family, married with 5 boys and living the American dream until Rupert Falkes dies and the truth is revealed. I loved the book, not what I expected which was excellent. I received this book courtesy of Blogging for Books. I don't think I gave away too much in the book, great read!!
Profile Image for Renita D'Silva.
Author 10 books328 followers
June 2, 2018
An interesting insight into families and the secrets prevalent within them.
Profile Image for Beth Bonini.
1,304 reviews282 followers
August 15, 2017
I don't read a lot of contemporary fiction, but I adored this novel. I'm so glad I started reading it on an uneventful Sunday, because for me, it was an unputdownable book from the very first page. Many people turn to mysteries or thrillers for a reading experience of complete absorption, but this is my kind of thing: realistic human drama brought vividly alive by an author gifted at characterisation.

Rieger's style reminded me of Laurie Colwin's, a sentimental favourite of mine, and I wouldn't be at all surprised to discover that Reiger is also a fan. They both favour an elegant, well-turned sentence, and character development is built up by layers of description and on-point detail as opposed to dialogue and action. The other obvious thing both writers have in common is their setting of choice: a rather romantic New York City populated by the educated and cultured. Promotional blurbs of the novel have mentioned Edith Wharton, and that comparison is definitely valid. The occupations of this book are love and money and manners, and all of the fine gradations of High Society - both WASP, and this being New York City, Jewish. Rieger writes with the authority of one who knows her milieu exceptionally well.

The book begins with the death of Rupert Falkes: the patriarch of a wealthy and well-connected family. He leaves behind his beautiful and adored wife Eleanor and his five handsome, accomplished sons. He also leaves behind a mystery in the form of a dubious woman named Vera and two boys who may or may not have been his sons. Rupert's sons have been accustomed to their golden status as the scions of a golden man - they are in love with the legend of their own tribe - and it hurts their amour propre to think that their father may have had feet of clay. The death of the father brings on all sorts of mid-life crises in the lives of the sons.

The idea of lineage and legacy is explored in a variety of ways in this novel. Rupert Falkes - unlike his wife, who comes from a distinguished line both maternal and paternal - is a foundling. Raised in England as a charity case, and self-made, Rupert is the ultimate American success story. But the obscurity of his origins is just one element of the nagging question of the narrative: Is any person, no matter how beloved, ever truly knowable?

The novel is told from a variety of viewpoints, and I really enjoyed seeing the family tree take shape and put on leaves, so to speak. There are several mysteries embedded in the plot, and the reader has to shape and reshape 'the story' - just as the characters themselves do. If you enjoy analysing the people you know, and indulging in high-quality gossip, this novel will undoubtedly appeal. 4.5 stars

Thanks so much to Crown Books for sending me a free copy of this book.
Profile Image for Charlotte Burt.
442 reviews32 followers
February 11, 2019
Overall I enjoyed this book, the characters where almost all very waspy types and effortlessly rich. I did find the pacing fairly slow and I was quite happy to put this down and read something else for a while at times.

I never felt that I really knew or felt for any of the characters much. It was told from a totally god like third person, telling us the backgrounds and feelings of people who where dead without any explanation as to where the information came from. This slightly annoyed me. I think the constantly changing perspectives meant that we as a reader never feel that we wanted one person to triumph over the others, or even care much at all what happened. It felt a little shallow and thin overall.

I found the ending annoyed me though, it really spoiled the book for me, not because it was bad, it just wasn't anything a bit of a damp squib. A strong start but seemed to lose it's way in the last 20% of the book.

On goodreads I rated it a 3 but it is probably more like 2.5. I have read a lot of good books recently and this one will be forgotten very quickly. Fairly well written but overall unmemorable with characters that I could take or leave. I never really got to feel very strongly about any of them at all.

Read more of my reviews on my book blog Engrossed in a good book
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