TEMPTING FORTUNE is a re-release of one of Jo Beverly’s out of print Malloren series books. This is Lord Arcenbryght Lancelot William Malloren otherwise known as Bryght, and Portia St. Clair’s book. It is set in the Georgian period, around the 1760’s, a time of hoop skirts for women and powdered hair for men. Bryght is the second born in the Malloren line, known more as a gamester and ladies man than in his dealings with the family estates. Public image and private one differ greatly.
Portia encounter’s Bryght as he is trying to retrieve a letter hidden in a house that Portia and her brother are staying in. She holds a gun on him but it doesn’t stop him. He retrieves the letter, steals a kiss, knocks her brother unconscious and sneaks off into the night. Well, Portia has bigger problems than that, her brother has just gambled away the family estate and she has to find someway of getting enough money to buy back the estate. They are off to London to ask a friend if he will lend them the money, the local banks wouldn’t.
In London their adventures get more and more dangerous. Portia’s brother continues to gamble, he can’t seen to give it up. Finally Portia’s virtue or her brother’s life is the only things left to pay off his debts. She is sent to a brothel where her virginity will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Bryght has seen Portia and her brother a few times in London, one time even gambling with her brother and letting him win, unaware that that was the worst thing he could have done for him. He comes across Portia at the brothel, while out with friends, he feels compelled to rescue her. Portia knows that a relationship with Bryght is out of the question, he is considerably beyond her socially, but there are people that are trying to force them together, thinking that it would punish the Mallorens to have Bryght marry someone so far beneath him.
This is a great book! It is fast paced--Portia is always getting into some sort of trouble (she escapes out of windows more than once). Clear up to the end of the book you aren’t quite sure how she and Bryght will work out their problems. Even getting married doesn't solve most of them; she goes off with the Lord Walgrave (a Malloren family enemy) on her wedding night. With the Malloren’s “All Things Are Possible” and in the end they are. Jo Beverly is a wonderful, captivating author. Reading this book may start you on a journey to read the entire series and her web site provides a great reference to how all the stories relate. The Mallorens are a fascinating family.
Debbie Olson, February 2003
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