Retro review with excerpt: FORTUNE’S SON by Emery Lee

BLURB:

Love is the ultimate gamble… Seasoned gambler Philip Drake knows every trick and uses most of them. After years of infamy, he’s ready to accept the mantle of respectability with his earldom– until a devastating racing loss and the threat of debtors’ prison force Philip right back into his gaming ways…
Susannah, Lady Messingham, is a woman with a past who refuses to belong to any man again. But Philip’s skill catches her eye and she persuades him to teach her how to win at the tables. Their new partnership turns into an exhilarating high-stakes game that entangles them in terrifying risk and unimaginable rewards…
Immerse yourself in the risky side of Georgian England with a pair of lovers who aren’t afraid to risk it all on a toss of the dice…

RHL CLASSIFICATIONS:

Georgian Era

Romantic Historical Fiction

Heat rating 1.5

Reviewer rating: 4.5

REVIEW BY JILL:

“I refuse to be placed under any man’s dominion again. Who, now, must I truly please but myself?”

For Susannah, Lady Messingham her unfulfilling and unhappy ten year marriage to a much older man, is finally over, wanting now to be able to choose the life she wants to live. However, there is a small problem. Not only has she been left virtually penniless, but with a household to maintain, her debts are accruing. How can a lady in 18th century England acquire the necessary funds without tying herself down either as a man’s mistress or his wife?

She had watched him with fascination from across the room. He was a cool one, indeed…. His movements were always deft and self-assured, as if the dice were his to command.

Once Susannah (Sukey) has seen the charming Philip Drake’s skill at the gaming tables, she knows that this is the answer she’s been looking for. Here is a young man that she can use to teach her how to play and win the funds that she needs, to live as she wants.

Set in the Georgian era of 18th C England, Emery Lee has the perfect ‘voice’ for this period. Her research is obvious. Her details of the times are lavish, from the dress, speech, culture and societal etiquette to the specifics on gaming. For readers who enjoy romance as pivotal to a story (as I do), then you will find this a truly satisfying read. Fortune’s Son centres on the romantic relationship between Philip and Sukey who were the secondary characters in Emery Lee’s debut novel The Highest Stakes. Though Fortune’s Son can be read as a stand-alone, if you want to understand the full character of Philip it is ideal to read The Highest Stakes first.

At the end of The Highest Stakes I intensely disliked Philip. He was not evil, but what is probably worse in my opinion, his decisions were driven by selfishness, his character two-faced. Fortune’s Son is also the story of the redemption of Philip Drake. That author Emery Lee is able to turn this Janus from unlikable opportunist to hero, is testament to her ability as a writer.

For readers looking for a meatier historical romance or readers who enjoy historical fiction with romantic elements, Fortune’s Son is the perfect melding of historical fiction and historical romance. Highly recommended.

**Retro review has been posted as  this book is currently available for $.99**

 

EXCERPT:

FSCard

She had watched him with fascination from across the room. He was a cool one, indeed. While others at the tables cursed and shouted with every cast of the die, or unlucky turn of the card, the only trace of emotion displayed by the young man at the center of the Hazard table, was a slight upward tilt of his lips as the croupier paid out his winnings. His movements were always deft and self-assured, as if the dice were his to command.

After a time, she nudged Lady Hamilton to ask, “Jane, who is that young gentleman over there at the Hazard table?”

Jane, Lady Hamilton squinted. “That would be George Selwyn, an aspiring wit, but more of a sad rattle, I’m afraid. He’s younger brother to Albinia, one of Princess Augusta’s new Maids of Honor. You met her earlier this evening, do you remember?”

“But I do, and I am well acquainted with the Selwyns. Nigel was bosom beaus with the Colonel. No, it’s not George, but his companion whom I inquire after, the one presently holding the dice box.”

Jane’s eyes narrowed again, raking the young gent appraisingly. He was taller than average, and uncommonly well proportioned. His complexion was dark, his features more strong than regular, with a determined set to his jaw and a sensuous mouth, but the intensity of his dark eyes was most arresting.

“Hmm. I know him not, but quite a dashing figure he cuts. I think I now comprehend the nature of your curiosity. Surely a cut above a hot brick to warm a young widow’s bed. But don’t you think him a bit …fresh… for a woman of your years?”

“I’m hardly in my dotage!” the younger woman protested. “Besides, you misapprehend my interest. I only observe his uncommon skill at the tables. It appears he never loses.”

“It is purely his skill you admire?” Jane’s indulgent smile bespoke her utter disbelief.

***

To Philip’s surprise, Mr. Gogh detained him as he sought to leave. “A word with you, young sir?”

Philip became instantly defensive. “If there is question of my gamesmanship—”

“I assure you, it is nothing of the kind. I was asked to deliver this message.” Philip opened the note written in a woman’s delicate hand:

My Bold Young Gallant,

Fear of footpads and cutthroats, has me desirous of your escort.

Lady M.

“Above my touch, did you say?” Philip handed George the note. “I trust you can find your way safely without me?”

“Indeed, and I daresay I should be much safer without you this night.” George remarked and then read the missive with a low whistle, adding a cautionary word, “Very interesting to have attracted such notice, but I warned you about her type.”

“Mayhap you are right, and she simply mocks me, but still, I am intrigued. In either case, I shall endeavor to satisfy my curiosity.”

“You might be assured of satisfying a great deal more than curiosity, should you choose to accompany me to Tom King’s, rather than dallying with trouble.”

“No doubt you’ll find enough trouble of your own at that pox-ridden hole-in-the-wall that disguises itself as a coffee house.”

“I hardly think your purse fat enough to become so nice in your tastes, Drake. Besides, if you so choose to involve yourself, mark my words, she’ll cost you more dearly in the end than the best whore in Covent Garden.”

Mr. Gogh cleared his throat in mild rebuke at the exchange, “The lady is outside in her carriage. A gentleman should never keep a lady waiting.”

Philip smirked. “I would rather say, a gentleman always awaits a lady’s pleasure.”

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