Review: The Heiress Bride

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Heiress BrideThe Heiress Bride (A Duke's Heiress, #3) by Madeline Hunter
Series: A Duke's Heiress #3
Published by Zebra on May 23, 2023
Genres: Historical
Pages: 318

FINAL DECISION: This is a delightful historical romance. Nicholas and Iris’s relationship crackles with flirtation and intense chemistry. The story concludes satisfactorily, but I wanted more time for the couples to savor their happy endings at the end of the series. Still, it’s a thoroughly enjoyable and engaging read.

THE STORY: In the final installment of the trilogy, “The Duke’s Mysterious Heiress,” Nicholas Radnor finds himself in a precarious situation as the new Duke of Hollinburgh. Despite his handsome appearance and charm, Nicholas is burdened with financial difficulties due to his land-poor status. More difficulties arise when Iris Barrington, the last of the three enigmatic women named in the duke’s will, unexpectedly arrives at Nicholas’ doorstep. Nicholas should be skeptical of Iris as she is clearly hiding something, and her story and history are suspicious. Nevertheless, Nicholas is an honorable man, and he works to help determine whether she is the rightful heiress, which is complicated by his immediate and intense attraction to Iris. Iris, an independent and unconventional woman, is a rare book dealer who enjoys a sophisticated and adventurous lifestyle. While she possesses secrets she must protect, she finds it difficult to resist Nicholas’ curiosity and amorous advances. Although she should keep him at arm’s length, his seductive skills make it challenging to maintain her resolve. As the two interact, their mutual attraction complicates matters, but they soon realize that personal gains are not their sole concerns. Nicholas must navigate his newfound responsibilities as the duke, unravel the mystery surrounding Iris’ inheritance, and determine whether their family legacies make them enemies or allies.

OPINION: This is a delightful story that kept me reading to the end in one sitting. One of the standout aspects of the book is the enchanting relationship between Nicholas and Iris, which is both flirty and simmering with intense chemistry. From the very beginning, their connection is palpable, and it’s clear that they are drawn to each other. Despite their undeniable attraction, the characters’ honor and the weight of their secrets prevent them from complicating their relationship, adding a layer of tension and anticipation that kept me eagerly turning the pages.

The book skillfully weaves together the ongoing story surrounding the death of the prior duke, providing a satisfying conclusion to the trilogy. The mysteries and secrets that have been built throughout the series are tied up nicely, offering a sense of closure and fulfillment. Hunter’s ability to seamlessly connect the threads of the overarching plot is commendable, leaving no loose ends and leaving readers satisfied with the resolution.

While there is much to love about this book, the ending left something to be desired by me. The absence of an epilogue where all three couples from the series come together is a missed opportunity. It would have been a joy to see them all in one place, celebrating their love and the triumphs they’ve experienced. Additionally, Nicholas and Iris deserved more time to savor their happy ending, allowing readers to revel in their love story and witness the growth of their relationship.

Despite this slight disappointment, the book remains a highly enjoyable read. The captivating romance between Nicholas and Iris, the well-crafted plot, and the satisfying resolution of the overarching story make it a worthwhile journey. This book left me with a warm and fuzzy feeling, even if I ended up craving just a little more time with the characters.

WORTH MENTIONING: I really enjoyed the foray into book collecting depicted here.

CONNECTED BOOKS: THE HEIRESS BRIDE is the third book in A Duke’s Heiress series. The romance is self-contained in this book, however, there is an overarching mystery about the death of the duke that continues through all three books and is easier to understand if the books are read in order.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: Stealing Midnight

Review: Stealing MidnightStealing Midnight (Beneath the Veil, #4) by Tracy MacNish
Series: Beneath the Veil #4
Published by Zebra on January 1, 2009
Genres: Historical
Pages: 415

FINAL DECISION: I ended up enjoying this book much more than I expected! Some parts were a little slow, but I enjoyed the relationship between Aidan and Olwyn and the different gothic tone of the book.

