Sandra Ardoin @SandraArdoin
So far, I’ve missed reading Ms. Politano’s debut novel, Lady Jane Disappears, but I’d heard so much about it that I couldn’t wait to get my hands on her second book, A Rumored Fortune.
Tressa Harlowe’s father sends word for his wife and daughter to return to Trevelyan Castle, Tressa’s childhood home. They arrive to find her father dead, a stranger claiming to be the new manager of the vineyard—the only thing her father ever prized—and no money to pay employees and creditors.
‘…Come, let’s have the fortune brought out now. Where has he gone and put it?’
I turned back and looked about for whom she might be talking to, but she remained focused. ‘Why, I haven’t a clue where it is, Mother. I assumed you…’
Her blue eyes froze into two orbs of ice and she dropped my hands. ‘He did not tell you?’
I shook my head, gladness and fear swirling through me that the fortune should be out of her reach, at least for this moment. ‘He said he’d tell me just before he died.’ I looked at Mother and the truth struck us both immediately. Here we were living in this immense castle with a lavish vineyard and a staff of nearly sixty-five…and barely a shilling between us. At Father’s death, we were suddenly the poorest wealthy family in all of England.
Poor Tressa wanted only to be loved and noticed by her father. Now, he’s gone and greedy vultures descend on the property. And let’s not forget Donegan Vance. Oh, my…a mysterious man haunted by past mistakes and out to right them, but a true hero.
The story is told in Tressa’s first person and Donegan’s third person, so it’s never a question as to whose point of view the reader is in. For me at times, there were paragraphs of in-depth narrative that seemed more repetition than new information. However, the writing is lovely, the characters well-rounded with both flaws and redeeming qualities (including some of the many antagonists), and the plot holds a reader’s interest.
Through the use of the father’s grapevines and lost treasure, Ms. Politano weaves a strong spiritual message involving sacrificial love, God’s pruning in our lives, and a dependence on God when everything seems lost.
This is not a book that wraps every plot line in a neat, little bow. For instance, I would have loved to be a fly on the wall when Tressa’s mother finds out….
Well, I won’t spoil the story for you. If you’re like me and enjoy gothic-style books with a Jane Eyre feel (though without the depth of darkness), you should find A Rumored Fortune to be right up your reading alley. I’m giving it 4.8 stars.
Is there a historical, classic story you would like to read revamped in a contemporary setting?