MAGNATE – Joanna Shupe
The Knickerbocker Club , Book 1
New York, Winter, 1987-1988
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Sloane comes from an upper class family. Her brother Will owns and operates the Northeast Railroad. However, Lizzie isn't interested in listening to gossip among her peer group, which is quite prestigious and snobby, while doing nothing. She knows she can judge stocks as well as any man and wants to open her own investment company to help working women increase their money through their investments. Social conventions like women being unable to bid at the stock market, upper class women like her shouldn't work, and her brother Will's refusal to help her, have brought her to see the very wealthy steel tycoon Emmett Cavanaugh to convince him to monetarily back her endeavor. She is struck by Emmet. He is extraordinarily handsome and very tall. He agrees to help her open her investment business if she can double the money he gives her in three weeks. It is a huge challenge.
Emmett Cavanaugh is a self-made man coming from the lowest level of society. He doesn't like revealing anything about his past, but with his wealth he takes care of his brother, who is a doctor but crippled from a childhood accident, his two adolescent sisters, and his staunch friend Kent who came up from the slums of Five Points with him. While Emmett has moved up from working in the steel mill at age twelve to owning the mill, New York society still looks down on him because of his background. He can be ruthless in getting what he wants, and Lizzie intrigues him. Then her indiscretion traps them into a forced marriage.
The clash between different segments of society, Emmett's cynical viewpoint, Lizzie's intrepid bravery, her loyalty, and her goals, and someone spreading vicious rumors, provide MAGNATE an intense interaction. Very vivid sex scenes spice the confrontation as does a major snowstorm known to have struck New York in this particular year. MAGNATE offers an interesting and compelling look at life during the Gilded Age of America along with an equally fascinating and gripping romance. The Knickerbocker Club series started with a novella, TYCOON, published this past February and available for 99¢ (yes, I took advantage), and follows with book 2, BARON, coming out this October.