Lovers and Ladies: The Fortune Hunter

Jo Beverley
2008 reissue of 1991 release, Regency Romance (Regency England)
NAL, $14.00, 448 pages, Amazon ASIN 0451223365
Part of a series

Grade: C+
Sensuality: Subtle

This is two-in-one of early Jo Beverley trad Regencies (1991 and 1993) with a similar theme: finding love where one least expects it. The individual stories are also somewhat connected; the main characters from The Fortune Hunter make a brief appearance in Deirdre and Don Juan.

The premise of The Fortune Hunter is simple: the de Lacys are a respectable family, but dreadfully poor. The eldest daughter is too plain to possibly attract any wealthy men, and the youngest is, well, too young. It is up to the beautiful middle daughter, Amy, to ensnare a rich husband to support her family and repair their ancient family home. As fate would have it, she meets Harry Crisp, a handsome but not-so-rich man who captures her heart. Still determined to marry for money, Amy eventually confesses her ulterior motives to Harry, who is devastated by this news. They part ways, but when Amy appears in London, Harry canít stop thinking about her, and Amy becomes torn between her duty towards her family and her feelings for him.

As far as characters go, Amy was almost a textbook martyr, and as a result of her self-suffering, I never warmed up to her. On the other hand, it was easy to get a mental picture of her, chin held high, patient look on her face, as she went through the motions of finding a husband. Harry is also a stock character, but his combination of boyishness and manliness has widespread appeal.

With a requisite misunderstanding and a neatly put together ending, The Fortune Hunter offers an above average read. It's solid, really, even if if it's also somewhat uneventful and predictable.

-- Emma Leigh

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