Set in the early days of the New York Stock Exchange, Magnate introduces us to Emmett Cavanaugh, a steel baron and self-made man who has risen from the childhood gutters of New York City to a mansion on fashionable Fifth Avenue as he lives the work-driven life of a confirmed bachelor. His only goals are acquiring more money and power, tracking down the men who caused his father’s death, and having his younger sisters accepted by the matrons of society who slam their doors in his face. A hardened man on the exterior, his softer side emerges when dealing with his siblings.
Elizabeth Sloane, whose brother Will runs Northeast Railroad and is one of the four Knickerbocker members in the series, hates being treated as a pretty bauble to be married off to a man of social standing and equal lineage. Lizzie has always had a head for numbers and over the past several years has created a portfolio of profitable pseudo-investments as women are not allowed at the New York Stock Exchange. She wants to open her own investment firm but her brother has quashed the idea and no bank is willing to give her as loan as her brother’s friend and financier Ted Harper has put out the negative word at Will’s request. As a last resort she brings her request to Cavanaugh. He agrees on one condition – that Lizzie double a ten thousand dollar loan he will give her.
A purely business deal soon turns into love but is thwarted at every turn by Lizzie’s brother who ultimately finds his sister with his colleague alone in a private dining salon; he forces them to marry. Both Lizzie and Emmett are well matched but don’t realize the depth of their love until the Blizzard of 1888 takes matters a step further.
I found this story riveting as it moved from ‘strictly business’ to ‘true love’. Emmett’s personal demons play a large part in the story and I was fascinated by how he overcomes them. His two young sisters provided a charming counterpoint to the weighty demeanor of the adults. Looking forward to the next story in the series.
Rating: 5 stars