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A Rumored Fortune

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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 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. Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they'll not soon forget.


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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 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. Award-winning author Joanna Davidson Politano welcomes readers to Trevelyan Castle, home of the poorest heiress in Victorian England, for a treasure hunt they'll not soon forget.

30 review for A Rumored Fortune

  1. 4 out of 5

    Maddy

    What a lovely book this was! When I say that I enjoy historical fiction, this is the kind of book I’m talking about. Treasure hunting, a rumored fortune, ballroom parties, castles. Wow, this was such a delight to read. The book is in first person for the girl MC, but isn’t for the boy MC. I don’t think I’ve ever read a historical book in first person, but I absolutely loved the way this was done. The writing is just gorgeous and I enjoyed every minute of it. There really wasn’t any dry parts or What a lovely book this was! When I say that I enjoy historical fiction, this is the kind of book I’m talking about. Treasure hunting, a rumored fortune, ballroom parties, castles. Wow, this was such a delight to read. The book is in first person for the girl MC, but isn’t for the boy MC. I don’t think I’ve ever read a historical book in first person, but I absolutely loved the way this was done. The writing is just gorgeous and I enjoyed every minute of it. There really wasn’t any dry parts or times when you wanted things to keep moving forward. The author did such an amazing job with this book and I will definitely be looking out for her next book. One of the best parts of this story was the characters. Honestly this was just a perfect group of characters. I loved Tressa’s part in the story and how it was told from her perspective, and then Donegan was such a sweet, selfless hero. I loved them together from the first time they met. They were at odds with each other at times, but that didn’t stop them from trying to find the fortune. The mystery in this story was really well done. I did suspect some characters, but I still really enjoyed it. This is a beautiful historical book and I definitely recommend it! I enjoyed every minute of it and I’ll definitely be re-reading it. “I received a free copy of this book in exchange of my honest review. All thoughts are my own and I wasn’t required to write a positive review. “

  2. 3 out of 5

    Staci

    Simply fabulous Victorian Era novel! What's not to love about a treasure hunt? In A Rumored Fortune Tressa Harlowe (and several family members) are searching for a hidden treasure. Tressa wants to save her family home and vineyard. The analogies of the vineyard to her life added to the novel. Each chapter begins with a quote by a viticulturist. Joanna Politano continues to deliver elegant writing in the midst of mystery. There were several twists and turns that kept me guessing. Pure joy!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    Charming, mysterious, romantic, fun, and swoon-worthy, A Rumored Fortune is Politano’s second novel, and, wow, does it deliver for this reader. There is such a strong atmosphere to sink into within these pages. The setting is a castle, its grounds home to a vineyard. Though her castle home is important and much loved, it is the vineyard that captured Tressa's mind, as it had previously captured her father's before his mysterious death. However, both castle and vineyard have the funds that they n Charming, mysterious, romantic, fun, and swoon-worthy, A Rumored Fortune is Politano’s second novel, and, wow, does it deliver for this reader. There is such a strong atmosphere to sink into within these pages. The setting is a castle, its grounds home to a vineyard. Though her castle home is important and much loved, it is the vineyard that captured Tressa's mind, as it had previously captured her father's before his mysterious death. However, both castle and vineyard have the funds that they need to keep going, as her father's fortune is hidden in a place that only he knew. I adored Tressa’s character. Though Victorian Era heroines often have the misfortune of things happening to them rather than making things happen (which while aggravating to modern thought, is probably more realistic), Tressa is a realistic balance of delicate yet driven. She’s not afraid of doing things on her own but is also acutely aware of her own vulnerability and still bound to an extent to society’s expectations. The secondary characters are by turns intriguing, suspicious, and charming. I loved the relationship between Tressa and her lady’s maid, Lucy. Of course, her burgeoning friendship with Donegan Vance, the man her father hired to care for the vineyard captured my attention with ease, while her re-introduction to her former suitor, Andrew Carrington, made me question everyone’s motives, especially with a vast fortune involved. The faith element is strong throughout the novel, and while alluded to often, it always feels genuine and in keeping with the characters themselves. I found it to be refreshing and well-done; it is especially neat the way the care and keeping of a vineyard ties in so well with Tressa’s personal journey in such a natural way. This is only the tenth novel this year that I’ve given five stars. The exquisite blend of lovely writing, endearing characters, mysterious plot, and a gorgeous romance make A Rumored Fortune one of my favorite reads of the year! I received a complimentary copy of this novel from the publisher. I was not required to post a review, positive or otherwise, and the opinions expressed here are my own.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Sarah Grace

