Note: This ARC was provided by the author via Signal Boost Promotions in exchange for an honest review.
The Fortune Hunter was one of my last reads for 2017--but it is my first from bestselling author Bonnie Dee!--and it helped to end the year on a good note, providing a slow burn romance that allowed me to not just get to know the main characters, thirty-year-old Julian Needham and Halstead Wiley, formerly known as Hal Stanton, who is about twenty-two or twenty-three, but to become far more invested in both their love story and that of Julian's family. This standalone had an enemies-to-lovers feel to it, with Julian set to prove how much of a liar and a louse his beloved cousin's intended was while trying to keep his attraction to Hal secret--an attraction that's totally mutual.
When Hal Stanton concocted his plan to woo and become engaged to Margaret Gresham, he didn't expect to come under the very close scrutiny of his fiancée's cousin, Julian Needham. Almost from the get-go, Julian is distrustful of the man named Halstead Wiley, believing the man to be nothing more than a fortune hunter. Heading to Barton Park, owned by the Needhams and the very home where Julian, Margaret, and Julian's late brother James grew up, would allow Julian to pick and prod at this stranger who appears to be more drawn to him than to Margaret. But instead of falling into a trap, it's Julian who finds himself falling for the man who could break more than one heart.
This got off to a bit of a slow start, but once Julian, Hal, and Margaret had made their way to Barton Park, things picked up at a much faster clip. I liked that there wasn't this secret sort of affair going on between Julian and Hal behind Margaret's back. There may have been very mutual feelings of attraction and maybe even more, but neither man was adamant to absolutely pursue it, keeping in mind that there was one other person directly involved that may end up heartbroken, plus there was the whole thing about Hal's deception. The curious thing was, even though Hal was the one lying, I actually had more sympathy for him, though I understood Julian's point.
It's that very angle of the story--Hal's plan to marry Margaret for a more financially secure future while providing her with the family she seeks--that had me on the edge of my seat, wondering if and when the truth would come out, how it would be revealed, and how everything would play out from there. If anything were to come of their feelings for one another, what sort of life could they possibly have, given that Hal had lied to the woman who was more sister than cousin to Julian and more daughter than niece to his parents? Well written and more complex than meets the eye, this historical romance was put together nicely by the author. 4.5 stars for The Fortune Hunter. ♥
Release Date: 02 January 2018
Date Read: 30 December 2017
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