Baron (Knickerbocker Club) by Joanna Shupe


Overview by Publisher:

New York City’s Gilded Age shines as bright as the power-wielding men of the Knickerbocker Club. And one pragmatic industrialist is about to learn that a man may make his own destiny, but love is a matter of fortune . . .

Born into one of New York’s most respected families, William Sloane is a railroad baron who has all the right friends in all the right places. But no matter how much success he achieves, he always wants more. Having secured his place atop the city’s highest echelons of society, he’s now setting his sights on a political run. Nothing can distract him from his next pursuit—except, perhaps, the enchanting con artist he never saw coming . . .

Ava Jones has eked out a living the only way she knows how. As “Madame Zolikoff,” she hoodwinks gullible audiences into believing she can communicate with the spirit world. But her carefully crafted persona is nearly destroyed when Will Sloane walks into her life—and lays bare her latest scheme. The charlatan is certain she can seduce the handsome millionaire into keeping her secret and using her skills for his campaign—unless he’s the one who’s already put a spell on her . . .

I really love this series!  The author has set this series in New York’s gilded age in the early 1900s.  It’s a totally different time compared to most historical romance novels.  It explores the gilt and glamour of New York, studded with names like Astor and Rockerfeller.

The Knickerbocker club is a group of four men who have complimentary business interests. Together, they work to ensure their agendas – be it political or business related – are successful.  Two of the men have been featured in previous stories, Magnate and Tycoon.

This story features Will Sloan.  His sister, Lizzie was the romance lead in the previous book, so we got to know Will quite well.  He is a true blue blooded New Yorker and businessman.  He has turned his attention from his railroad business to politics and is running on the ticket for the Republicans.  His running mate has been seeing a psychic, Madame Zolikoff for advice.  Will is determined to get rid of this charlatan as the press finding out will damage their political chances.

What Will doesn’t realize is that he will fall head over heels in lust for the lovely Ava Stone.  When bullying and bribery don’t work, Will must use all his persuasion to get Ava to stay away from his running mate.  As the two spend more time together, they learn about each other’s worlds.  It was really interesting reading about Ava’s life in working class New York.  The author must have done extensive research to find out what the average workers life was like at that time.  It was likely much easier to find out what the elite of New York were doing, but the poor working class led a life vastly different.  Seeing the poverty and the desperation through wealthy Will’s eyes was very effective.

The class difference between the two features heavily in the story.  While they may be compatible in many ways, the social class is a gulf that can rarely be breached.  The story explores the challenges the couple faces from within and from society at large.  What is always great about Joanna Shupe books are the passionate and exciting love scenes.  The characters are so well developed and the reader really understands their motivations and thoughts.  So when they come together in the bedroom, the scenes are not only vivid and lush, but they move the plot forward.

At the end of the book, the final Knickerbocker, Cabot, is highlighted with a chapter from his story.  When I finished the end of the first chapter, I was so disappointed not to have more to read!  I am very excited to read his story as it seems the most interesting and spicy!  Can’t wait!


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