Plot: Julian’s cousin, Benjamin Parker, is rich and respected by London society but Julian is the other kind of Parker. Empoverished and excluded because of his father’s debts and behaviour, he has returned to England to forge his own reputation and to find a rich wife. Yet the person he really desires is the young lord Oscar Woodhaven.
This review is based on an ARC provided by Netgalley.
Fortune Hunters is the second novella in Ava March’s Brook Street trilogy (I will be reviewing the third novella, Rogues, very soon). But you don’t need to have read the first novella to understand and enjoy this one.
This is another of Carina Press’ erotic m/m romances but we’ve gone from a post-apocalyptic future to the regency period. I liked this one a bit less, however. Fortune Hunter had a good premise, but was poorly executed. If all you want is a few passionate love scenes you may be satisfied (though, while I’m on the subject, “buggered” is not a sexy word), but do not buy this for history or deep characterization.
One of the problems is that the alternating narrators (Julian and Oscar) do not serve the story. We will see things happen in one scene and then the other narrator will tell us about it in another. One character will wonder what the other is thinking but a previous scene will already have described those thoughts at length. It’s painfully repetitive.
These lengthy description of the characters’ thoughts and feelings is another problem. There is no subtlety. We are never allowed to devine what people feel, to notice flaws in their behaviour that they don’t recognize. Instead we are told everything word for word. For example, Julian comes to the realization that he has been lazy and spoiled to want to get money the easy way, by marrying, instead of working for it (is that a period appropriate moral?) That could have been a good ending if March had actually shown us these flaws through his early behaviour. Instead she had to explain the problem to us at the end.
I could have ignored these flaws because I don’t mind a little silliness in my romance. What I am looking for is that feeling of vicarious excitement. The sex scenes certainly provided but it wasn’t quite enough. Half the fun for me is the flirtation, the anticipation before they ever reach the bedroom. But there was just a bit of “does he like men?” “does he realize that I like men?” before they were off to bed. It makes you feel that anyone might do as long as they had the right inclinations.
All that being said, the novella holds promise. I enjoyed it in spite of (and sometimes for) its flaws, though I admit to laughing at times when I was supposed to be pained or titilated. I honestly believe that another draft could have fixed many of the problems.