I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my honest review. This did not affect my opinion of the book in any way.
Published: May 2022
The season is about to begin—and there’s not a minute to lose.
Kitty Talbot needs a fortune. Or rather, she needs a husband who has a fortune. This is 1818 after all, and only men have the privilege of seeking their own riches.
With only twelve weeks until the bailiffs call, launching herself into London society is the only avenue open to her, and Kitty must use every ounce of cunning and ingenuity she possesses to climb the ranks.
The only one to see through her plans is the worldly Lord Radcliffe and he is determined to thwart her at any cost, especially when it comes to his own brother falling for her charms.
Can Kitty secure a fortune and save her sisters from poverty? There is not a day to lose and no one—not even a lord—will stand in her way…
It’s almost Valentine’s Day and love is in the air, so what better way to celebrate the season than with a delightfully fun Regency romance?
Twenty-year-old Kitty Talbot isn’t exactly having the best time of her life. Her father just died, leaving her and her sisters deep in debt, the bailiffs are ready to come knocking on their door, and her fiancé just dumped her. With no way to make her own fortune in 1818 England, Kitty needs a husband and a rich one at that. Armed with her wit and cunning, Kitty sets off to the only place where this can happen: London. Too bad Lord Radcliffe sees right through her plan and takes it upon himself to thwart her plans to marry his younger brother, forcing Kitty to change her course of action in a rather unconventional way…
I had a ton of fun with A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-hunting! The plot is quite simple and moves smoothly, with no big surprises along the way. I enjoyed all the nods to Pride & Prejudice along the way but yes, if you’ve read P&P (or are just vaguely familiar with any other romance really), you won’t be shocked by anything in this book.
The best things about this book were definitely its main characters. Kitty is smart, determined and ready to do whatever it takes to save her sisters from poverty. She is unapologetic and ready to call out society’s failures and hypocrisies, but we also get to see and appreciate her more vulnerable side and her many qualities, such as her love and devotion for her sisters or her kindness. Lord Radcliffe was also an interesting character, and I appreciated seeing some of the story from his point of view, as it helped to show the pressures and constraints that men were subjected to as well as women. The banter between the two of them was always a pleasure to read, and I really liked seeing their relationship evolve from profound dislike to begrudging admiration.
The secondary characters were, sadly, not as well drawn despite a very promising start. Kitty’s sisters were quickly forgotten, fading into the background, and most of the other characters came across as very one-dimensional. I did enjoy the atmosphere and was delighted to find some ball scenes, since I do love a ball! I’m not sure how historically accurate any of this was (some parts didn’t really feel like it), but I didn’t much care about that aspect so it wasn’t an issue for me.
There are a lot of quick wits and plenty of humourous moments, which was just the vibe I was looking for when I picked this up, so this book hit the mark for me in that. I also liked some of the stabs at deeper themes being inserted here and there, especially those on gender inequality and class, but they didn’t have a lot of space – nor did they need to, in fairness.
Overall, this was a very pleasant and light read and certainly a great debut: I’ll be looking out for the author’s next book! It’s not groundbreaking and doesn’t try to reinvent the genre, but it plays with tropes and stereotypes in a smart and fun way.