THE STORY: Olwyn Gawain’s father buys bodies from resurrection men to conduct his investigations. One night a man in his thirties is brought to Olwyn’s home, and she is immediately drawn to the man who appears to be in perfect condition — other than being dead. When her father begins his study, the two discover that the man is alive. When her father wants to continue his experiments, Olwyn escapes from her home with the unconscious man. When he awakes, Aidan Mullin isn’t sure what has happened and who this unworldly woman is. Aidan lies about his identity and is tempted by Olwyn. Olwyn, however, soon discovers the life that Aidan is hiding from.

OPINION: This is a gothic historical with a sense of mystery, drama, and some horror. The writing is different than might be expected because of its subgenre. The story is dark at times, although there is beauty and love between Aidan and Olwyn. The story is melodramatic, and I loved it because it feels so appropriate for the gothic tone of the book.

Olwyn could have been a caricature of an innocent who has been mistreated by her father, but there was something strong and fresh and real about her character even though she feels unworldly and somewhat out of time. She immediately is attracted to the “dead” man who is brought to her father. His presence gives her the strength to break free from her father, and it is so lovely that she accepts that their relationship will be limited and temporary and yet does not shield herself from him. She is the star of this book, and I might have found Aidan annoying in other circumstances, but she makes him more heroic.

Aidan is torn between his developing love for Olwyn and his obligations to the woman he is betrothed to. The situation is complicated, and I appreciated that the author takes the story seriously even as things become even crazier — which readers of gothic novels might expect. There is a beautiful handfast scene that is romantic and lovely. There are some interesting questions raised about consent dealing with Aidan which is not often explored in romance. I don’t want to give away the plot points, but it is explored in subtle ways throughout the book.

The secondary characters in this book are also well-developed (which might be expected as they are part of a series) and yet it was done in a way that didn’t make me feel like I missed something by not reading the prior books in the series. Even the villains are incredibly interesting. There is something really wonderful in how Olwyn develops a relationship with the women in Aidan’s family and how that helps with the resolution of the story.

For the right reader, this is such a good book. The book asks more from its readers as the language and plot might be offputting for some readers. For me, the gothic nature of the book was what I loved most.

WORTH MENTIONING: I was saddened that the author apparently stopped writing after this book. I would have loved to read about Aidan’s brother.

CONNECTED BOOKS: STEALING MIDNIGHT is the fourth book in the Beneath the Veil series. This book can be read as a standalone. I hadn’t read the previous books and didn’t feel like I needed to do so. Both the parents and the grandparents have books, and their stories have some relevance here, but I got all the information I needed here.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.


Review: Heiress in Red Silk

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Heiress in Red SilkHeiress In Red Silk (A Duke's Heiress #2) by Madeline Hunter
Series: A Duke's Heiress #2
Published by Zebra on April 27, 2021
Genres: Historical
Pages: 304


FINAL DECISION: Enjoyable story of two people who are good at their work but not so good at relationships. By the end, I was really rooting for these two but was disappointed by the abbreviated resolution.

THE STORY: The Duke of Hollinburgh has died (perhaps murdered as some suspect) and left fortunes to several women outside the family and unknown to them. This book picks up the story about the second woman, Rosamund Jameson, who has been left money and half of a company. The other half is owned by Kevin Radner who is none too pleased by his new partner.

Rosamund designs hats and has a shop and has no intention of signing away her new business interest as Kevin wants. Instead, she insists on being a true partner which infuriates Kevin and makes him consider marriage to control Rosamund’s interest. But Kevin gets more than he bargained for in approaching Rosamund.

OPINION: I really enjoyed this book. The characters were often difficult to grapple with which made their romance that much better.

Rosamund is both practical and realistic and yet also innocent and perhaps a little silly about certain things. I enjoyed how many times I saw her as a fully fleshed-out person with strengths and weaknesses. So often in romance these days, the desire to show a practical woman with strength as she practices her trade and goes through life is tied tightly to those same qualities in her personal life. But that is not often how people are in real life. We all have weaknesses and frailties and having weaknesses does not take away Rosamund’s great business sense.

Kevin is also intensely good at what he does but really bad about personal relationships. Another aspect I enjoyed was how he must learn to allow Rosamund into all parts of his life because not only does she make the personal better, but her intelligence and business sense also can complement and enhance his own business.

I particularly enjoy books where both characters grow and change because of the relationship and not a book where the heroine is perfect and stays that way and the story is instead her bringing the hero to heel.

