Monday, January 30, 2012

Unwrapping: A REVIEW + GIVEAWAY

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!

Happy Reading!

                                                                

9 comments:

PamM said...

I would like it. It sounds good even if it doesn't have a lot of romance. Kydirtgirl68 AT Gmail DOT com

Beebs said...

Hi Amy

Hmmmm, not sure about this. I like to keep my historical fiction and my historical romance separate.

I've just been reading a blogpost by the author and she has moved into erotic romance now, which seems to have been very well received.

Amy Valentini said...

Hi Beebs,

That's interesting that she has decided to now write erotic romance since this one seemed almost prudish in comparison to most. That's quite a swing from this one to erotic. I wish her luck. Thanks for coming by. Release Tuesday tomorrow, so stop by and see what you want to add to your list. Some really yummy ones! : )

Amy Valentini said...

Hi PamM,
Thanks for coming by. It's not a bad book, it's just not what I was expecting. The writing is good, I'd just hoped more from the story. [sigh] Not a busy day here on the blog. Might not have to use the randomizer if no one else wants it. ; )

June M. said...

I would like to read this book. I have seen some really good reviews of the book. I do think that there are a lot of things that determine how much we enjoy a book. I know I have read books that others have loved, and I had to make myself finish them. And I have loved books that others have not enjoyed much.
Thanks for the chance to win a copy.
June
manning_j2004 at yahoo dot com

Amy Valentini said...

Hi June M., glad you stopped by and are still interested in reading FORTUNE'S SON. Everyone's tastes are different that's why I can never condemn a book, merely point out what I like and don't like.
It looks like the randomizer is going to get used after all. Good luck. : )

Dalila G. said...

Hi Amy,

Heard of this book, I was planning on reading it.
A friend of mine has it and said she'll loan it to me after she finished reading it, she's still trying to finish it. She, like you, also mentioned that it's not really a romance as much as a mini history book. I believe that's why she taking a long time in finishing this book. She does like 'romance' in her romance books, something she claims is missing.

Thanks for your honest review, have a nice day!

Amy Valentini said...

Hi Dalila,
I'm glad I'm not the only one who saw this book as something other than a true romance. It's not a bad book, the writing is wonderful, it's just more history than I expected. I'll never lead you wrong. If I love a book, I'll rave, if I like a book, I'll tell you what I like and what I don't like and if I ever review one I truly do not like, I'll be honest about that, too. It does have a beautiful cover. LOL!! Have a good one!

Hilary V said...

I would love to read this

hvpoolyATgmailDOTcom

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