Shupe, Joanna. The Prince of Broadway. New York: Avon Books, 2020.
Mass Market Paperback | $7.99 USD | ISBN-13: 978-0062906830 | 376 pages | Historical Romance–Gilded Age
I had mixed feelings going into The Prince of Broadway. On the one hand, revenge plots have never worked out for me. But on the other hand, both the blutb and many people promoting it suggested it would turn out differently, so I gave it a chance, with full faith in Joanna Shupe to make the premise work.
And it does. While Clay does do a bit of lying by omission, he is for the most part fairly blunt about his intent to Florence from their first encounter, and he does his best not to involve her, even though, inevitably, it does, because, well, it is her family and it also impacts her own dreams. And I love how, in spite of his hatred for her father, he sees Florence as her own person, and even if it starts as him helping her to get on her father’s nerves, he encourages her in her dreams to run a casino.
And Florence is my favorite Shupe heroine to date. I love her determination to make her own living, in defiance of the traditional expectations of the time period, a topic that she discusses with both her father and grandmother. And the inclusion of the fact that she doesn’t want marriage (minor spoiler alert: she doesn’t get married) or children is wonderful, and reminds me a lot of the conversations going on recently, both with redefining what we think of as “historically accurate” and rethinking the idea that “HEA =/= ‘marriage and babies.'”
And the secondary characters…while I wasn’t sure what to make of the dad character in The Rogue of Fifth Avenue, I grew to like him more in this one, in part because it illustrates how proud he is of his daughters, even if he did go overboard to protect him, as well as the similarities he shares with Florence. And Florence’s grandmother is a gem for supporting her dream of opening a casino, as well as being incredible in this one scene between her and Clay. I hope they’ll both still be a part of the next book.
This is a delightful book that surprised me by turning a loathed trope on its head and made it work. I recommend this to historical romance lovers, especially those looking for more of the Gilded Age.