Usually, I don't hesitate to recommend reading a series out of order or missing the first book. With Lynsay Sand's The Heiress, I'm torn. The story could work by itself, but, on the other hand, there's a minor plot that carries through from the first book. That really makes me think it's better if you read this series in order.
If you read The Countess, you met the Madison sisters--Chrissy, Suzette and Lisa. If you didn't, here's a quick recap. After learning their father has gambled a huge amount of money, Suzette and Lisa head to their sister's house where they are virtually turned away by her new husband, "Dicky." When Chrissy's husband is poisoned, they learn that he's not who he said he was. He was actually an imposter posing as his supposedly deceased twin brother. The real Richard Fairgrave, owner of the estate, is very much alive and determined to keep Chrissy in his li…