The Fortune Hunter by Daisy Goodwin

Reviewed by Katy Zignego (Library Staff)

The Fortune Hunter is not a Pulitzer Prize winner. The plot is flimsy, the characters flat, the writing barely passable. I know what you’re thinking: Yeah, that’s what historical romances are like! They’re formulaic, but they’re fun. Innocent girl meets handsome rake, girl is compromised, rake reforms, everyone has lots of sex and all is right with the world. Right?

Almost right. The problem with The Fortune Hunter is that it is not accepting of its fate as a bodice-ripper. First of all, no bodices were harmed in the making of this book. Our heroine, Charlotte, stays decorously buttoned up the whole time. Second, one of the great joys of the historical romance novel genre is witty, period-appropriate repartee between the lovers (a la Jane Austen). While Charlotte has a bit of spark to her conversation, love interest Bay is taciturn and downright boring.

Five years ago, this book would not have been published, at least in its present form. Some editor would have demanded the author insert some seriously steamy sex scenes, or more likely just dumped the manuscript in the shredder. But the enormous success of Downton Abbey has created a space in the literary world for the Victorian daytime soap genre: not clever enough to be Austen, not risque enough to be Cinemax.

Located in Adult Fiction (FIC GOODWIN)

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