Title: The Fortune Hunter
Author: Bonnie Dee
Publisher: Self Published
Release Date: January 2, 2018
Genre(s): Historical Romance
Page Count: 235
Reviewed by: Crabbypatty
Heat Level: 3 flames out of 5
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
A man with nothing finds everything.
Abandoned at birth, WWI veteran Hal Stanton faces bleak employment prospects in post-war London. Desperation spurs him to reinvent himself to hook a wealthy wife, one he will be devoted to even if he feels no real passion. But when he meets his fiance’s cousin, Julian Needham, it’s all he can do to keep his heart in check and his eye on the prize.
From the moment he’s introduced to the charming stranger Margaret plans to marry, Julian suspects the man’s motives yet fights a relentless attraction. He’s determined to reveal Hal as a fraud but must handle the matter delicately to protect his sweet cousin’s feelings. A weekend at the family estate should allow time and opportunity for him to expose Halstead Wiley.
Even as the men match wits in a battle of attempted unmasking, powerful sexual attraction threatens to overcome them both and win the day. Can a true love connection possibly grow between these adversaries without destroying lives and loved ones?
I’m a fan of M/M historical romance and I especially enjoy Bonnie Dee’s historical books set in the years around the turn of the 20th century (The Tutor – set in 1893; The Masterpiece – set in 1909). The Fortune Hunter is set in London, 1920 shortly after the end of WWI. It’s a time when life was changing for the upper class, as well as the men returning home from the war.
30-year-old Julian is a fairly unlikable character who hasn’t visited his family or their ancestral home Barton Park in years. When he meets his beloved cousin Margaret’s new fiance Hal, he is immediately distrusting of Hal and determined to learn his motives. A weekend invitation to Barton Park seems like a perfect way to suss out details.
War veteran Hal has a heartbreaking backstory and while he could be considered a con artist, he’s a fortune hunter with a heart of gold. He genuinely adores Margaret for her brains and her passion for women’s rights and is willing to let her follow her dreams as long as he achieves his dreams of a family and home. He is determined to be a kind and loving husband to Margaret, vowing to himself to never stray from his wedding vows.
Yet … there is a frisson of tension and sexual interest between Julian and Hal that leads both men to second guess their plans. Bonnie Dee does a beautiful job of fleshing out characters and making you feel their passions, and even secondary characters are nicely developed. This is not a story with insta-love but rather a slow steady build and the outcome just feels right (and the ending is all sorts of perfect and fitting for the time period).
My only complaint is that the pacing was slow at times, and that Julian had a long way to go to become likable (but finally got there) Bonnie Dee and M/M historical romance is a great fit and I give The Fortune Hunter 4 solid stars.
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