Image belongs to Joanna Shupe and Kensington Publishing Corporation.
Shupe, Joanna. Mogul. New York: Zebra Books/Kensington Publishing Corp., 2017. ISBN-13: 978-1420139884. Print List Price: $7.99.
Note: Though these are two separate works, as they appear in the same volume, I have chose to include them within the same review.
Once again, the publisher makes a vital error with casting for a model on the cover, casting a dark-haired woman when Lily is repeatedly described as blonde in the book. But this has no bearing on my belief that this one is the weakest of the three books in the series.
This story seems to want to be a second chance romance, which also includes deception and blackmail. But I found myself much more interested in the blackmail plot and how it would resolve itself than whether Calvin and Lily would end up together.
It seems like everything that separated them was lies and the pressure of the class divide, which didn’t really make the story unique, especially after having read the other two, which dealt with that similar issue, but each gave it their own twist. I didn’t find Lily compelling, in comparison to Shupe’s other Knickerbocker Club heroines, despite the fact that she is a businesswoman in a time that is still very sexist towards men. I admire Calvin, as he was able to go from nothing to becoming a newspaper tycoon, and still cares deeply about his friends, particularly Hugo. But I just did not feel like I cared whether or not he and Lily got back together, especially as I could not think of anything that really connected them.
One thing I did like, though, is the impact real historical events play on this story. This is the case in all three novels, but this one is the most interesting, because it shows how racism and immigration restrictions based on race impacted people in society. Historical romance is not always known for being diverse, even in its background characters, so I appreciate Shupe including characters from different ethnic backgrounds in this book, showing the injustice of this time period, showing both how far we’ve come and how far we still have to go as a society.
I found the placement of this novella, which was published in e-book form in early 2016, prior to the publication of either Magnate or Baron odd. As someone who likes to read books in order, but refuses to convert to e-books, I worried that going back to read Ted and Clara’s love story after reading the others where they are married would be off-putting. But I ended up adoring this novella.
Ted is proof that you don’t have to be a hulking alpha to be a great hero who cares about the woman he loves. Despite being thrust into a strange situation he did not expect when she approaches him and pretends she’s his wife, he goes along with it, and protects her, even though he doesn’t know the whole story. And though he does doubt her, he fights for her when things get tough. And that ending! It’s so wonderful!