book review,  Books

A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano – Book Blog Tour & Review

Today I’m joining up with Lone Star Lit for another book blog tour featuring Joanna Davidson Politano’s sophomore release, A Rumored Fortune.  Along with my review I’m sharing a book trailer AND a giveaway that is begging you to curl up with a book, so be sure to enter before you go!

Genre: Historical Romance / Christian
Publisher: Revell
Date of Publication: July 31, 2018
Number of Pages: 416
Scroll down for Giveaway!

Welcome to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England

Tressa Harlowe’s father kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Now Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. 

It doesn’t take long for a bevy of opportunists to flock to the estate under the guise of offering condolences. Tressa knows what they’re really up to. She’ll have to work with the rough and rusticated vineyard manager to keep the laborers content without pay and discover the key to finding her father’s fortune—before someone else finds it first.





“Everyone loves a treasure hunt—pair it with a heroine you can’t help but love, a hero you can’t help but swoon over, and a family mystery that’ll keep you on the edge of your seat, and you end up with A Rumored Fortune. This book is a treasure in itself and one you won’t be able to put down!”
— Roseanna M. White, bestselling author of the Ladies of the Manor series and Shadows Over England series
“Politano combines romance and mystery with great skill to create plot twists that will keep readers captivated until the very end.”—Publishers Weekly

“The author has done a great job, offering up a plot filled with wit, charm, action, and a lot of female strength.”— Suspense Magazine


I reviewed Joanna Davidson Politano’s debut novel  Lady Jayne Disappears and adored it, so I was quite excited to get my hands on her second work, A Rumored Fortune.  Also a historical Christian romance with a strong female character, this one did not disappoint – and it too features a good mystery and more than a few twists to keep you on your toes.

Tressa is kind, thoughtful – and as Donegan reveals to her, naive about and sheltered from the world outside the castle in which she lives. While she lived a life of wealth and one free of material concerns – at least up until shortly after we meet her character on the page – the luster of her privileged life is dulled as we read of her childhood, and what saves her from the “poor little rich girl” stereotype is that her character is genuine, clever, and caring to those she engages with.

A Rumored Fortune is a layered tale. The alleged death of Tressa’s father draws out greedy fortune hunters, and it quickly becomes obvious that some people can’t be trusted…or can they? With plenty of red herrings to make us second guess who is there for Tressa and who will try to take advantage of her, Politano also shows that people are more complicated than they appear on the surface.

And there are twists! Caught up in the search for the missing fortune her father is said to have hidden, I found myself wondering if the fortune was more philosophical (was it actually Tressa, or the vineyard itself); why had her father pushed her away, and what was the mystery behind the source of his wealth; what had happened to her father; and who could she trust?  The author beautifully weaves all these questions together, and as one seems on the verge of revealing itself, the story takes another turn.

The author also weaves in an excellent reflection on women and marriage, and love versus necessity as a driver in this period. From Tressa’s mother and her cousin Neville’s former actress wife Ellen Langford, to her hapless ladies maid Lucy and the very cheery,  generous but poor Mrs. Sullivan, her treatment of the necessity of marriage for stability versus for love is human and perceptive, and her treatment of both her mother and Ellen’s situations are insightful and much more layered than  I expected – a thoughtful treat.

The Christian element is much more prevalent in this novel than her last, but Tressa’s faith is as well woven into the essence of her character as it is into Donegan Vance’s, so it doesn’t feel gratuitous or preachy.  A Christian myself, I’m ever leery of books where the main character prays for rescue and God responds with a billboard and fanfare and flashing lights; I like to think God sends us what we need, but it’s up to us to see it the solution in front of us, and this is one of Tressa’s strengths. She reveals that as a lonely child she had easy conversations with God, and as an adult she questions the prompts and pushes she receives in response to prayer as wishful thinking – again, something relatable as a rational, overthinking adult. If you are not overtly religious, this may make you uncomfortable, but I would encourage you to view it as part of her innate characteristics (she’s kind, she’s creative, and she’s of deep faith) as it explains much about her character and it’s development.

All in all, A Rumored Fortune was a lovely stand alone mystery AND romance.  For me, though, its true strength was in the character development. We watched some of the main characters grow and change and even heal; through secondary characters like Tressa’s mother and Ellen, the author made me push past the stereotypes of those who married for wealth and status by revealing the weaknesses and fears that drove them, humanizing them to where even if I couldn’t like them, I could understand them. If a book can grant you a change in perspective, even if it was unintended, that is a gift.


Joanna Davidson Politano is the award-winning author of Lady Jayne Disappears. She freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods near Lake Michigan and shares stories that move her
Copy of A Rumored Fortune + Novel Teas (box of 25 tea bags) + $25 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
2ND PRIZE:Copy of A Rumored Fortune
$10 Starbucks Gift Card
3RD PRIZE:Copy of A Rumored Fortune
+ $10 Barnes & Noble Gift Card
September 11-20, 2018
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