Wednesday, April 27, 2016

REVIEW: "Magnate" by Joanna Shupe

(Knickerbocker Club #1)

For Ages 18+ (Language, Sensuality)
Historical Romance -- Gilded Age America

Kensington/Zebra -- April 26, 2016
eARC, 352 pages
Read in April 2016
Received from Netgalley

Goodreads -- Author Website -- Publisher Website


Born in the slums of Five Points, Emmett Cavanaugh climbed his way to the top of a booming steel empire and now holds court in an opulent Fifth Avenue mansion. His rise in stations, however, has done little to elevate his taste in women. He loathes the city’s “high society” types, but a rebellious and beautiful blue-blood just might change all that.

Elizabeth Sloane’s mind is filled with more than the latest parlor room gossip. Lizzie can play the Stock Exchange as deftly as New York’s most accomplished brokers—but she needs a man to put her skills to use. Emmett reluctantly agrees when the stunning socialite asks him to back her trades and split the profits. But love and business make strange bedfellows, and as their fragile partnership begins to crack, they’ll discover a passion more frenzied than the trading room floor… 

Self-Made Hero, Genius Heroine, Cross-Class Romance

2016 Pick Your Genre Reading Challenge

I received an eARC of this book from Kensington via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Magnate is the first full-length novel in Joanna Shupe's Knickerbocker Club series which focuses on a group of prominent businessman in Gilded Age New York City.  This particular installment features steel mill owner and self-made billionaire, Emmett Cavanaugh,  He has built his empire from the ground up and isn't easily rattled.  But, when Elizabeth Sloane shows up at office asking him to help her start a brokerage firm, his life is changed forever.

I am always fascinated by self-made characters in historical romance so I really enjoyed Emmett's character.  In order to achieve the success he dreamed of, he had to be smart, ruthless, and ambitious which is obvious from the beginning.  But, what makes him stand out and work as a hero is the fact that he cares deeply for his family yet is uncomfortable showing his true feelings.  I have a soft spot for alpha heroes with secret vulnerabilities and that is what Emmett is.

Elizabeth Sloane is exactly the type of heroine that is needed to force Emmett to face his feelings.  She is super smart and ambitious even though society makes sure she knows that her only "purpose" in life is to marry rich and tend a house.  I love it when authors provide readers with heroines who figure out ways to thumb their nose at society's expectations while also feeling realistic.  Lizzie knows what she wants and she isn't afraid to do what she has to in order to get it.

Emmett and Lizzie's romance is full of passion and drama.  They are attracted to one another immediately, but are wary of it though for different reasons.  Unfortunately, in their minds, their hands are forced and they must figure out whether they can work as a married couple despite their differences and trust issues.  Usually communication problems like this get on my nerves in romance, but I thought it made sense for these two characters especially Emmett. They do not know each other well at the time of their marriage and that is evident in the situations they have to deal with.  I was rooting for them to finally reveal their true feelings and the ending made it all worth it.

The setting for this series is another thing that makes it stand out to me.  There aren't many romances set in late 19th century America and I think that is a shame. The mix of old and new money in Gilded Age New York City is perfect for romantic drama.  Joanna Shupe definitely did her research on this time period which is evident in all the little details such as a legendary snowstorm and the way that businessmen worked together to achieve their individual goals.  I am definitely excited to read more about this time with eyes on Emmett's fellow Knickerbockers, railroad baron Will and newspaper publisher Calvin.

I highly recommend Magnate for anyone who loves historical romance and wants something besides Regency England.  The characters are richly drawn from the protagonists to the side characters and the plot is decently paced.  It is very easy to get immersed in this world and I look forward to the publication of Baron this fall so I can do so again.


Tycoon Magnate Baron

1 comment:

  1. I definitely enjoyed the different time period and setting with Magnate... looking forward to the other books in the series too. :)


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