Sunday, November 13, 2011
Review: FORTUNE'S SON by Emery Lee
Emery Lee's Georgian romance, Fortune's Son, is a fascinating, fast-paced tale of power used and abused, opulence, and desperation set in the London world of high-stakes gaming.
Life among the rich, powerful and famous in Georgian London is not as wonderful as you might think. Ask young Philip, estranged second son of an earl, who lives hand-to-mouth by gaming. And ask Susannah, knight's widow, left a small jointure and quickly running out of money. When these two impulsive people, both determined never again to bow to another's command, meet, their chemistry is immediate and explosive. Philip, smitten by the older woman, agrees to teach her how to win at cards. Thus begins the tale of two flawed, wildly impetuous lovers and the disasters they suffer, both of their own making and those brought about by others who wish their downfall.
Highly researched, Fortune's Son gives us a fascinating glimpse of both the grit and the glamor of Georgian society. I love lots of descriptions and Ms. Lee's descriptions of people, places, manners and customs are detailed, accurate and vivid. I also love the Georgian language. I'm not a fan of the current trend to expunge all trace of period speech. Language is part of the story and enhances the feel of the era.
Gaming plays a major role in this novel, and although I love detail, I don't much care for descriptions of card games. Most are too long and boring, and the author's explanation is usually insufficient to explain the action. Ms. Lee has succeeded where others failed. She weaves in enough of the mechanics of the era's card games to propel the story along without confusing us with the esoteric points.
While Ms. Lee's attention to accurate detail makes the era come alive, her main emphasis always remains, as it should, upon Philip's and Susannah's passion, zest for life, frequent mistakes, and their long and tortuous path to love.
Ms. Lee introduced Philip and Susannah in her previous novel, The Highest Stakes. If you haven't read that book, I suggest you read it first. While Fortune's Son stands alone, reading the previous book first will enhance the power of its sequel.
Thank you all,
ARC provided by Sourcebooks