I think it is important to first point this out Romantic Historical Fiction, is not a mistake, it is a deliberate choice to categorize a sub-genre of historical fiction. Historical Romance is much too broad a brush. Emery Lee is an author who writes historical fiction with an emphasis on romance. While her stories are relationship driven dont be fooled by the covers, there is serious research and substantial scholarship behind her writing. Lees talent, is how she takes you into the decadent, lush Georgian time period and can impart a wealth of information which is intelligently presented in her own unique style. She sweeps you into the England of George II. Fortunes Son is a powerfully emotional love story set at the time when the Hanoverian King was anything but secure on his throne.
With the absolute glut of Tudors reheated, I cannot tell how happy I am to find a book that is, a) not about the Tudors. b) A brilliantly executed work of historical fiction. Emery Lees Fortunes Son, is part sequel and part prequel. Beginning and ending 1751. We find Phillip in a state of financial ruin... But how did he get there? How did Sukie and Phillip meet? How did they live their lives from 1739 to 1751? Get ready and enjoy the ride. This is a standalone novel but I recommend that you also read The Highest Stakes.
Philip Drake is the younger son of the Earl of Hasting, who has lived his life away from his cold father, determined to go his own way and in so doing has garnered a reputation as a Greek. Which in the modern vernacular would be a shark. He knows just how fickle lady luck can be. Well how else is a disgraced younger son unwilling to bow to his father and elder brothers machinations; supposed to make his way in society where gentlemen didnt work? He is only about 20 after all.
Susannah, (Sukie) Lady Messingham, is a woman 10 years Phillips senior and refuses to belong to any one man again, not even if the man is the Prince of Wales. Meeting Philip and seeing his skill a plan begins to form. If Phillip can make a living gambling why cant she? There is only one catch she needs to learn how to gamble. She persuades him to become her teacher, and show her how to win at the tables. Reluctantly Phillip agrees to instruct her if only to protect her; also in hopes of becoming more to Sukie, than teacher and gaming partner.
While there is so much more I wont go into here. I will say that I enjoyed Ms. Lees intelligent take on this historical period, the world of high stakes gambling, that was not just cards and dice, the English would wager on anything and everything and it was fascinating. I think that Ms. Lee has a rare gift and I am looking forward to reading her books for years to come. 4 stars