Series: The Knickerbocker Club #3
Author: Joanna Shupe
Format: Kindle/Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Published: January 31st 2017 by Zebra
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | B&N
Rating: 4 out of 5 Wine Glasses
The privileged members of the Knickerbocker Club can never climb too high up the social ladder. But for one charming New York bachelor, does the ascent take precedence over love in the Gilded Age?
As owner of a well-respected national newspaper, Calvin Cabot has the means to indulge his capricious taste for excess—and the power to bring the upper crust of society to its knees. So when a desperate heiress from his past begs for his help, Calvin agrees . . . as long as she promises to stay out of his way. Except, like the newsman, this willful beauty always gets what she wants.
Lillian Davies lives a life brimming with boundless parties, impressive yachts, and exotic getaways. But when her brother disappears, Lily knows that blood runs thicker than champagne and she'll spare nothing to bring him back alive. Unfortunately, the only man who can help her is the one she never wanted to see again. Can Lily keep Calvin at arm's length long enough to save her brother and protect her name . . . even when the tenacious powerbroker turns out to be absolutely irresistible?
The The Knickerbocker Club is a fascinating series from author Joanna Shupe about four business tycoons set in the late 19th Century New York - the Gilded Age. In a time of great industrial growth and invention, there is a thick line between "new" money and old money, and women are still confined to the background. With rigid social strictures and very little influence. Lillian Davies is not one to let gender or status hinder her from doing what needs to be done though...
I feel that the cover and synopsis doesn't quite capture what this story is truly about. Mogul is a second chance romance between a couple whose relationship was torn apart too soon by misconceptions, insecurities, and a lack of honest communication. Lily is a strong woman in a mans world. Taking up the reigns of her fathers mining company after his death, she looks forward to the day her brother takes over and she can return to the predictable socialite parties and stodgy gentleman. At least, that is what she tells herself. However, when Lily's brother disappears and the only clue is a message sent to her in Cantonese, she has to track down the one man that might be able to help her. Calvin Cabot, a man that Lily hoped never to speak to again after his abandonment four years ago. Lily refuses to let the past get in the way of saving her brother though and won't take no for answer.
Calvin may have wealth and power now, but as the orphaned son of missionaries, he had humble beginnings. Ones that he cannot forget and refuses to return to. The last thing Calvin Cabot wants is to get entangled with Lily Davies, again. As the owner of three popular newspapers, Calvin knows the power of secrets and he has too many of his own that Lily threatens to expose. Despite his qualms though, Calvin can't let Lily face the danger of the Chinese mafia alone, and he might be able to get something out of this deal himself, fulfilling a long-standing promise. But when truths are exposed, Lily and Calvin are left reeling. Can they believe anything they were told or thought over the last four years? Are they ready to put their trust in one another once again? Or is one of them still hiding dangerous secrets?
Mogul had everything that I could possibly want in a story; riveting mystery, enticing romance, gripping action, exciting scandal, and of course - beguiling characters. Neatly written, Joanna Shupe does a superb job of researching this time period. The streets of 1887 New York came to life on the pages as the author delved into the murky alleys where Chinese immigrants thrived in this time, and the circumstances surrounding the Chinese Exclusion Act.
Lily and Calvin have an interesting start, one that isn't expanded on much in the book, but it's understood that it was a whirlwind romance of impulse and lust...that could have turned into to love and devotion if given the chance but instead led to hurt and resentment. Despite their years apart and their many differences though, their chemistry is still potent. It was entertaining to watch them test the waters again, though their inability to communicate was frustrating at times. Both of these characters could be thick headed, but it added to the drama of the story. All in all, Mogul kept me turning the pages, anxious to see where Calvin and Lily's adventures would lead them next!
While Mogul certainly stands alone, secondary characters from the previous books in the series are abundant in the story line. I definitely recommend you reading the first Knickerbocker Club novels, if you can. I've enjoyed this series immensely and hope to see more stories from this author set in this time period.
Suggested Reading order:
Tycoon (The Knickerbocker Club, #0.5)