    Everything about this book drew me to it - the amazing cover, title, synopsis . . . It had me hooked. Our MCs, Tressa Harlowe and Donegan Vance are both interesting and unique characters. I loved Tressa's sweet spirit, artistic mind, and generous heart, and found myself relating to her a lot, especially on the artistic front. Donegan Vance was a very intriguing character, but he somehow fell flat to me. I think the author made him out to be such a bad guy in Tressa's mind that by the time we the Everything about this book drew me to it - the amazing cover, title, synopsis . . . It had me hooked. Our MCs, Tressa Harlowe and Donegan Vance are both interesting and unique characters. I loved Tressa's sweet spirit, artistic mind, and generous heart, and found myself relating to her a lot, especially on the artistic front. Donegan Vance was a very intriguing character, but he somehow fell flat to me. I think the author made him out to be such a bad guy in Tressa's mind that by the time we the readers discovered the truth about him, I was already adamant in my dislike of him. I think having more of his POV would have helped clear that issue up for me. More on that later. The storyline and mystery were very intriguing, though I must admit, I was very confused for about 90% of the book, which lessened my enjoyment of it. I love a good mystery, but this one seemed . . . too mysterious, if such a thing is possible. I would have preferred a slightly quicker pace with the revelation of certain plot points a little sooner. Politano's writing style is very beautiful and poetic, if a little overly detailed at times. The author chose a very unique style in that Tressa's POV was in 1st person, while Donegan's was in 3rd person. While I felt that it interrupted the story on occasion, overall, I think it worked quite well and was a unique change. Overall, my favorite aspect of this book was the vine and vineyard analogies and metaphors, and the tie-ins to John 15. That is one of my favorite chapters in the Bible, and I loved how the author wrapped so many beautiful metaphors into the story in a very subtle but effective, beautiful way. All in all, while A Rumored Fortune wasn't a personal favorite of mine, I will say that Politano knows how to write a solid mystery, for which I give her kudos. Recommended for ages 15+ for mild romance FTC disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book from NetGalley. I was not required to write a positive review. These are my honest thoughts and opinions.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Clara

    Joanna Davidson Politano truly has a gift and I couldn’t be more excited to read another book of hers! How’d you define wealth? A fortune? Tressa Harlowe can be deemed to have both, living in a castle in a big estate where income comes from the wits of her father who has grown a vineyard in a place people claimed to be impossible. Still, her life seems to be defined by what she doesn’t have: a title, a sensible mother, honest friendships... and the love of a father. It’s heartbreaking to see this lo Joanna Davidson Politano truly has a gift and I couldn’t be more excited to read another book of hers! How’d you define wealth? A fortune? Tressa Harlowe can be deemed to have both, living in a castle in a big estate where income comes from the wits of her father who has grown a vineyard in a place people claimed to be impossible. Still, her life seems to be defined by what she doesn’t have: a title, a sensible mother, honest friendships... and the love of a father. It’s heartbreaking to see this lovely girl hope beyond all hope to redeem her father; a hope that not even death can tear her from. Determined to fight for her family’s legacy, Tressa is willing to all she can to outsmart treasure hunters and find the fortune first, even if it means paring up with the mysterious new vine master who seems to have come out of the midst that started bringing doom into her life. However, old expectations don't dry up fast and can be misplaced. Will Tressa find wisdom and strength in time to discern the truth? And the truth is more than seeing people beyond their masks, but Tressa's own heart and judgement. I adore a good character driven story, and this book did not disappoint. All lessons learned by Tressa are encouraging and applicable, though I confess at moments at moments I just wanted to shake her. That ending though <3 Overall, very well plotted mystery, engaging characters who are more than you judge them at first, and beautiful writing - nothing short from what I've come to expect from Joanna. *Many thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy. This is my honest review.

  6. 3 out of 5

    Sarah Monzon

    4.5 stars! A really enjoyable read with both plot and characters that will have you turning the pages. Beyond that, though, I immensely appreciated the spiritual themes of grafting and connecting to the true Vine.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Megan

    A Rumored Fortune is a masterpiece! Joanna Davidson Politano’s debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, was on the list of my top ten fiction reads of 2017. So I was a little worried that her next novel would not live up to her stunning debut. As you can see, I loved A Rumored Fortune just as much! Ms. Politano is a master storyteller and a wordsmith! It’s hard to describe why her writing is so unique. Some words I would use are lyrical, whimsical and creative. It is such a pleasure to read the way sh A Rumored Fortune is a masterpiece! Joanna Davidson Politano’s debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, was on the list of my top ten fiction reads of 2017. So I was a little worried that her next novel would not live up to her stunning debut. As you can see, I loved A Rumored Fortune just as much! Ms. Politano is a master storyteller and a wordsmith! It’s hard to describe why her writing is so unique. Some words I would use are lyrical, whimsical and creative. It is such a pleasure to read the way she phrases sentences and paragraphs. She does a wonderful job describing people and places. I love the story and the mystery in A Rumored Fortune. It has a Gothic feel to it, reminiscent of Jane Eyre or Wuthering Heights. The whole novel is very atmospheric. Ms. Politano also weaves allusions to Christianity throughout her fictional story of Tressa and the hidden fortune. Tressa is a main character I fell in love with. I love how she is delicate, yet spunky. She can take care of herself, yet also asks for help when she needs it. She prays and I like how she talks with God. Our hero (who shall remain a mystery because we don’t know who to trust in the beginning) is very swoon-worthy. He also talks to God and follows his convictions to help others. You will not be disappointed with this book! Ripe (in more ways than one, as it involves a vineyard) with mystery, intrigue, danger, and secrets, you will be frantically flipping through the pages to find answers. Who can Tressa trust and where is this fortune everyone is looking for? Content: This book is a clean read. Rating: I give this book 5 stars! Genre: Christian fiction; Mystery; Historical fiction; Romance; Victorian I want to thank Joanna Davidson Politano, LibraryThing Early Reviewers and Revell for the complimentary copy of this book for review. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I express in this review are my own. This is in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s CFR 16, Part 255.

