Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Magnate- Joanna Shupe

Magnate (The Knickerbocker Club)- Joanna Shupe
Kensington Books
Release Date: April 26, 2016

Synopsis: 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...
Magnate, first in a new series by Joanna Shupe, combines 2 of the more fun romance genre plots: marriage between strangers and being trapped in a storm, and creates something enjoyable new to read.  Set around the March 1888 East Coast snowstorm, Magnate is a clash of cultures when blue blooded Lizzie and self-made Emmett combine forces- first to make money and then to make a marriage.  Both feel an instant attraction for the other, but Emmett is convinced no woman- especially one as fine as Lizzie- could possibly love him.  When a compromising situation forces them to marry both are secretly happy. Then the misunderstandings begin, brotherly blackmail, rebuffed suitors, revenge, and pride prevent them from talking things out and both are miserable.  A huge snowstorm trapping them together in Emmett's office may be the best thing that could happen!  

Lizzie is my favorite sort of historical romance heroine: a strong woman who is willing to go against social conventions in pursuit of what is right and will make her happy.  She constantly buts heads with her conservative older brother and friends, none of whom understand her desire to enter the world of stocks and trades and high finance.  But she knows she has talent and wants to set up a stock brokerage firm that will allow women investors to make money on the stock exchange.  She is willing to work behind the scenes until her success is clear and let a man take the front stage, and is convinced her talent will speak for itself if she only gets a chance.  Emmett is a self-made billionaire who vows none of his siblings will ever have to worry about money. He worked his way out of the slums and doesn't care for "high society" and its rules, but wants his younger sisters to be able to take their place in society when they are of age.  He's now above bending society's rules to get what he wants.  I loved how, as soon as Lizzie proved her financial acumen, Emmett never questioned her, or treated her as second class.  The fact that she was a woman didn't prevent him from accepting her as an equal- even if he does start out backing her mostly to annoy her older brother.  Even when Emmett was at his most annoying, refusing to drop his pride and talk with Lizzie when they started to having misunderstandings, he remained unshakeable in his support of her abilities- the first person to compliment her brains and see her for who she could be.

I loved watching them grow as people and in their relationship, figuring out how a marriage between such very different yet similar personalities would work.  Shupe creates engaging characters that drew me in from page one, and is brilliant in immersing the reader in 1888 New York.  Clothes, transportation, homes, New York itself, were brilliantly described while not making it seem as if she was describing them- the very best kind of world building whether you're writing fantasy or history! Magnate is an engaging, exciting, wonderful read!

I received an ARC of this book from NetGalley for an honest review.

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