Having read The Key to Rebecca in April, I want on to read another novel by one of my favourite writers Ken Follett (see my blogs on The Pillars of the Earth, Fall of Giants, Winter of the World, The Edge of Eternity and The Evening and the Morning) – A Dangerous Fortune.
This is Victorian intrigue set around the fortunes of the Pilaster banking family. It starts when cousins Hugh and Edward are at boarding school and another boy drowns on a hot summer’s day. This incident goes on to shape the lives of both cousins, as they follow very different trajectories through life.
Hugh’s father commits suicide when his business collapses the day the boy is drowned and his family lose their wealth and position overnight. Hugh is taken out of boarding school to be sent to a local school instead. Edward blithely carries on his life as the heir to the Pilaster bank. He has no talent, no instinct for hard work, is thoroughly spoiled by his mother and lives a life of pleasure and debauchery. Hugh meanwhile, puts up with being treated as the poor relation by his Aunt Augusta, who does everything in her power to throw problems in Hugh’s way as he shows just how capable he is at the bank.
Meanwhile, marriages are made, loves are lost and babies are born, and the secret of how the boy drowned threatens to rise to the surface. A thoroughly enjoyable read.