  8. 3 out of 5

    Amanda

    This is Joanna’s sophomore novel and it was just as amazing (or better) than her debut. Her writing is beautiful. She is very gifted at setting the scene and placing the reader in the environment right beside the characters. The setting of this story was an old castle but in the time period of 1866. The story had a Gothic feel which added to the atmospheric quality of the story. There were some twists in the story (one in particular) that I would classify as jaw dropping. I live for twists in my b This is Joanna’s sophomore novel and it was just as amazing (or better) than her debut. Her writing is beautiful. She is very gifted at setting the scene and placing the reader in the environment right beside the characters. The setting of this story was an old castle but in the time period of 1866. The story had a Gothic feel which added to the atmospheric quality of the story. There were some twists in the story (one in particular) that I would classify as jaw dropping. I live for twists in my books so I loved this aspect in the book. I also loved the plot…it was such a fun concept of a treasure hunt to locate this “rumored fortune”. It reminded me of modern day families, friends, and acquaintances that “come out of the woodwork” when someone is blessed (or cursed) with a windfall. The fact that there were several unlikable characters in the story made it more fun for me. For some reason, I find that the addition of unlikable characters add validity and more of a realistic quality to stories. Overall, this was an excellent, quick read that I adored and I will read anything that Joanna writes from now on! I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  9. 3 out of 5

    Diane Estrella

    From the very first interaction of our hero and heroine, I was hooked. "Hold on as tight as you need." And that is how the story progressed. Him being the most noble unofficial gentleman in the most sensitively, brutish way. As gruff as he came off, his gentle heart was shown in all he said and did. He was dreamy in every possible way. Tressa was the kindest most generous lady whose heart was open to everyone and everything. She didn't know all that she was searching for until the distractions wer From the very first interaction of our hero and heroine, I was hooked. "Hold on as tight as you need." And that is how the story progressed. Him being the most noble unofficial gentleman in the most sensitively, brutish way. As gruff as he came off, his gentle heart was shown in all he said and did. He was dreamy in every possible way. Tressa was the kindest most generous lady whose heart was open to everyone and everything. She didn't know all that she was searching for until the distractions were removed for her to find the Greatest Treasure. Spiritually, the author had a beautiful way of incorporating God's nature into the story. By using the grapevines into the story, the author created another character which reflected God's beauty physically. Her metaphors were insightful and gave me many deep thoughts to ponder. I can not believe this is only the author's sophomore effort. I enjoyed Lady Jayne Disappears and was excited for, this, her next book. She writes like an old pro and has fresh ideas for storylines and ways to incorporate God's love into every aspect of the story. I won this book in a blog giveaway but was not required to leave a review. All opinions expressed here are my own.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    What an absolute delight it was to read A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano. Ripe with analogies and a handsome hero, this is a book you will not be able to put down. Did you notice my use of the word "ripe"? This wonderful book, while a great read that will get you lost in the main mystery, uses John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing," as it's central theme. Tressa Harlowe is an heire What an absolute delight it was to read A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano. Ripe with analogies and a handsome hero, this is a book you will not be able to put down. Did you notice my use of the word "ripe"? This wonderful book, while a great read that will get you lost in the main mystery, uses John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing," as it's central theme. ​Tressa Harlowe is an heiress without a fortune and is not sure who to trust when old beaus, family and strangers appear on her doorstep after the death of her father. All of them are looking for her father's lost treasure, and Tressa is finding it hard to decide who to trust. But with the help of Donegan Vance her, her vineyard manager, she learns who to believe in the most. ​I loved the mystery, the romance and the lessons learned. I highly recommend this book! Book provided courtesy of Baker Publishing.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kelly Bridgewater

    I have read Joanna Davidson Politano's first novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, and it was like nothing I ever read before. Chalked full of mystery and a unique Victorian voice. So of course, when I read the synopsis on her second novel, A Rumored Fortune, I couldn't wait to dive into a treasure hunt in a castle in the Victorian era. Unfortunately the book fell flat for me. Politano does a fabulous job at creating the setting and allowing me to experience the world of Trevelyan Castle. The house and I have read Joanna Davidson Politano's first novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, and it was like nothing I ever read before. Chalked full of mystery and a unique Victorian voice. So of course, when I read the synopsis on her second novel, A Rumored Fortune, I couldn't wait to dive into a treasure hunt in a castle in the Victorian era. Unfortunately the book fell flat for me. Politano does a fabulous job at creating the setting and allowing me to experience the world of Trevelyan Castle. The house and the surrounding city sparkled on the page. Politano dives into the characters' emotions at the right time and the right place. Sometimes a little too much. She does write the main character of Tressa Harlowe in first point of view, but the hero, Mr. Vance, in third point of view. I enjoy the ability of Tressa to see past the outward appearance of all the other characters. She looks for the best in others and wants to settle everything up right, either with the employees who work for her families vineyard or the debts her father has accumulated. Meanwhile when Mr. Vance enters the story, he is on the hunt for treasure to right the wrongs done to his small hometown. By the end of the novel, he realizes he doesn't have to hurt someone else to accomplish these little tasks. What is better than a hunt for treasure during the Victorian era in a castle? I really couldn't wait to see how the story develop. But for me, it was slow going. The way the story is written, the story focuses more on the emotions of Tressa than the treasure hunt. Every time, it seemed, she came on the scene, she was more focused on Mr. Vance and her budding relationship with him or what she should do with Andrew than worried about hunting for the rumored fortune. She did focus on the treasure hunt at times, but I think she should be doing more to find the treasure than she did. At the beginning of the novel, Tressa seemed immature in her reasonings for a relationship, but by the end of the novel, she finally realized what makes a man a man. Someone who is willing to help someone without any known reward. Tressa leaned on God more to fulfill her purpose in life. Overall, A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano is a neat idea with the race for the treasure and the mysteries behind the house, but it fell flat for me. The plot didn't move fast enough, and most of the story focused on the romance of Tressa than the treasure left by her father. If you like historical romances like The Secret of Pembrooke Park by Julie Klassen, then this might be the book for you. I received a complimentary copy of A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano from Revell Publishing, but the opinions stated are all my own.

