A couple of months ago, I thought good fortune had been bestowed on me when I won a copy of Emery Lee's newest release FORTUNE'S SON (released Nov 2011). Or so I thought.
I had read a few reviews of the new release and everyone appeared to have loved it but honestly, it has taken me all this time to finish reading it.
FORTUNE'S SON by Emery Lee is a historical romance, although I consider it more akin to a historical fiction. Published by Sourcebooks, it's 448 pages of well-researched historical information. As far as being a romance, it's mediocre but as a historical fiction it is quite exceptional. I suppose it would depend on what you wanted from the book as to whether or not you like it.
BACK COVER BLURB:
She is the ultimate gamble...
Beautiful young widow, Susannah, Lady Messingham, refuses to belong to any man again. Until, she inadvertently draws handsome Lord Philip Drake into an exhilarating game of terrifying stakes and unimaginable rewards ...
And he'll risk everything on a toss of the dice...
Philip is a seasoned gambler who knows all the tricks and isn't afraid to use them. He'd do anything for Susannah, including sacrificing his honor and his freedom...
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
The minute I opened this book, I was put off slightly by the Table of Contents containing a Prologue, Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 containing a total of 50 chapters followed by an Epilogue. But I continued on and when I turned the page to the Prologue, I smiled when I read "Newmarket, 1751". Yay, I thought, a historical romance set in the 1700's, how splendid. I dove right in. Having read the review and the back cover blurb, I was quite excited about this book. That excitement soon waned.
Philip Drake is a young lord who is more ambitious about gambling than nearly anything and Susannah, Lady Messingham is a young widow yet older than Philip who needs to supplement her dwindling income without succumbing to marriage and the prospect of being controlled by a man. She uses her feminine wiles to convince young Lord Philip to teach her his best gambling tricks so that she might once more be solid in her purse. In return, she endeavors to teach him all he needs to know about pleasing a woman.
Considering the back cover blurb and the promise at the beginning of the book of a steamy relationship between Philip and Susannah along with some intrigue and back room debauchery, I expected this story to move in that direction at a faster rate than it did. Most disappointing was that the steamy relationship between our hero and heroine actually turned out to be more implied than written.
So you might be wondering what actually filled these 50 chapters plus prologue and epilogue? Well, a lot of well-researched history for one thing. Intriguing scenes of gambling establishments, gaming tables, masked balls, and a group called the Knights of St. Francis. The reader meets an eclectic series of characters from a tavern maid rescued from a near rape to bold highwaymen. The reader travels to various locations throughout England and learns an abundance of historical facts along the way. The writing is writing at its best but I fear the story and the pair's relationship took a back seat to the history.
I'm sure that many readers have enjoyed Miss Lee's trek through 18th Century English history but I personally feel that it just didn't rate up there for me as a historical romance. Had it given us more romance, a feeling that Susannah really was willing to give herself over completely to Philip and perhaps just a bit more conflict between them with resolve in the aftermath, the historical documentation would have been a bonus instead of the star.
If you are looking for a mild romance filled with more history than romance then FORTUNE'S SON by Emery Lee is the book for you. If, however, you are looking for an action-filled escape into romance based on a building relationship that takes you into an ever shifting conflict filled pairing with historical settings then perhaps FORTUNE'S SON is not for you. It is difficult for me to recommend this book as a historical romance that will sweep you away but as a historical fiction, I can recommend it for you will surely come away with a little more understanding of the world as it was in 18th Century England. I would never tell anyone not to read a book for everyone's tastes are different and so goes the world. Thankfully. I will say that the cover is absolutely beautiful!
Since I have no plans to re-read this particular book, I would love to give it away to someone who might love it more. If you're interested in receiving my copy of FORTUNE'S SON by Emery Lee, please feel free to leave a quick comment saying so and a VALID E-MAIL ADDRESS so I can contact you. I'm going to leave this Giveaway open to everyone! Giveaway will end on Thursday, February 2, 2012 at 11:59 PM ET. I will announce the lucky recipient on Friday's blog. Thanks and good luck. GIVEAWAY IS CLOSED!