I was recently given the opportunity to take part in a Blog Tour for the newest Erica Ridley novel, Lord of Chance, and as I’ve liked her books in the past, I decided to do it. The publisher quickly provided me with a whole folder full of goodies, so without further ado:
Having just finished Lord of Chance (LOC from this point on), I am slightly torn over how I am going to rate it. For what it was, it was good. I really liked both Charlotte and Anthony, but I feel like it is unfinished. One of my biggest pet peeves is a rushed ending and LOC falls prey to this. At just under 300 pages, this is a short book, but that doesn’t always mean a rushed ending. Almost all of the FBI/US Attorney books by Julie James are under 300 pages and they have never felt unfinished to me. Unfortunately, LOC does. What astounds me is that according to Amazon this is an “Author’s Edition” of a novella that appeared in a boxed set, so if this is the long version, I’m not sure if I even want to know what was in the original novella. How much was left out of that version that appeared in this one and why is the fleshed out version this short? I can’t imagine how a shorter version could do justice to these characters or their story arcs.
That said, I did enjoy getting to know Charlotte and Anthony, although I do feel like I know more about Charlotte than Anthony. I have to say, however, that there are no two characters more perfect for each other than these two as no one could understand each other so well as they. No matter the differences of their births, they had more in common than either could know and what I rather liked about learning about Anthony alongside Charlotte was seeing her past through the lens of his experience. Granted we (nor she) truly know everything about Anthony’s childhood, but we do know that he struggled as much as or more than Charlotte and her mother did, despite having been born into the aristocracy — and that was something Charlotte needed to understand. To her, being born into her specific situation (which I will not spoil) was the worst thing that could have befallen her and to see other people had worse problems than she had, I think went a long way to helping her understand that respectability wasn’t the be-all and end-all of existence. Anthony’s family was much more respectable than Charlotte’s and yet, his wasn’t a happy childhood.
I was also impressed by how Ms. Ridley depicted Anthony’s gambling addiction. When the book began with Anthony gambling to save himself from gaol, I was nervous, especially knowing the short length of the book, thinking that this would get the short shrift, and I am glad that I was wrong. Sure, more time could have been spent on it, I feel like it was dealt with maturely and deftly. I liked the fact that Ms. Ridley didn’t immediately cure his addiction by having him marry Charlotte. While the marriage did precipitate his decision not the gamble, it did not miraculously stop him from being tempted by the lure of the dice.
Since we’re on the subject, I have to talk about that marriage. I don’t know about anyone else, but I certainly didn’t know that in 19th Century Scottland all it took for a couple to be married was for them to declare themselves wed in front of witnesses. Apparently, the Scotts really are different — so different that Anthony and Charlotte saying they were married meant that they were.