I really ended up loving these characters. My only complaint about this book is that it ended too quickly. After the final resolution of the conflicts in the book, I would have liked more with Rosamund and Kevin just being shown happy for a little while or an epilogue just so I could feel that their lives together have been cemented. I missed that in this book.

WORTH MENTIONING: The hero of this book, Kevin, is at times difficult to understand or even to like. Although there is no specific mention, because of the time period, it is pretty clear that Kevin is on the spectrum. I especially enjoyed that aspect, but he does not act or think like a “stereotypical” historical romance hero, and I’ve noticed that some reviews ding this book for that reason.

CONNECTED BOOKS: HEIRESS IN RED SILK is the second book in the A Duke’s Heiress series. The romance here is self-contained and thus it can be read as a standalone although the overarching storyline is much better if this book is read after HEIRESS FOR HIRE.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley in order to prepare this review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: Heiress for Hire

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Heiress for HireHeiress for Hire (A Duke's Heiress #1) by Madeline Hunter
Published by Zebra on April 28, 2020
Genres: Historical

FINAL DECISION: Lovely, slow burn story. I loved the hero and heroine’s competing investigations. Both damaged by the past, these two learn to trust one another in a sweet and sexy murder mystery romance.

THE STORY: Minerva Hepplewhite whacks an intruder on the head but finds out that he has been searching for her to tell her that his uncle, a recently deceased duke, has left her a small fortune and she is now an heiress. Chase Radnor also considers Minerva a suspect in the duke’s suspicious death. Both Minerva and Chase end up conducting competing investigations into the duke’s death. This brings them into competition and cooperation with one another.

OPINION: I found the relationship between Minerva and Chase to be comforting and incredibly loving. The two are competitors but also find themselves partnering in the investigation into the duke’s death. The two have a relationship that is adult and based upon discussion and care. Minerva is an incredibly strong woman and yet has a fragile part of her hidden. Chase is able to see that in Minerva and care for her. While the two are physically attracted to one another, their relationship is also based on their attraction to the cleverness of the other and the genuine good person the other is. The book is a bit of a slow burn, but in a lovely way.

Both Chase and Minerva have been burned by their pasts which lead them to question their own judgment. Seeing them find a reason to trust the other was heartwarming. I loved how gentle this book is with their emotions.

While the romance in this book is complete, there are overarching questions regarding the mystery that are left open at the end of this book which is part of a series.

WORTH MENTIONING: The heroine was subject to an abusive marriage and while the book is not graphic as to that abuse, it is a significant aspect of the book for those who are sensitive to the topic.

CONNECTED BOOKS: HEIRESS FOR HIRE is the first book in the Duke’s Heiress series.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an eARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: Never Deny a Duke

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Never Deny a DukeNever Deny a Duke (Decadent Dukes Society, #3) by Madeline Hunter
Series: Decadent Dukes Society #3
Published by Zebra on April 30, 2019
Genres: Historical


FINAL DECISION: I loved the restrained hero who hides some secrets and the independent woman who fascinates him. I especially enjoyed that these two become friends and there is great respect between them before passion wins out.

THE STORY: Eric Marshall, the Duke of Brentworth is incensed when he learns that a Scottish woman, Davina MacCallum, seeks to gain control of one of his family’s properties claiming that her family are the rightful heirs and it should not have been added to the ducal estate. Brentworth is determined to turn away the fraud, but his anger is in direct proportion to his intense attraction to Miss MacCallum. Davina wants to reclaim her family legacy in order to build a life for herself and establish a medical facility on the property — honoring her father’s work and her own interests in the medical field. But first she has to wrest the property from the duke.

OPINION: While I admittedly tend to enjoy the outwardly passionate stories, I really did like this book even with its restraint. In the beginning of this book the hero is really buttoned up (but fear not, we learn some of his secrets later). The relationship between the hero and heroine begin in polite (and not so polite) arguments. Some might not be interested in the details of the land inheritance, but I found the investigation quite interesting.

