A Trick of Fate is book 1 in Stella Riley’s new ‘Brandon Brothers’ series that begins with Max’s story and I’ll say now, this book is a winner.
We met Max Brandon in Cadenza - he is the brother of Arabella who married Julian Langham, the Harpsichord Virtuoso.
The Rockliffe books were based in or around London and the Southern counties whereas A Trick of Fate moves location to Yorkshire and the area around Knaresborough. The reason for this will delight fans of her R&C series book 2 - A Garland of Straw.
A Trick of Fate starts with Max becoming a victim of identity theft. At the same time into his life re-appears Frances Pendleton, with whom five years previously Max had fallen in love with and never forgotten.
The scene is now set and through some very clever and imaginative writing, Ms Riley takes us on a road trip with Max and Frances through the Scottish Border towns to uncover the person who has been making loose with his identity and why.
The trip is happy, sad, poignant, hilarious and captivating. I particularly liked the rapport that develops between Max and Frances especially the humour – haggis anyone? - and innuendos that are handled adroitly.
We reacquaint ourselves with characters from her Rockliffe series and resolve some questions that have been left open - such as Ralph Sherbourne. We once again meet Julian, Belle and their adopted children - plus a new character, Lady Pendleton, Frances’s atrocious mother.
The uncovering of the person who made Max a victim of the fraud and his reasons involve a family heirloom. Very satisfying and unusual!
But the absolute treat of this book is once again Stella Riley’s ability to write characters and dialogue. I truly think she is unsurpassed by many other modern day writers.
I loved A Trick of Fate and highly recommend it. Book 1 of ‘Brandon Brothers – Max’ is a winner.
(reviewed 14 days after purchase)