Book Review: A Rumored Fortune

15 Aug

Tressa Harlowe’s father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He 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. 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.


Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, releases October 3 from Revell. She lives with her husband and their two babies in a house in the woods and shares stories that move her at


My Impressions:

Joanna Davidson Politano again returns to Victorian England in her latest novel, A Rumored Fortune. Mystery and romance await the reader when they dig into this novel with a Dickensian feel. Strong characters and an atmospheric setting, along with a powerful message, make this one a highly recommended read.

Tressa Harlowe is an unwilling heiress after the death of her father. Tasked with taking over Trevelyn Castle and its vineyard, Tressa must also find a legendary treasure. Fortune seekers soon find her way to the castle’s door, and Tressa must decide who is for her and who is against her.

Characterization is strong in A Rumored Fortune. There are no stereotypes here — main and secondary characters are complexly writ with secrets and hidden motives. Of course the two mains are my favorites. Tressa is a determined young woman set on being true to her self and the convictions she holds. Donegan Vance, the vineyard manager hired by Tressa’s father before his death, is all things heroic — noble, long-suffering, and intensely loyal. He struggles with living a life of integrity and keeping the many secrets entrusted to him. Their relationship is one with many obstacles, not least among them their class differences. Mystery fans will love the search for the hidden fortune — there are plenty of twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. All the positives of this book are joined with a faith message that I think is the strongest element of the novel. A Rumored Fortune sometimes reads like a parable with powerful symbolism across several levels. Tressa regrets the surface relationship with her father, but comes to realize that even at her loneliest, she was never alone. One of my favorite quotes is:

“Instantly my thoughts pivot. Our Father, who art in heaven. The words landed on my heart afresh, soaking into what had begun to turn stony and hopeless, warming it to life again. I am, he seemed to say to my pleas. I am all those things you want. A statement directly, personally, to my wrung-out fatherless heart.” (p. 297.)

The vineyard itself is a powerful symbol of the connectedness that people yearn for in relationships with others as well as God. This novel would be great for book clubs; there’s just so much to discuss. An excellent discussion guide is included at the end.

On the surface A Rumored Fortune provides a wonderful mystery and romance. But the novel reaches into the heart of the reader, touching it with beautiful truths making it a highly recommended read.

Highly Recommended.

Great for Book Clubs.

Audience: adults.

To purchase, click HERE.

(Thanks to Revell for a complimentary copy. All opinions expressed are mine alone.)

4 Responses to “Book Review: A Rumored Fortune”

  1. emmajoy20 August 15, 2018 at 7:34 am #

    This looks so intriguing…. I’ve added it to my to-read list! 🙂 Nice review!

    • rbclibrary August 15, 2018 at 8:33 am #

      Thx! Hope you enjoy it!

  2. Paula Shreckhise August 15, 2018 at 7:11 pm #

    I’m reading Lady Jayne right now! It’s great. Can’t wait to read this one!

    • rbclibrary August 16, 2018 at 7:05 am #

      I liked Lady Jayne, but Rumored Fortune is my fav.

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