Eric is such a restrained man but he has an essential kindness and respect of Davina that I really liked. He is a man living with his mistakes but he is a good person. Davina is an independent a woman who is unconventional for her time. Yet, what is especially enjoyable in this book is that it feels like this book stays within the constraints of its time. So often these days, historicals have characters who sound like they fell from the streets of modern America into a time machine. These characters are progressive for their time, but the way they interact with one another and even in the constraints of their time felt more realistic.

This romance is quieter and the relationship takes time to progress, but I enjoyed it quite a bit. It reminded me of the type of book that Mary Balogh — a restrained slow burn.

I especially liked seeing the other couples from the series who have important supporting roles here as well.

WORTH MENTIONING: There is a nice little epilogue to reward readers of the series.

CONNECTED BOOKS: NEVER DENY A DUKE is the third book in the Decadent Dukes Society series. While the romance here is self-contained and thus the story can be read as a standalone, the overlapping characters makes this book richer by being familiar with their stories.

STAR RATING: I give this book 4 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: Once a Rebel

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: Once a RebelOnce a Rebel (Rogues Redeemed #2) by Mary Jo Putney
Series: Rogues Redeemed #2
Published by Zebra on August 29th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 368

FINAL DECISION:  Childhood friends who become lovers, this story takes place in an under-represented time period which makes the events interesting. The story is a slow burn and the romance develops more slowly than I would like.

THE STORY: Callista Brooke is in the middle of the burning of Washington in the War of 1812. Widowed from the man her father forced her to marry, Callista is now raising her husband’s illegitimate children. In danger, a man rides up to save her. Lord George Gordon Audley has taken the job of bringing Callista back to England. What Gordon didn’t know is that Callista is his childhood friend. Callista is shocked by the appearance of her friend Richard who she believed died after being transported for “kidnapping” her. What had actually happened was the Richard had attempted to rescue Callista from her forced marriage, but the two had been caught by their fathers. Now Richard and Callista must make their way to safety during a war.

OPINION:  I enjoyed the relationship between the hero and heroine here, but the actual ending seemed a bit wanting for me. This is a story of two people who are friends, are apart for almost half their lives and then find one another again. For Richard and Callista, there isn’t a “wow, my friend is now a hottie that I want and love” moment. That was not only okay for me but felt natural. The two begin a relationship based on respect and friendship as they navigate the dangers that surround them both from the war and also the personal problems. But I really wanted something to click with them sooner than it did and something more passionate and exciting to happen between them personally.  Instead, this is a “we gradually realize that we must be in love” story.

I was a bit disappointed by this, because I liked there characters. They both have had difficult lives since they parted, but have made themselves survivors. This is an opportunity for them to finally find something joyous with one another.

I especially liked the time and place of this book as it begins because not many romances are set in America during the War of 1812. This book gives a glimpse into a different time period. The characters also manage to move back to more familiar England and a whole new set of issues arise.

Although the action in the last portion of the book happens really quickly, I ended up loving the relationship between Richard and Callista at that point. The two have found some joy and peace with one another and the drama is the catalyst that brings them finally to the realization that they truly love one another. (But the relationship never seems like a deeply passionate one).

WORTH MENTIONING: One thing that bothered me about this story is how Callista’s step-children are so important to her but they characters are jettisoned part way through the book. I felt the story should have committed to them or excised them completely.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  ONCE A REBEL is the second book in the Rogues Redeemed series. While there are overlapping characters, this book can be read as a standalone without missing anything at all.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write a review or to write a positive review. All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: The Most Dangerous Duke in London

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Most Dangerous Duke in LondonThe Most Dangerous Duke in London (Decadent Dukes Society, #1) by Madeline Hunter
Series: Decadent Dukes Society #1
Published by Zebra on May 30th 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 304

FINAL DECISION: Fabulous start to a new series.  Didn’t go in the direction I expected and I ended up loving Adam. Motives are mysterious until all is revealed which built suspense and interest.  Loved these two together.

THE STORY:  Adam Penrose, Duke of Stratton, has returned to England after years in France following his father’s death.  Adam has returned for revenge and to find out who set the events in motion which led to his father’s death.  He is also in pursuit of a wife.  He discovers Lady Clara Cheswick, the daughter of his family’s longtime enemy.  Lady Clara has no intention of agreeing to Adam’s determined pursuit of her as she is independent and spending her time managing her own property and interests.  Then there is the also the question of what Adam’s true motives are.