  12. 3 out of 5

    A.M. Heath

    What I Loved: This was a prime example of fine Christian fiction. From the moment the story began, I was captivated by Tressa, her world, and her story. And as it unfolded, I was treated to an interesting new mystery. The conclusion of the mystery wasn’t clear from chapter one, so it was nice to go on the treasure hunt with the rest of the cast. The romance was sweet and clean. But what really stood out to me was the way Politano crafted the story to include tips on keeping a vineyard to mirror What I Loved: This was a prime example of fine Christian fiction. From the moment the story began, I was captivated by Tressa, her world, and her story. And as it unfolded, I was treated to an interesting new mystery. The conclusion of the mystery wasn’t clear from chapter one, so it was nice to go on the treasure hunt with the rest of the cast. The romance was sweet and clean. But what really stood out to me was the way Politano crafted the story to include tips on keeping a vineyard to mirror the Christian life. Again, and again, and again I found myself being convicted, refreshed, and reminded of various areas in my relationship to Christ. If you read this novel, keeping in mind the Biblical context of Christ being the vine and you being the branches, there is so much more waiting here for you than just an entertaining story! Bringing the focus back on Christ is what makes Christian fiction such a valuable form of entertainment, and Politano kept the focus where it ought to be in the most natural way. Oftentimes, with a vineyard setting, the reader may see things such as wine tastings but that wasn’t the case here. The focus was solely on the growth of the grapes and not the producing of wine. Rating and Recommendation: I highly recommend A Rumored Fortune to all Christian Fiction fans but especially fans of Christian Historical Fiction. I give it 5 stars. ~ I received a copy from Bethany House through Net Galley. I was not compensated for this review or required to give a favorable one. All thoughts are my own.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Heather Gilbert

    This novel is sure to please those who are looking for a romance with mysterious, unpredictable twists. I enjoyed having to guess about some things until close to the end. The heroine, Tressa, is sweet and reflective, which reminds me of Jane Eyre. An enjoyable read!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sydney

    In her novel A Rumored Fortune, author Joanna Davidson Politano, has written another historical romance mystery that will have readers on their toes. Politano’s story and characters spring to life off the pages of her book in this excellent written and captivating story. The mystery and dynamics of the story will hook readers and keep them up and turning pages late into the night. An excellent combination of mystery and romance, Politano weaves her own love story into this delightful novel. Read In her novel A Rumored Fortune, author Joanna Davidson Politano, has written another historical romance mystery that will have readers on their toes. Politano’s story and characters spring to life off the pages of her book in this excellent written and captivating story. The mystery and dynamics of the story will hook readers and keep them up and turning pages late into the night. An excellent combination of mystery and romance, Politano weaves her own love story into this delightful novel. Readers of Lady Jayne Disappears will fall in love with Politano’s second novel as well! Genre: historical, romance, mystery, Christian Publisher: Revell Publication date: July 31, 2018 Number of pages: 416 A review copy of this book was provided by the author’s launch team and Revell. A review was not required and all views and opinions expressed are my own.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Excellent sophomore offering from Politano! The mystery and family dynamics are intriguing and kept me turning pages, but it is the Biblical parallels that make this book shine above others in the genre. The beautiful word pictures of vines, branches, grafting, and nourishing the vines are amazing and will lead the reader closer to God with these descriptions. The characters are human, flawed, yet most of them are striving to be better versions of themselves. The overall mystery and suspense are Excellent sophomore offering from Politano! The mystery and family dynamics are intriguing and kept me turning pages, but it is the Biblical parallels that make this book shine above others in the genre. The beautiful word pictures of vines, branches, grafting, and nourishing the vines are amazing and will lead the reader closer to God with these descriptions. The characters are human, flawed, yet most of them are striving to be better versions of themselves. The overall mystery and suspense are excellently laid out and there are many surprising twists that I did not see coming (always a bonus!). This book has widespread appeal to any Christian fiction lover--historical, mystery, adventure, romance--it has it all. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Cassie

    I really started to fall for this book around chapter 20. I enjoyed reading about the complex relationships, the search for the hidden fortune, and all the twists and turns of this story. I also loved the setting of the castle and the vineyard, how alive it felt. I really appreciated all the symbolism of the vineyard and how it reflects life and relationship with God, especially with the pruning. I definitely connected with Tressa and her struggle to understand why God was taking things away from I really started to fall for this book around chapter 20. I enjoyed reading about the complex relationships, the search for the hidden fortune, and all the twists and turns of this story. I also loved the setting of the castle and the vineyard, how alive it felt. I really appreciated all the symbolism of the vineyard and how it reflects life and relationship with God, especially with the pruning. I definitely connected with Tressa and her struggle to understand why God was taking things away from her and how that was shaping her into someone who more fully trusted in Him. And what a hero Donegan Vance was. His character feels understated, yet the impact of his actions is all the more powerful when all is revealed. A wonderful sophomore novel! I look forward to Joanna Davidson Politano's next novel.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Raechel

