Joanna Shupe     

Genre: Historical
Series: The Knickerbocker Club
Book: 1

New York City's Gilded Age shimmers with unimaginable wealth and glittering power. The men of the Knickerbocker Club know this more than anyone else. But for one millionaire, the business of love is not what he expected...

Born in the slums of Five Points, Emmett Cavanaugh climbed his way to the top of a booming steel empire and now holds court in an opulent Fifth Avenue mansion. His rise in stations, however, has done little to elevate his taste in women. He loathes the city's "high society" types, but a rebellious and beautiful blue-blood just might change all that.

Elizabeth Sloane's mind is filled with more than the latest parlor room gossip. Lizzie can play the Stock Exchange as deftly as New York's most accomplished brokers--but she needs a man to put her skills to use. Emmett reluctantly agrees when the stunning socialite asks him to back her trades and split the profits. But love and business make strange bedfellows, and as their fragile partnership begins to crack, they'll discover a passion more frenzied than the trading room floor...

Other books in the series:

Wow. Wow. And Wow.

At first I was excited that Magnate was a historical romance set in Victorian New York City. The Big Apple before it was coined that. Then I was excited because the hero, Emmett Cavanaugh, was a man who came from nothing and became the head of a steel empire. That’s one of my favorite types of heroes. But the book turned out to hold even greater treasures than those things.

It was fantastic. I absolutely loved it. I found a new author to add to my insta-buy list. After I finished Magnate, I immediately went and bought the enovella, Tycoon, that preceded this book. A book I didn’t know about when I started this one.

Getting back to the book, I want to tell you about Elizabeth Sloane and Emmett’s story—their romance. Sigh. So good.

Elizabeth is from old money and her brother, William, is a snob. He wants her to marry someone of her own class. And the thought of her going into business for herself? Cannot be borne. But Elizabeth has a talent for the stock market and she wants to open up her own brokerage company. (An aside. This really piqued my interest because my upcoming novel features a hero who plays the stock market in England.) She goes to Emmett for his backing. That’s how they meet.

But here’s the thing, Emmett is well acquainted with her brother, and he doesn’t like him one bit. He’d like to crush him—business wise—if he could. And William isn’t any fonder of Emmett. So when things create a situation where Elizabeth and Emmett are forced to marry…things are strained between many parties.

Emmett is not an easy man to deal with. He has huge trust issues caused by how he was raised (and abandoned), how he was forced to bring himself up, and because he was forced to raised his three younger siblings—his brother Brendan, who is now a doctor, and his two much younger half-sisters, Katie and Claire. He takes his responsibilities very seriously but he’s a ruthless businessman. But then most businessmen are. Even William. I really liked that Ms. Shupe didn’t shy away from that. That she didn’t make him Mr. Goodie-Two-Shoes. It was a very honest portrayal, in my opinion, of a businessman, and not just of that time.

Elizabeth has never felt that she fits into high society she was born into. Her ambition isn’t about marrying the “right” gentleman and following in the footsteps of society women, which pretty much makes her stand out. She wants to deal in stock trades. She has a gift and she wants to utilize it. I so love a beautiful heroine with a brain and ambition. A woman who isn’t afraid to buck the trend and to go for what she wants. What’s not to admire about that?

That is something Emmett definitely admires about her, along with her beauty, and the sexual tension between the couple is high from the beginning. Taut. Made me catch my breath several times. And it gets higher as the story progresses. I loved their scenes during Big Snow Storm. It may have been cold outside, but it was pretty darn hot in the office. The love scenes in this book are great. Hot. Steamy. Just right. Gets the blood pumping in the best way possible.

There are many twists and turns in the story. Villains you didn’t know that were. I learned not to think I knew where the story was going. And the writing was great, the story thoroughly and beautifully researched. Ms. Shupe put me there—in New York in 1887. And what a fabulous experience it was. I can’t wait to go back when I read Tycoon (out now) and then when I read Williams’ story, Baron (coming out in October). I read the excerpt for that one at the back. I. CANNOT. WAIT.

Do yourself a favor, and grab this book. Joanna Shupe is on my author-to-watch list.  

~ Beverley