I loved Lady Jayne Disappears, Joanna Davidson Politano’s debut novel, so I was excited to read her second book, A Rumored Fortune. Politano’s writing is exquisite, and it’s so full of deep meaning if you dig into it, pull it apart, and analyze it.
The surface story is fantastic, but I thought the analogies between vineyards and people really enriched it. It’s obvious that the author did much research into this subject. The richly painted setting and characters drew me in and kept me intrigued to the end. I loved the added touch of the epigraphs at the beginning of each chapter. They were filled with wisdom that pertains both to vines and people.
“Pruning involves difficult decisions. It’s about removing growth, even what is good and beautiful, to attain something far better.” --Notebook of a viticulturist
Politano is an expert at creating multi-layered, interesting, endearing characters. Tressa and Donegan both drew me to them, although Tressa was less than enthusiastic about Donegan through much of the story. I loved his loyalty and honor and the care he took of Tressa. The growth and development of the two individually and in their relationship was well-paced and captivating. With realistic and creative secondary characters, including the vineyard and the castle, the story came alive and held my interest throughout.
I enjoyed the main thread of intrigue as to the rumored fortune, which was the basis for the book, but the added romance, suspense, and inspiration were a plus for me. The scripture from John 15:5 quoted at the end of the book is a perfect one to go with it: “I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.” I’m eagerly awaiting the next book from this excellent author. She is definitely a favorite of mine.
Some of my favorite quotes from the book are:
“I’ve just asked God for help in providing for my family, and I’m not about to go wasting his solution.”
“I can only take so much pruning,” she whispered. “Why is God doing this to me? He’s . . he’s pruning the very life out of me.”
“No, he’s bringing you to life. It takes a harsh summer to yield abundance in the vineyards. Perhaps this is your summer.”
“When you feel you’re dying in the heat of summer, all a branch needs to do is to hold on. . . . Cling with all its might to the vine. That’s all, simply hold on.”
*I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy from the publisher. All opinions are my own.
Tressa Harlowe's father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn't take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they're really up to. She'll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father's fortune--before someone else finds it first.
Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they'll not soon forget.
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