    I have been eagerly anticipating this author’s second novel, and I was so excited to dive into this gem. And what a gem it is! I thoroughly enjoyed “A Rumored Fortune”, being swept away between its pages and taken on quite the journey. So much beauty, and heart. Main characters Tressa Harlowe and Donegan Vance were spectacular. I loved how Tressa’s portion (the majority of the novel) was in first person – it really flowed so nicely and bonded me even more to her. Third-person for Donegan’s porti I have been eagerly anticipating this author’s second novel, and I was so excited to dive into this gem. And what a gem it is! I thoroughly enjoyed “A Rumored Fortune”, being swept away between its pages and taken on quite the journey. So much beauty, and heart. Main characters Tressa Harlowe and Donegan Vance were spectacular. I loved how Tressa’s portion (the majority of the novel) was in first person – it really flowed so nicely and bonded me even more to her. Third-person for Donegan’s portions was fantastic, too; the differences transitioned well, and you were never left with a feeling that it was incomplete or anything. These characters complimented each other so well. Unlike Tressa, I fell for Donegan from his first words to her. ;) I did really love their relationship, though! Sometimes her…resistance of him could get slightly frustrating, but I still understood her side of things – her hesitancy to enter into ANY sort of relationship with anyone. The plot-line of this novel was so superb. And I loved the vineyard aspect of it. Just so much. Each time I read parts about the vineyard and its care, I could see so much significance and resemblance to how God cares for us, including the pruning seasons. It was just really beautiful and remarkable! I should have taken a photo of my copy from the side, because I had marked so many pages that had just the best quotes! I will share some in my blog post with this review, but even so, there are so many worthy ones. A must-read book. <3 Just like in her debut novel, author Joanna Politano’s writing is superb, and absolutely captivating. “A Rumored Fortune” is one you are going to want to savor, for certain. I thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next!! https://godspeculiartreasurerae.wordp...

  18. 3 out of 5

    Karen

    Another intriguing Victorian mystery! A heroine whose life circumstances seem bleak, surrounded by people not sure she can trust, Tressa's story draws the perfect picture of a soul in need of rescue. Set in 1866, along the coast of England, this story has all the elements of a Gothic romance: a creepy, mysterious castle on a hill, characters who all had something to hide, and a treasure hunt that takes a dangerous turn. The author does a good job of creating emotional tension, telling the story t Another intriguing Victorian mystery! A heroine whose life circumstances seem bleak, surrounded by people not sure she can trust, Tressa's story draws the perfect picture of a soul in need of rescue. Set in 1866, along the coast of England, this story has all the elements of a Gothic romance: a creepy, mysterious castle on a hill, characters who all had something to hide, and a treasure hunt that takes a dangerous turn. The author does a good job of creating emotional tension, telling the story through Tressa's viewpoint, and made me feel her growing despair. I wanted to slap a few characters and send them packing, but was convicted at the grace Tressa shows them; it truly was undeserved. I liked how she finally sees that God is the only true source of hope for her life, and stops feeling so alone and abandoned. "The only perfect father is the one in heaven." The theme of greed and its consequences are shown in multiple ways. The 'good guys' and the 'bad guys' take awhile to sort out, adding to the mystery and leading up to a perfect ending, with an 'a-ha!' moment or two wedged in. Recommend to readers who enjoy a clean read with mystery and romance in a historical setting. (An e-book was provided by the publisher via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.)

  19. 3 out of 5

    V. Palmer

    Guys. AMAZING!!! A Rumored Fortune is a treasure trove of powerful truths just waiting to be discovered so they can enrich your soul! This gorgeous book is everything I could have hoped for and more! Joanna Davidson Politano's sophomore novel did not disappoint!!! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! One of the things I love most about Joanna Davidson Politano's writing is that her characters are so relatable. They aren't perfect. They make mistakes. Then they make even bigger mistakes. But they so reflect the world Guys. AMAZING!!! A Rumored Fortune is a treasure trove of powerful truths just waiting to be discovered so they can enrich your soul! This gorgeous book is everything I could have hoped for and more! Joanna Davidson Politano's sophomore novel did not disappoint!!! LOVE! LOVE! LOVE! One of the things I love most about Joanna Davidson Politano's writing is that her characters are so relatable. They aren't perfect. They make mistakes. Then they make even bigger mistakes. But they so reflect the world around us, those who are searching, those who are loving, and those who hurting. Tressa had this rare quality that made you love her as a heroine - that although she was broken, she had an astounding capacity to love. And she chose to love. And Donegan Vance, well, fetch me some smelling salts because this hero - *falls over* What was I saying? Oh, right. Our hero has an unimpeachable moral code, a selfless love, a blunt delivery, and a desire to serve God. He was the perfect complement to Tressa and showed readers how important it is that your "oddities" be cherished, not tolerated. I loved the setting: a vineyard carved out of the English countryside in the Victorian Era! Vineyard's have become a popular setting in novels, but it felt fresh in A Rumored Fortune. I think this was because the author chose to weave in so many important truths that God desires to teach us through the beauty and complexity of vineyards. The love of money is also lovingly addressed in this treasure hunt of a novel (You know, as we the readers are trying to figure out where the money was! LOL!). But perhaps my favorite message was God being so vividly painted as our dear Father - a message I always cherish hearing, er, reading. But whatever your takeaway, the spiritual journey that the characters travel is so organic and natural, they could be you and me. Five Stars ~ A Rumored Fortune is a true treasure! A must-read for fans of historical, romance, mystery, and truths so deep you could swim in them! A Rumored Fortune is a standalone novel, and I am sooo looking forward to Joanna Davidson Politano's next novel! Disclaimer ~ In accordance with FTC regulations, I received a copy of this book from the author/publisher. I was not compensated, nor was a positive review required. All opinions expressed are my own.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    Love the story, the characters, and the beautifully woven tale of time. I think most of all I enjoyed the faith theme and the allegory of the vine! What a tremendous way to weave a story and tie it together with a vine...The Vine. This is a thought provoking book with so much contained in its pages I had to give it one of my rare five stars. Tressa had my heart. She was alone, so alone...with a heart full of love ready to share. The things she learns about life, herself, and her Heavenly Father a Love the story, the characters, and the beautifully woven tale of time. I think most of all I enjoyed the faith theme and the allegory of the vine! What a tremendous way to weave a story and tie it together with a vine...The Vine. This is a thought provoking book with so much contained in its pages I had to give it one of my rare five stars. Tressa had my heart. She was alone, so alone...with a heart full of love ready to share. The things she learns about life, herself, and her Heavenly Father are wonderful and add a great “coming of age”feel to the book. The plot of looking for a treasure is not new, but this author makes it into something totally different. The mystery behind it drives the reader to continue into the night, and the learning of real treasure gives this book a depth I truly loved. I also loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. It was a lovely touch to a wonderful read that will have a spot on my forever shelves. Do yourself a favor, and make sure to read this one!! This book is truly well done. I received this book from the publisher. All opinions are my own. Quotes from A Rumored Fortune: ...He’s bringing you to life. It takes a harsh summer to yield abundance in the vineyards. Perhaps this is your summer.” What’s left, God? To what am I even still connected that I might draw life? Who-...the eternal Vine from Scripture. I clung to that vine as a band released from around my heart, exploding with understanding and exaltation. I’m not required to impress my enemies. Only to love them.

