Anthony Fairfax is in a gambling hell, on the border between Scotland and England, where he is gambling. Again. Gambling is Anthony’s way of supporting his family, and the difference between living decently or in the gutter. Anthony had noticed a particularly lovely woman, sitting by herself in a corner and watching. Anthony’s evening was going pretty well, and he surmised it might be because of the presence of “Lady Luck”, Charlotte Devon. Anthony has huge debts in England, and one big win might do it. He invites the pretty lady to join him, and he wagers everything he has. And of course, the silly fool loses everything to Charlotte, who is searching for her father. Then, because of Anthony’s very gallant gesture towards Charlotte, they both end up married. What are the chances that what happened in Scotland remain in Scotland? Not bloody likely!
Anthony really got himself in a dreadful pickle, and then inadvertently dragged Charlotte along as well, the poor thing, as if she didn’t already have enough worries. But what a delight it is to follow these two wonderful characters’ adventures! Charlotte has a fantastic and sad backstory, yet she is the strongest one; she is clever, ingenious, and straight as an arrow. Anthony has a debilitating gambling addiction, which occurred because of his family’s lofty ideals, and the issue is treated very realistically, it is not glossed over; he has to crawl his way out of the hellhole he got himself into. Granted that Anthony is rather impulsive, but I was never quite sure why he blurted out what he did, when he did; it could have been dealt otherwise, but then again, if he had, we would not have had this interesting marriage of convenience story, or rather marriage by accident!
The author mentions that LORD OF CHANCE is an expanded edition of a previously published story, and in certain places, unfortunately it shows. There is a scene, albeit cute, which serves no purpose, and there are several unnecessary repetitions, which is very unusual for Ms. Ridley.
In spite of Anthony being a reckless fool, I loved him so much; he is truly adorable, exceedingly naturally charming, kind, and utterly irresistible. Anthony and Charlotte are opposites in very unusual ways, and I loved the dynamic it created between them; Charlotte is endearing, easy to relate to, but Anthony is one of the best characters I have ever read: I saw him, his gestures, his smiles, his debonair attitude; he has charisma in spades and he felt so real to me, it was uncanny! So much in Anthony and Charlotte’s lives has to do on keeping up appearances, the meaning of family, of love, and it is riveting. And Anthony and Charlottes’s road to romance is absolutely lovely; they are two good people forced into an odd situation, but they are determined to succeed, whatever it takes. The ending was somewhat predictable, but still very satisfying.
~~MONIQUE DAOUST ~~