Review By Sherry Perkins
Member of the Paranormal Romance Review Team
“Madame, when you are in my bed you must refrain from talking. You must be silent.” Bright spots of color appeared in her cheeks. “M’sieur, when I am in your bed I will be very silent, for I will be dead.”
This snippet is my favorite part of the book. So you can tell, for me, it’s either going to be a not too serious summer read, or a guilty pleasure about a saucy Victorian heroine in just one more unpleasant situation—one not necessarily of her making. Sure, it could have been a guilty pleasure but truthfully, it felt like more of a summer read.
“Fortune’s Folly” is Cat Dubie’s third book. She has two others: a western romance novel, “The Queen of Paradise Valley,” and a sample from it in “Beneath a Prairie Sky: A Western Historical Romance and Sampler” (both published by The Wild Rose Press).
It’s clear romance is Ms. Dubie’s forte. Based on the Amazon inside selection feature, I think I might like “The Queen of Paradise Valley” a bit more than I did “Fortune’s Folly.” That being said, “Fortune’s Folly” is your typical Victorian Romance. The requisite entitled, debased and bellicose behavior is there along with roues and scoundrels, foppishness, and damnation (there’s a lot of that).There’s also a hint of prescience peppered throughout. But the story structure tends to be florid, with run-on sentences and abruptness in continuity.
However, if you’re a fan of Victorian romance, you already know where the story is headed. Therefore the florid tone or abruptness won’t be much of an impediment—nor will the occasional discrepancies in spelling, punctuation or the use of italics.“Fortune’s Folly” has the obligatory strong-willed and resourceful heroine with a feministic bent, a compassionate but misunderstood hero and the development of an epic romantic but tangled relationship.
Eideann “Eden” O’Rourke is its heroine. The novel starts with Eden as a wee girl in Dingle Bay, Ireland, a witness to the assault and murder of her mother by the lord of the estate. The murder occurs after the arrest of Eden’s beloved father—an Irishman accused of sedition and smuggling.
She is taken from the traumatic scene by a young man called Alex (the misunderstood hero), ten years her senior and newly enlisted in the Royal Navy.
What follows is a series of politically or socially motivated criminal activity, as well as coincidental encounters foreshadowed by—at various times–a witch, a carnival fortune teller, and someone closer to Alex. There are quite a few supporting characters, travels abroad and intrigue along the way.
The book is everything you expect except for the fact it includes a spy story, plus a serial ending. If you want to find out what happens to Eden and Alex, whether the bad guys get their comeuppance and what the Irish Republican Brotherhood has to do with any of it, I imagine you’ll have to buy Ms. Dubie’s next book if and when it becomes available.
A three-star, typical beach read with a mysterious Victorian woman of means and resourcefulness.