Travel to 1866 England with Joanna Davidson Politano’s “A Rumored Fortune” — a tale with mystery, romance and lessons to be learned.
Tressa Harlowe is returning to her home at Trevelyan Castle after learning of her father’s mysterious death — a boating accident where his body was never recovered. To make matters worse, her father Josiah has left the estate in a financial quandary, with rumors of a hidden treasure.
As creditors and laborers of their precious vineyard threaten action against Tressa for payment due, she must quickly figure out if there really is a treasure, and where it could possibly be located.
She must also determine if she can trust the ruggedly handsome Donegan Vance, a mysterious yet gruff man her father hired to manage the vineyards. Is Donegan there to be helpful and trustworthy, or is he just in it for the money too?
Politano sprinkles just enough twists and turns to keep the reader guessing as to the mysteries of the story — just who can be trusted? is there really a treasure? if so, where is it? She also does a great job of deeply diving into her characters, revealing their deepest and most inner workings. She also creates several delightful “minor” characters — like lady maids Margaret and Lucy; the loyal butler, Amos; Ginny, Donegan’s 9-year-old niece; and some lovely towns people.
Full of so many goodies, “A Rumored Fortune” is a tale of forgiveness, redemption, finding a purpose, love, and secrets (“Secrets were wonderful commodities, little nuggets to be grasped and then spent at the right moment”); poverty versus wealth, both financially and spiritually; drawing something good from even bad situations; evaluating what kind of fruit we bear; speaking truth in love and gentleness; seeking peace and answers from God; and the concept of striving, not thriving.
Two major themes are treasures and vineyards. As Tressa seeks her earthly father’s treasure it also causes her to reflect on her heavenly Father’s treasures. Politano also relies heavily on imagery taken from caring for a vineyard. She compares almost every aspect of life to the process of caring for a vineyard, and of course brings it back to the biblical passage referring to Christ being the vine and we are the branches.
Overall, “A Rumored Fortune” is a very good novel. At times the vineyard imagery got almost a little too excessive, and occasionally some of the passages could be a little too introspective with not enough action, but overall I really enjoyed Politano’s latest novel.
Four stars out of five.
Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, provided this complimentary copy for my honest, unbiased review.