After writing category romance but before writing thrillers, Erica Spindler wrote romantic suspense novels. Shocking Pink is the best, and Cause for Alarm and Bone Cold aren’t far behind. Fortune is like a Gothic saga, page-turner crack for the sheer amount of weird shit. You’d be forgiven for mistaking this for a V. C. Andrews novel. (Am I showing my age?)
The Monarchs are a jeweller family who think they’re up with Tiffany’s. At any one time, a brother-sister duo is in charge – he the businessman and she the creative. The gifted one. Currently the grandfather and his sister are leading the company, though they’re getting on years. The father’s generation is being skipped because he’s deemed not up to the task, and there’s no gifted woman. So now to take over is Griffin Monarch…and his half-sister Grace.
Once Grace’s mother Madeline catches young Griffin molesting the even younger Grace, she runs away with her daughter, changing their identities. Grace is gifted, so Madeline worries the Monarchs will keep her at any cost – not just for the business, but for Griffin’s incestuous interest.
Now mother and daughter are Claire and Skye Dearborn, the latter’s name sounding horrendously like a soap opera character or celebrity spawn, or wannabe-celebrity spawn. Way to fly under the radar. Anyway, they join a travelling circus, where Claire works as a fortune-teller. She’s gifted; not artistically, but she can sense the future.
Skye is creatively gifted, and such an annoying shit that even though you’ll feel sorry for her, you won’t like her. Such a pestering pain in the arse, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Chance McCord escapes from his Amish life to work any job, and schemes his way into the travelling circus. He’s a little older than Skye, who desperately wants him to be her friend, even though she pisses him off relentlessly. He gives into her eventually because he feels sorry for her. That doesn’t stop Skye from being an annoying git, though.
Meanwhile, the Monarchs have sent a private investigator after Claire and Skye. Claire figures that the only way to keep Skye safe is to separate from her. Oh yes, Skye has abandonment issues. Claire plans to send the PI off-track, then sneak back to retrieve her daughter. Only Skye and Chance run off from the circus.
The pair has managed to score a trailer, a car, and a job for Chance. He works whilst Skye stays in the trailer – to be seen in public would endanger her. Skye’s abandonment issues, jealousy, hormones, and irritating personality came into play, and she falls in love with Chance, who’s not keen on that because Skye is jailbait and Chance is practically raising her. So while not technically incestuous, it still seems a lot like it. Consider that Skye is so beautiful and talented that she could snag any guy, and the two guys she ends up with as an adult are her half-brother and her guardian. (I told you Fortune has weird shit.)
Anyhoo, after Skye’s sort-of boyfriend – a homeless squatter who rooms with other homeless squatters – tries to date-rape her (Chance intervenes), Skye and Chance move away. They find a home, work, and school with a childless couple, and Chance decides to get his life back. Yeah, the themes of this novel aren’t subtle – more abandonment issues for Skye.
So she becomes a talented jeweller, and Chance a public relations guru. Meanwhile, Griffin Monarch has discovered that Grace Monarch and Skye Dearborn are one and the same, and offers her a job (but doesn’t tell her she’s a Monarch). Griffin also hires Chance for PR, just to mess with them both. And here’s where the weird shit really comes into play – the Monarchs not only know that Skye is one of them, but they shut their mouths whilst Griffin courts Skye. And she wonders why she vomits after they shag.
Then Skye falls in love with Chance again, and Griffin becomes murderously jealous. He decides to get rid of those who are keeping Skye from him – her best friend, Griffin and Skye’s grandmother, Chance McCord, etc. Then when he still can’t get Skye to love him, Griffin figures that if he can’t have her, no one will. So he tries to kill her, too.
P.S. As a child, Griffin tortured Skye’s kitten to death and made her watch. He also drowned his other half-sister (a non-gifted Monarch). The Monarchs really are an effed-up bunch if they never suspect that Griffin’s been psychotic all his life and they still let him shag his half-sister. Rich people, eh? Never want their name besmirched, even if it could save lives.
“But, Tez,” you say. “You’ve just summarised the novel. Where’s the review?” Well, now you know the nitty-gritty details, you know whether Fortune is for you. Despite its over-the-top batshittedness, it’s still quite a page-turner. If nothing else, it’s good snark-fodder. Enjoy.