ROMANCE

Magnate

Zebra: Kensington. (Knickerbocker Club, Bk. 1). May 2016. 352p. ISBN 9781420139846. pap. $7.99; ebk. ISBN 9781420139853. HISTORICAL ROMANCE
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OrangeReviewStarFrustrated by her brother's dismissive attitude toward her plans to open a stock brokerage firm, socialite and sub rosa investor Elizabeth Sloane goes to the one man powerful and wealthy enough to help her—steel magnate Emmett Cavanaugh. But Emmett rose from the squalor of Five Points and has little regard for members of the privileged upper classes, even lovely, smart ones such as Elizabeth—until she makes him a wager he can't refuse and their lives take a startling turn. A cast of well-defined supporting characters (Emmett's young siblings are most memorable and an underhanded villain is wonderfully despicable), an inconvenient—or make that convenient—historic snowstorm, and a thread of mystery keep the pages turning.
VERDICT A determined heroine ahead of her time and a daring, sometimes ruthless entrepreneur who clawed his way to the top find validation in an engaging romance that successfully launches a trilogy highlighting New York's opulent Gilded Age. Quotes from American Etiquette and Rules of Politeness (1883) introduce each chapter and provide perspective on the social attitudes of the times. Shupe (The Lady Hellion) lives in South Orange, NJ.

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