  21. 3 out of 5

    Brittany

    A Rumored Fortune was a tale shrouded in mystery. The main character, Tressa, was forced to navigate the turbulent rumors and dangers that surrounded her family estate and vineyard. I really felt for Tressa. At times she was a good judge of character, and at other times she fell short and made the wrong decisions regarding people’s true motives. It was truly understandable, though, given that she was working with such limited information. I also felt sorry for the lack of love this very caring yo A Rumored Fortune was a tale shrouded in mystery. The main character, Tressa, was forced to navigate the turbulent rumors and dangers that surrounded her family estate and vineyard. I really felt for Tressa. At times she was a good judge of character, and at other times she fell short and made the wrong decisions regarding people’s true motives. It was truly understandable, though, given that she was working with such limited information. I also felt sorry for the lack of love this very caring young woman had received growing up. There were many interesting side characters to sort through and two love interests who were vying for Tressa’s attention. The overall story slowly revealed the details of the past, clues about the rumored fortune, and hints regarding the true nature of all of the major players. This author did a good job at hinting at the truth through vivid word imagery. I enjoyed this mysterious tale. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. You can read this review on my blog: https://brittreadsfiction.wordpress.c...

  22. 3 out of 5

    Toni Osborne

    In this historical romance set during the Victorian era we find a destitute heiress and her greedy relatives competing in a fast-paced treasure hunt to find a vast fortune hidden somewhere on a vineyard estate in the south of England. This is a cute story that is mainly told through Tressa Harlowe’s viewpoint. Although it has a religious undertone it provides a lot of intrigue within its pages to have kept me interested from the starting point. Anyways, who doesn’t love a treasure hunt which is p In this historical romance set during the Victorian era we find a destitute heiress and her greedy relatives competing in a fast-paced treasure hunt to find a vast fortune hidden somewhere on a vineyard estate in the south of England. This is a cute story that is mainly told through Tressa Harlowe’s viewpoint. Although it has a religious undertone it provides a lot of intrigue within its pages to have kept me interested from the starting point. Anyways, who doesn’t love a treasure hunt which is paired with wonderful characters and plunges the members of a family into an exciting mystery, no doubt, you will inevitably end up with a pretty good story one that will have you flipping the pages to see the end result. Clean style, no inappropriate language nor profound spiritual truths emanating throughout, this book is elegantly penned for all to enjoy. Along the way, we learn some ins and outs about vineyards and passages in Scripture concerning vines. Not a bad mix. I enjoyed many of the characters but my favourite is Donegan Vance, he is blunt, kind and loyal, a stark contrast from most other players in this story. Tressa is a soul in need of rescue and the author’s words highlights her growing despair. God is her only source of hope till she reached the moment of sudden insight…..awe…..and love is in the air……..These two individuals made the whole story a charm to read. I received this ARC from the publisher via the First Reviewers Program

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jamie

    “You can tell the quality of a man’s soul with one look at what he creates, for what he’s poured into his creation has come from within.” Notebook of a viticulturist If you’re a fan of Inspirational historical romance, then you need to have Joanna Davidson Politano on your radar. I absolutely adored her debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, and in her sophomore novel, Politano once again brings an intriguing plot to readers. There were plenty of plot twists throughout and to the very end. With remin “You can tell the quality of a man’s soul with one look at what he creates, for what he’s poured into his creation has come from within.” Notebook of a viticulturist If you’re a fan of Inspirational historical romance, then you need to have Joanna Davidson Politano on your radar. I absolutely adored her debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, and in her sophomore novel, Politano once again brings an intriguing plot to readers. There were plenty of plot twists throughout and to the very end. With reminders of the way God will work in any situation, readers who relish strong faith themes and romance, will enjoy seeing Tressa’s journey and faith grow throughout the novel. Who is an author you’ve recently become a fan of? (Thank you to Revell for a copy of the book. All views expressed are my own.)

