A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting
Review: Lauren O’Connor-May
If Lucy Steele, from Jane Austen’s Sense and Sensibility, had a conscience and deeper character, she would be Kitty Talbot, the lead character in A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting.
It is 1818 and Kitty desperately needs to marry a rich husband.
The recently orphaned eldest sister of five has inherited her father’s insurmountable debt.
What’s more, she is very suddenly ditched by her wealthy fiancé, the only rich man in her small neighbourhood.
Her options for survival are sparse. Taking up a post as a governess or seamstress will earn her too little money to support her family, so the industrious fortune-hunter heads to London, with her prettiest sister in tow, to try to charm a rich man into love and marriage.
But families with the kind of wealth that Kitty is targeting have been fending off fortune-hunters for generations. Kitty needs all her wits about her to charm not only the hapless gentlemen but also their eagle-eyed mothers or dour, controlling older brothers.
This romance novel breaks the mould successfully by avoiding the familiar tropes and formulas and adding interesting twists.
It tells a witty, engaging story with a bit of adventure thrown into the mix.
It is rare for a romance novel to be told from the Lucy Steele perspective but while Kitty’s character is worlds apart from Austen’s villains, her motives and methods are the same.
Comparisons to Bridgerton, which I have seen, are mismatched in my opinion because other than being set in the same time period and social circumstances the story is completely different – less sexy and formulaic – and has a completely different flavour.
A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting is a light, fun read even though it is slightly longer than the average romance novel and has characters with more depth.