August 29, 2017 by readingoutside
Magnate is the first in Joanna Shupe’s Knickerbocker Club series and I listened to it on audiobook as read by Amy Melissa Bentley. The book had been highly recommended by other reviewers and I love Gilded Age stories, so I looked forward to this one.
Magnate’s hero is Emmett Cavanagh, a self-made millionaire who rose from the slums of New York to become one of the wealthiest businessmen in the country. When blueblooded Elizabeth Sloane arrives on his doorstep looking to start her own investment firm, he is intrigued. Sparks and mistrust fly in equal measure, especially since Emmett loathes Elizabeth’s brother and old money in general.
Here are the things I enjoyed about the book:
I thought as a narrator Amy Melissa Bentley did a great job, and I particularly liked her voices for Emmett’s young sisters and the “low-class” accent of Emmett’s right-hand thug, Kelley.
I love, love, love the setting. There was even a good old-fashioned NYC snowstorm, which may be a nod to be the famous NY snowstorm of the 1880s?
The sex scenes were sexy, and I don’t know how the narrator was able to read them without blushing.
The conflict was really quite tense, making the resolution all the more satisfying.
Things I disliked:
The heroine is only 21! I really don’t like ingénue romances. I don’t like romances where the heroine is old enough to be in college, unless it’s an actual YA novel. I honestly don’t think most people are mature enough at that age to be relatable. Even though Elizabeth was, that just made her age more far-fetched.
Also, the investment firm idea really fizzled out. This was the catalyst for the plot and the most interesting piece! I was amused by the comparisons (both in the book and my own mind) to Victoria Woodhull, whose biography I read a few years ago. Elizabeth was more likeable than Victoria though.
In the end, I would recommend this book. It was interesting enough that I found myself making excuses to keep listening to it during my commute and while I was doing housework.