Tycoon is the novella that kicks off The Knickerbocker Club series by Joanna Shupe. Set in New York City’s Gilded Age, we meet Ted Harper as he awaits his train at Grand Central Depot. As he stands alone on the platform he suddenly finds himself “staring down into the greenest eyes he’s ever seen”; the female owner of those eyes is holding onto his arm with a death grip while inanely babbling about him being her husband before kissing him in a most provocative manner. What had happened in the space of a split second? And how had he acquired s stunningly beautiful, opinionated, and talkative fake wife? Ted’s wariness is heightened when he realizes that his position as president of the New American Bank makes him an easy target; his concern grows when he learns the young woman, a department store clerk, is on the run and being pursued by a New York City policeman. Is the entire scenario a plot to blackmail him?
Clara Dobson is indeed running away from the New York City authorities after witnessing a crime perpetrated by someone high up in New York politics. Her follows her instincts and flees the scene with nothing more than the clothes on her back. She latches onto the first decent looking man in Grand Central and prays to make her getaway undetected. Clara’s destination is St. Louis and the bosom of her family from whence she can regain her life. Her intentions are to repay her fake husband for her train ticket as she believes he is a hard-working executive traveling on an expense account. Neither Clara nor Ted expect to fall in love, but over the course of the three day train journey that’s exactly what happens. Will her family accept Ted as Clara’s fiancé? Will Ted’s equally wealthy and unattached friends (The Knickerbocker Club) believe him to have been railroaded into love?
This start to The Knickerbocker Club series is concise and easily whets the reader’s appetite to learn about the powerful captains of New York City industry and the women who capture their hearts.
Rating: 4.5 stars