  24. 3 out of 5

    Amber Stokes

    This was an interesting historical read! I liked the way each chapter starts with a bit of vineyard wisdom that applies to other areas of life. I enjoyed the light mystery (light in the sense of pace and perceived level of danger; the stakes certainly seem high enough to the heroine!). And the setting is intriguing, with plenty of nooks and clues and even wide open spaces to explore. Engaging while not necessarily "edge of your seat," A Rumored Fortune saves a handful of surprises for last, givin This was an interesting historical read! I liked the way each chapter starts with a bit of vineyard wisdom that applies to other areas of life. I enjoyed the light mystery (light in the sense of pace and perceived level of danger; the stakes certainly seem high enough to the heroine!). And the setting is intriguing, with plenty of nooks and clues and even wide open spaces to explore. Engaging while not necessarily "edge of your seat," A Rumored Fortune saves a handful of surprises for last, giving you time to guess and get to know the layered cast of characters. I wouldn't say the hero completely swept me off my feet, but the story still swept me away to a different time alongside a creative heroine who has some difficult lessons to learn and a heart needing to be given away. A "castle," a vineyard, men with hidden motives, a woman in harsh circumstances, and a treasure waiting patiently to be uncovered in the proper time... All of this makes for a great read that leads you smoothly along to the generally satisfying conclusion. *With thanks to Revell through NetGalley for providing me with a complimentary e-ARC of this book. Opinions expressed in this review are my own.*

  25. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This is the first book I have read by this author. It is a good one. I liked the storyline. The cast of characters are fine. Although, I wish that I could have said that the characters were great. This is what I was hoping for. There were glimpses of this but not enough throughout the story. For which is a shame; as the story would have been brought to life better if I had felt a stronger connection to the characters. Tressa was likable. She really did try her best to help people even if she had This is the first book I have read by this author. It is a good one. I liked the storyline. The cast of characters are fine. Although, I wish that I could have said that the characters were great. This is what I was hoping for. There were glimpses of this but not enough throughout the story. For which is a shame; as the story would have been brought to life better if I had felt a stronger connection to the characters. Tressa was likable. She really did try her best to help people even if she had to get her hands dirty. There was a romance that did form in this story. It was sweet but had feelings. However, it didn't matter as again, I could not really feel that emotional connection to the characters. While, I may have only "liked" this book, I would read another one by this author.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Katherine

    I loved it! What an incredible story! Tressa Harlowe's father always said, he had a fortune hidden somewhere. He promised to tell Tressa where the fortune was hidden before he died. Tressa and her mother are traveling when they receive a message they are to return home immediately. Upon their arrival they are informed Tressa's father is dead. I am still savoring this story. The reader is transported to Trevelyn Castle for a treasure hunt. Tressa is a strong heroine and very likable. Of course, th I loved it! What an incredible story! Tressa Harlowe's father always said, he had a fortune hidden somewhere. He promised to tell Tressa where the fortune was hidden before he died. Tressa and her mother are traveling when they receive a message they are to return home immediately. Upon their arrival they are informed Tressa's father is dead. I am still savoring this story. The reader is transported to Trevelyn Castle for a treasure hunt. Tressa is a strong heroine and very likable. Of course, there is a mysterious, masculine hero. Untrustworthy fortune hunters abound along with unhappy workers of the vineyard and creditors demanding payment. And! The analogies are wonderful! 5 ***** highly recommend stars! I am looking forward to the author's next book. I received a complimentary copy of this book from Revell through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  27. 3 out of 5

    Marian Baay

    Wow! I am so impressed. What a pleasurable read filled with mystery and intrigue. A Rumored Fortune is an excellently woven story that kept me glued to the pages. I did not figure out who the villain was - not before the author wanted me to. There is a budding romance with plenty of intrigue around the hero. Can he be trusted? Does he have alternative motives to win the heroine? Like a rumored fortune? This was such a delightful read. I love the author's writing style and voice. And the heroine a Wow! I am so impressed. What a pleasurable read filled with mystery and intrigue. A Rumored Fortune is an excellently woven story that kept me glued to the pages. I did not figure out who the villain was - not before the author wanted me to. There is a budding romance with plenty of intrigue around the hero. Can he be trusted? Does he have alternative motives to win the heroine? Like a rumored fortune? This was such a delightful read. I love the author's writing style and voice. And the heroine and hero are just wonderful. Highly recommended!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Nora St Laurent

    Wow, what a heart-felt mystery with a sweet profound natural faith message. The story is set in the mid-1800’s and they’ve just found out that Tressa’s father has gone missing leaving Tressa and her mother shocked and penniless. Debt collectors start banging on their doors demanding payment or they will take the Trevelyn Castle and its vineyard in leu of payment. Hence begins the mad search for the rumored hidden treasure. Tressa can’t trust anyone. Were they fortune seekers or well-wishers. See Wow, what a heart-felt mystery with a sweet profound natural faith message. The story is set in the mid-1800’s and they’ve just found out that Tressa’s father has gone missing leaving Tressa and her mother shocked and penniless. Debt collectors start banging on their doors demanding payment or they will take the Trevelyn Castle and its vineyard in leu of payment. Hence begins the mad search for the rumored hidden treasure. Tressa can’t trust anyone. Were they fortune seekers or well-wishers. Seeking an opportunity to find the treasure. I liked Tressa. She is a devoted, strong-minded, confident young lady who is not afraid of doing things on her own. She is true to herself and her beliefs at the same time she’s very aware of her own vulnerability and is bound (to an extent) to society’s expectations. I adored Donegan Vance who is the heroic character in the story. He is the vineyard manager, determined to do his job well. He’s honorable, long-suffering and intensely loyal. He’s a man of faith who is inspiring. He hasn’t memorized scripture and doesn’t spout it fluently chapter and verse, “No…he simply lives it out.” He’s been asked to do an impossible job by Tressa’s father. He’s to keep her safe and keep secrets from her. As he gets to know her he struggles to keep these secrets hidden. This is an intriguing mystery seen through the eyes of Tressa whose been left alone to figure out a way when there seemed to be no way of fixing anything. That’s when she gets to the end of herself and beseeches God to show her His way. She realizes He’s the only one she can trust. I loved the main and supporting cast; the castle and the vineyard felt like characters in this story as well. The story is beautifully written, has rich characters that are complex and has many twists and turns I didn’t see coming. This author has a gift of keeping the reader guessing as to if there really was a treasure or was it just a big hoax. Would she be left penniless and without a home? Often times It looked that way. This was a fun treasure hunt for secret-rumored jack-pot in a Victorian era castle with all its underground passages that became suspenseful and spooky at times. Loved it! The metaphor and the imagery of the vineyard is natural and masterfully woven into the story (taken from John 15:5) was powerful and moving. It’s applicable to us today. This novel is a beautiful blend of lovely writing, endearing characters I adored, an intriguing mysterious plot and a word picture of what true love is. Tressa’s search for true love and the beautiful romance (with its ups and downs), the writing style and message makes this novel one of my favorites this year. It’s a book that lingers with you long after you read the last page. This novel would be great for a book club pick. There is so much to discuss. Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Publisher/NetGalley.. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising” Nora St. Laurent TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org The Book Club Network blog www.psalm516.blogspot.com Book Fun Magazine https://www.bookfun.org/page/past-iss... SVP Promotion

