Reviewed by Susan S.
Summary: Hero, Philip Drake, is the proverbial black sheep of his family. And an embarrassing disappointment to his father, the Earl of Hastings. Philip is a rebellious and impulsive young man; who’s spent the last four years drinking, bedding tavern maids, and gambling. Drake’s life is an unmitigated disaster; a reckless gamester locked in a cycle of wins and losses.
When Philip reluctantly agrees to teach a young widow to play cards, he turns a deaf ear to his friend’s cautionary warning. It’s not long after Susannah, Lady Messingham, enters his life that he finds himself in financial ruin.
Life is about to teach Philip and Susannah that when there’s nothing left to lose, there’s still something to be gained.
Review: I could pardon Philip’s impulsive nature in youth, but felt let down he reverted back to old patterns of behavior (after a ten year military career). His good intentions fell short. Sadly, I wasn’t able to connect with the hero. And when he marries “another” lady for her dowry, I stopped sympathizing with his character. His sulking and self imposed pity also failed in endearing me to him.
Now, the heroine is a horse of a different color. She was more relatable. Here’s this young widow managing her finances for the first time, while trying to maintain her mode of living among societal circles. Sure, she makes mistakes. Some were monumental, but she learns from them. Matures.
I enjoyed the twelve year journey showing the evolvement of the main characters; with their highs and their lows. And think the author did a nice job with the story’s resolution. Her strength lies in presenting the reader with great imagery. Her details also appear to be accurate, seeing as I did verify a few out of sheer curiosity.
The story itself would’ve been much improved with the editing of the terminated near rape scene. It felt misplaced in this story, and would’ve fitted more comfortably within another genre. I would read Ms. Lee’s future novels, but am hoping for a stronger hero next time. As that does seem to be my preference.
Recommendations: This novel will appeal to those readers who enjoy the damaged hero/nurturing heroine as well as the older woman/younger man tropes. If you like card games (like Blackjack) and gambling, this is definitely “the” book for you. I’m also recommending it to those who like to read romantic historical novels, more specifically, during the Georgian era. Certain readers may not agree with the infidelity themes throughout, or with the capture of a young lady (near rape scene).
Disclosure: I received this novel free of charge in exchange for my honest review.
Favorite scene #1: After riding on horseback in the rain for almost four hours, Philip shows up at Susannah’s home completely drenched. LOVE that scene! Wanted more of them. Anyhow, she recommends he remove the wet clothes. Which he does. But he hit a snag; Drake’s having trouble with the wet boots. He can’t take them off. His instructions to her are absolutely hilarious. Picture his leg between hers, Messingham’s rear end facing him-while she’s yanking and yanking. `Course, he loves every minute of it. He’s turned on.
Favorite scene #2: You know what I love about Georgian romances? That there’s always a duel. Some man is always seeking satisfaction, and I love when he gets it! This novel has a duel. J
Buy: Fortune’s Son
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Published by Sourcebooks Casablanca, an imprint of Sourcebooks, Inc., Historical Romance, November 2011, Mass Market Paperback, Print Pages 445. ISBN# 978-1-4022-5644-8.