OPINION: This book was more intimate and personal than I expected from the description.  Really focusing on the developing relationship between Adam and Clara, the reader is left questioning what Adam’s motives are.

Clara is a woman who desire for independence even if that means upsetting conventional behavior and roles for women.  Having inherited property of her own, Clara plans never to marry but instead publish a paper for women — written by women.  She is independent but isn’t willing to toss away all convention.  That creates tension as she tries to exist both in and outside of society’s expectations.  She also struggles with her relationship with her family.  While she doesn’t always feel close to them, her loyalty to her father makes her suspicious of Adam’s motives — perhaps rightfully.

Adam is mysterious through much of the book.  By the end of the book, however, I loved Adam. In the book, people wonder what Adam’s motives are for returning to England…and the reader is left to wonder as well.  By not cluing readers in to Adam’s thoughts on the matter, the story has more tension and mystery.  And the story needs that mystery because this book is truly driven by Adam’s reasons for returning to England and what his plans are.

This book feels more intimate and personal because the focus of the book is truly the relationship between Adam and Clara.  Can Clara trust Adam? Why is he pursuing a relationship with her? Does he truly intend to marry her? Why?  What I ended up loving about this book is that the answers are more complex than a simple narrative.

WORTH MENTIONING:  Oh, I can’t wait for the other two upcoming heroes. There are some good stories to be told there.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  THE MOST DANGEROUS DUKE IN LONDON is the first book in the Decadent Dukes Society.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4.5 stars.

NOTE:  I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: Mogul

I received this book for free from Netgalley in order to prepare an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: MogulMogul (The Knickerbocker Club, #3) by Joanna Shupe
Series: The Knickerbocker Club #3
Published by Zebra on January 31st 2017
Genres: Historical
Pages: 352

FINAL DECISION:  The weakest of the series, this book is about two people getting a second chance at love.  I liked the story overall, but I didn’t enjoy the romance as much because the characters seemed to have too many convoluted reasons to be apart.

THE STORY: Calvin Cabot has risen from a reporter to owning a number of large newspapers.  His only regret is the woman he had to leave behind.  Lillian Davies is the daughter of a self-made man but her father has greater aspirations for her. Calvin and Lillian had married in a whirlwind courtship until Lillian’s father stepped in.  After an annulment, the two have been apart.  Now Lily needs Calvin’s help when her brother disappears and the two find that their attraction to one another has not diminished with time.

OPINION:  I liked so much of this book, but the romance was a weak point.  So while I loved the time period, loved the motivating story about Lily’s brother’s disappearance. There was a little too much drama with Lily and Calvin and too many things working to keep them apart that the drama exhausted me and my patience in the book. So while I liked the book, it’s not one I would return to again.

Lily is a woman who has taken the reins of her family’s business, Lily is strong and independent but still hurts from what she believes was Calvin’s betrayal years ago. I liked her and liked her journey, but I couldn’t help but think that she was annoyingly naive for believing the explanation for the annulment in the beginning.

Calvin was a character that I had expected to like a great deal, but once again, I got too annoyed and caught up in his continued lies and half-truths to Lily. I understand his loyalty and his feeling that he could not reveal the truth, but it got tiring that he kept being placed in the position to self-destruct his relationship with Lily. I was inclined to like him, but I got tired of his drama by the end.

It might sound that I didn’t like this book.  Actually, I liked it well enough, but it didn’t live up to the promise of the other books in the series. I suppose I was more disappointed because while I loved the premise of the book and I found the history explored in it fascinating, I just got too annoyed by the misunderstandings between the characters to want a re-read.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book explores the history of discrimination against the Chinese in the United States and the consequences of the exclusionary policies of the government.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  Mogul is the third book in the Knickerbocker Club series. It is not necessary to have read any of the previous book in the series although there are overlapping characters.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3 stars.

NOTE: I received an ARC of this book via Netgalley in order to provide a review. I was not required to write positive review.  All opinions contained herein are my own.