  29. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    A Rumored Fortune is a beautifully written story that weaves its way around your heart in a slow but satisfying pace. This was my first time reading this author and I had high hopes as I’ve heard many good things. (Which have all proven to be true, by the way.) I love the way this author writes! Some of her lines are so heart-tuggingly romantic and poetic that I would find myself taking a screenshot of a page and sending it to my sister (Also a book fanatic). After doing this approximately ten t A Rumored Fortune is a beautifully written story that weaves its way around your heart in a slow but satisfying pace. This was my first time reading this author and I had high hopes as I’ve heard many good things. (Which have all proven to be true, by the way.) I love the way this author writes! Some of her lines are so heart-tuggingly romantic and poetic that I would find myself taking a screenshot of a page and sending it to my sister (Also a book fanatic). After doing this approximately ten times I said, “you just need to read the book!” Since I had never read this author I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect. A gripping, page-turning romantic suspense, this is not. But rather it’s a sweet, gentle tale of mystery and love and finding one’s true self in the midst of it all. Tressa Harlow is a single child raised at Trevelyan Castle in 1860’s England. When her Father unexpectedly passes away, the race is on to find his fortune that is rumored to be hidden on the estate. But Tressa is not the only one interested in this missing money, as many treasure-hunters come out of the woodwork in search of the rumored wealth. Swarthy and swoon-worthy, Donegan Vance enters the picture the way every true hero should: on horseback and saving the day. I’ll be honest, I like the romance to be a little more front and center to the story. This author certainly doesn’t make the romantic relationship easy or light-hearted but when it does finally happen it is more than worth the wait. Tressa goes back and forth constantly on her like/dislike of Donegan (which I wanted to shake her for in exasperation but let’s be real—she most surely wouldn’t have been swooning at the feet of her vineyard worker in real-life 1866 England. But as a romantic reader—yes, I did want her to fall madly in love with him in the first chapter. Alas, that would have been too easy and unbelievable. Ok, rant over.) But truly, in the end Tressa does indeed find the real treasure. In conclusion, if you’re looking for a lovely read at an easy pace, a romantic tale, and a secretive castle full of mysteries, you will enjoy this book. Thank you Revell for a copy in exchange for an honest review.

  30. 3 out of 5

    Amy

    A Rumored Fortune is the second book I have read by author Politano and I must say that I have really been enjoying her writing style. This story is about an heiress of a hidden fortune, a castle in need of repair, workers who need to be paid, and a young woman who is in need of answers. Tressa and her mother receive some rather shocking news- that her father has died. There is sinister and superstitious circumstances surrounding his demise that reach back all the way to the previous occupants o A Rumored Fortune is the second book I have read by author Politano and I must say that I have really been enjoying her writing style. This story is about an heiress of a hidden fortune, a castle in need of repair, workers who need to be paid, and a young woman who is in need of answers. Tressa and her mother receive some rather shocking news- that her father has died. There is sinister and superstitious circumstances surrounding his demise that reach back all the way to the previous occupants of the castle. Tressa was a conflicted character looking for love and hope when all else seems to point to the hopeless. She is a character that held on with all she had even when confronted with unimaginable circumstances and what senseless acts her father may have committed. Enter the new vineyard manager her father hired just before he died, and Tressa has the makings of a romantic, dark, and mysterious hero. Donegan Vance is an interesting character. I knew him to be a hero, yet he was at times a darkly mysterious and conflicted himself. Especially with the secrets he withheld from Tressa. There is also a bevy of other characters in search and in want of the hidden fortune and poor Tress is not sure who to trust- if anyone. One of the things I really liked about this book was at the beginning of each chapter we are given advice on how to take care of the grape vines from the notebook of a viticulturist (a new word for me). There were so much spiritual connotations that could be taken away from the way the vines and branches work. It was really a great word picture of the verse in John 15:5 when Jesus talks about the vine and branches. If you are looking for a little mystery, a little romance, and a bit of gothic adventure I recommend this sophomore novel by author Politano. I received a complimentary copy of this novel. I was not required to post a positive review and all views and opinions are my own. https://pausefortales.blogspot.com/20...

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