REVIEW: Tempting Fortune by Jo Beverley
Dear Mrs Beverley,
In this second in the Malloren series, you pick up right where My Lady Notorious left off. It’s nice to have read that one for a teensy bit of
backdrop and some more insight into the characters but it’s not necessary as I think you’ve done a great job telling just enough of it so readers aren’t lost in TF, without retelling the whole story as some authors do in series books.
In this book we get to see the seamy side of Georgian London. It’s a world where men and women are seduced by the lure of easy pleasures and where gaming is a right of passage for England’s elite. Portia St. Claire’s brother has learned that the hard way after staking his estate on a turn of the cards. Desperate to find the funds to redeem the debt before their estate is taken from them, Oliver and Portia seek the aid of Fort Ware, Earl of Wargrave. But instead they find themselves tangled up with the second of the Malloren brothers, Bryght.
Bryght is a gamester but only to help fund his many investments and keep up appearances in high society. He finds Portia a novelty and as he sinks deeper and deeper into her life, he finds himself falling in love with her. Even though he knows that she’ll turn his world upside down. Now he just has to a) convince her that he loves her and that b) she loves him and then c) solve her family’s money problems while d) keeping Portia’s virtue from being sold in a brothel to pay her brother’s debts at the same time that he e) fends off an angry Fort out for revenge against the Mallorens even as he is f) trying to thwart his former lover from her revenge on him. Got that, readers?
In MLN we got to see a Georgian house orgy. TF takes us into a high class London brothel. When I read the series, I couldn’t wait to see what other sexually decadent places you were going to find for the rest of the series. I think you do a good job in showing Georgian society in all its beauty and sordidness. It was a world of promise and opportunity, change and exploration.
I enjoyed this book in spite of some flaws. The first time we meet Portia, she veers towards TSTL territory and every now and then she’ll turn her head in that direction if not watched closely. I also thought it ironic that even as she condemed gamesters, she was hoping her brother might win back what he had lost at cards. But she’s one heroine I wound up liking in spite of those facts. Bryght I love. I would marry this man. He has a delicious sense of humor and goes into his topsy turvy relationship with Portia knowing full well what he’s getting into. He also has just enough doubt about whether or not she loves him to keep him from too much arrogance.
Once again we meet the Malloren clan and those around them and learn that for the Mallorens, nothing is impossible. B+