published: 11th 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…
Galley provided by publisher
I requested A Lady’s Guide to Fortune-Hunting on a whim and ended up with probably what will be one of my favourite reads of 2021, and definitely what is one of my new favourites full stop. It’s more on the romcom side of things than a full on romance, lighthearted for the most part, and with a cast of characters you’ll love.
The book opens with Kitty Talbot being jilted by her fiance. Kitty being Kitty, she decides that the thing to do in response to this, is to go to London for the season and find herself an even richer husband, so that she might pay off her father’s debts and support her four younger sisters. There, she meets Archibald de Lacy, who seems a perfect fit for her plans… but for his older brother James, who sees right through her.
Right off the bat, Kitty is a character you will love. She’s headstrong and willing to do anything for her sisters. She doesn’t back down from a fight, and she’s definitely not willing to let James have his way. Unless it’s also her way. Frankly, I loved her from the very first page. She’s probably quite a morally grey character, willing to scheme and manipulate so that she gets her way. But it’s all so that she and her family might live comfortably—she puts them above all else. She’s probably one of the most compelling characters I’ve read in histrom.
And then there’s James. Initially suspicious of Kitty, perhaps rightfully, he doesn’t quite expect her to bite back. They’re not quite hate to love, more like mutually suspicious to love, but the way they grow on each other, slowly but surely, is very well done, and feels very natural. James in his own right is also a great lead. I feel like I read a fair few historical romances where the male lead is either alpha male, or alpha male adjacent, very virile and more than a little obsessed with sex (and occasionally, an objectifier of the female lead), but James was none of that. He’s a refreshing protagonist to read about in that respect. And also because he has such a good dynamic with Kitty.
They’re not the only characters you get POVs from though, although they are the most prominent. But even the characters who don’t get POVs are vibrant and compelling. Each and every one of them jumps off the page. Each and every one has tantalising hints into their own stories, hints that make you want to know more about them all.
And the best part about the book? The growth of James and Kitty’s relationship feels entirely realistic, entirely natural, and there’s no third act break up. Yes, there is angst, yes, there are miscommunications, but it’s all dealt with well. It feels like one of those relationships where each character respects the other, knows the other well enough to know what the other feels they have to do. I’m not explaining this at all well, but just know I love it. I love it so much.
So I guess now all I can do is wait however many months for everyone else to catch up (at the time of writing that’s something like… 7 or more? Ha. Haha).