This is not the first book in The Fortunes of Texas: All Fortune’s Children series that I’ve read, but it is the first one with this author. Wed by Fortune has a bunch of the themes I adore with the main characters, Graham Fortune Robinson and Sasha-Marie Gibault, reconnecting after losing touch; children as active characters; and a goal of helping people in need with the Galloping G ranch transformed into a home for troubled teenage boys. Any one of these themes would make the book appeal to me, though putting them all together at once can be dicey at times.
Wed by Fortune shares with the other Fortune novels the trait of strong characters doing interesting things with their lives. This is its main strength, and not just in the main characters as Maggie (Sasha-Marie’s 7-year-old daughter) and Uncle Bob are equally well drawn.
Between the people and the situations they find themselves in, the book is a win for me. It’s not, however, a complete one. I found the injection of the overarching Fortune story to be a little intrusive at times, largely because the information was often dumped on top of the story in dense summary. I must say, in the book’s defense, that had I read all of the series, the last issue might be moot because those summaries, rather than informing, could have been just what I needed to remind me where this one belongs in the bigger framework. Also, the drop in visit by Kate Fortune was lovely.
The writing, at times, had similar problems to the Fortune pieces, with an unexpected awkwardness never more apparent than in the first sex scene, which comes at the very end. Until that point, the book read more as a sweet romance, and successfully so. It certainly had enough going on to make the absence of the sensual element beyond a few kisses not particularly noticeable. However, because of that scene, this is a sensual novel, and in my opinion, did not hold up that end. While this is the most glaring example, the clumsy writing occurred often enough throughout to influence how I read the book while not so often as to make it unreadable.
There’s a lot to like between the characters and the storyline, though the reasons Graham and Sasha-Marie, or Sassy as Graham calls her, had keeping them apart became strained at times. I did enjoy the read, and everything came together well in the end despite Graham and Sasha-Marie letting their own assumptions and lack of confidence prevent them from making their feelings clear for the longest time. Heck, I would have read the whole thing just to meet Maggie, who is a wonderfully drawn, accurate 7-year-old when so many are portrayed too young for their stated age.
As much as I’d like to give this romance a clear recommendation, I can’t. I wouldn’t have wanted to give it a pass either, so it depends on what you’ll tolerate to enjoy the characters. This is also speaking as a drop-in on the Fortune series, and from reading the ARC. There’s a chance some of my issues were corrected in the final proof, though I suspect that’s not the case for all of them.
Ultimately, the people won me over both in their presentation and the motivations driving them to help others. What Graham and Uncle Bob chose to do with a horrible tragedy and how Sasha-Marie wanted to make a good life for her kids (she’s pregnant), despite a disappointing first marriage (she’s in the process of a divorce through most of the book), made the story worthwhile for me.
P.S. I received this title from the publisher through NetGalley in return for an honest review.