Review: Baron

Review: BaronBaron (The Knickerbocker Club, #2) by Joanna Shupe
Series: The Knickerbocker Club #2
Published by Zebra on October 25th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 311

FINAL DECISION:  I liked the quirky heroine who is strong willed-independent and a survivor. She completely upends the ordered life of the hero who is a bit of a difficult character to like at first. Ultimately, I liked their romance but it was a bit of a trial for me to get there.

THE STORY:  The heir to old money William Sloane is a railroad baron who has decided to run for state government.  In order to protect his running mate, however, he has to cut the tie his running mate has with a medium Madam Zolikoff who William knows is a fraud. When William approaches Madam Zolikoff, he finds Ava Jones (who works under the pseudonym).  Ava is working as a medium in order to support her orphaned siblings. William is reluctantly intrigued by the spirited Ava even as he knows that he has to marry a woman of his own class; Ava is wary of William after having been burned by a man before.

OPINION:  I thought this novel had a new story to tell because of its setting and time.  The characters and situation felt fresh even as the cross-class story of a rich aristocratic man and lower class woman is familiar.  These characters and their situation was new.

Ava was my favorite in the book.  She is so strong and determined.  A woman who has carried a heavy burden of caring for her family, she has done well for herself. She knows she is skirting the edge of wrongdoing with her medium act, but she tries to be the most honest she can. I loved her relationship with her siblings and her fears and desperation when it comes for being responsible for them. I felt for her after her abandonment by her lover and understood her stances as she tries to balance her desires with her fears and her responsibilities.

Will was a more difficult character for me to like.  He was a jerk in the last book and he doesn’t start out much better here (actually, he might be worse).  Self-righteous, entitled, self-indulgent, he looks down on Ava from the start. As the story continues, I began to have, if not sympathy, then understanding of his actions.  By the end of the book, I felt he had changed enough to be worthy of Ava, but the time it took to get there diminished my interest in the book somewhat.

WORTH MENTIONING:  This book has some fascinating history about the prevalence of spiritual mediums at the time and takes place amidst the corruption of Tammany Hall.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  BARON is the second book in the Knickerbocker Club series.  It can be read as a standalone although I recommend reading book 1 first just to learn more about the characters.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 3.5 stars.


Review: Magnate

Review: MagnateMagnate (The Knickerbocker Club, #1) by Joanna Shupe
Series: The Knickerbocker Club #1
Published by Zebra on April 26th 2016
Genres: Historical
Pages: 325

FINAL DECISION:  A romance between the birth rich heroine and a self-made man, this story is animated by the heroine’s own ambitions.  The characters are rich and interesting and I loved how these two slowly overcome their own inclinations.

THE STORY:  Emmett Cavanaugh is a self-made man who comes from the slums and has brought himself to the heights of wealth and influence. The one thing he has kept away from is useless society women until he is approached by Elizabeth Sloane.  Elizabeth knows that Emmett and her brother meet together and are friends.  She has taught herself to play the stock market and wants to back her in opening an investing company hoping to fix her family’s finances. Emmett, however, is not friends with Elizabeth’s brother at all.  Indeed, he decides to use Elizabeth to go after her brother and his company.

OPINION:  A book that has life because of its unique setting and characters.  The novelty of a book taking place in this era with characters of a more modern bent make all the situations interesting and new. A woman desiring to open her own business playing the stock market is not an everyday historical.

Elizabeth is a woman struggling against the expectations of history and her own status. Her brother wants her to have “expected” dreams — marriage, family and society events. Elizabeth desperately dreams for independence and self-determination. That desire makes her reckless in approaching Emmett and continuing to meet with him.

Emmett is a man who has made his fortune but resents those with inherited wealth. It leads him to misjudge Elizabeth and continue with his ill-conceived idea of ruining her brother. Yet, he is incredibly forward thinking in his view of what Elizabeth should be allowed to do.

I liked the interaction between these two and I totally fell for their romance.  The only negative for me was that the motivations of the characters became rather convoluted as Emmett and Elizabeth do some assuming about the other’s actions.

WORTH MENTIONING:  MAGNATE takes place during the Gilded Age in New York City.

CONNECTED BOOKS:  MAGNATE is the first full book in the Knickerbocker Club series.  There is a prequel novella, but this book can be read without it.

STAR RATING:  I give this book 4 stars.