Master of His Fate

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 20 Nov 2018

Member Reviews

I received Master of His Fate by Barbara Taylor Bradford as an ARC from NetGalley.  I've been a fan of Barbara Taylor Bradford for years and loved her series about the Harte family.  This is the first book in a new series about the Falconer family.  This is a historical novel set in Victorian England. The primary character is James Falconer who comes from a lower class family but has dreams of becoming a successful merchant.  I enjoyed the book and the characters but I didn't love the characters or the story as much as the Harte series.
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Ok, I'm not even sure what I just read here.

Master of his Fate follows two characters, Alexis Malvern and James Falconer over a period of time until their lives inevitably intertwine. I really can't give you more detail on the plot because not much else happens. Its just these two characters going about their daily lives.

I really wanted to like this book because I know I've read other books by Barbara Taylor Bradford before and enjoyed them, so I specifically requested a copy of this book to review. But man, it was a struggle to get through. I think I read more about what the two characters were wearing than actual events that happened to them. Overall, I cannot recommend this book unless you are just a diehard fan of the author.

However, I do want to thank NetGalley and St. Martin's Press for providing me with an ARC digital copy to review.
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Thanks Netgalley and the Publisher.  I used to look forward to all this authors books especially a Woman of Substance but have to say she is back with an absolutely fantastic grand saga,  I loved it
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I loved that there were two protagonists with their two story lines. First there's James Falconer, who is a poor but ambitious and bright young man.  Second is Alexis Malvern, who is a rich young woman living the life of privilege.

We first meet James Falconer as a boy with big dreams. He loves his job helping his father sell wares at the market and dreams of owning big stores to sell his own wares when he's older.  His loving family, including his grandparents, put James on the right path to achieve his goals.
Henry Malvern is one of the richest men in London and he is the owner of a very prestigious trading business.  The plan has always been for Alexis to take over his business despite her being a woman. Alexis is smart and quick-witted and especially independent.  She has already decided that she is not going to get married so as not to have to worry about any husband's potential problems. 

James works hard and moves up until he is working for Henry Malvern, acquiring money and power as he climbs up the proverbial ladder.  He begins to work on a project with Alexis and something seems to grow between them. I will be honest, between these two characters, I was pulled toward Alexis at the start, but over the course of the story, James and his family seemed to grow on me. 

This is a great story showing Victorian England's divide of class between the rich and the poor.  Master of His Fate is a book for all lovers of historical fiction, so be ready to be pulled right in to James and Alexis's lives along with their families.

I was provided with a complimentary electronic advanced reader copy from St. Martin's Press through Net Galley in exchange for my post.  I was not required to post a positive review. Thank you!
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A very pleasant book introducing a new cast of characters. My favorites were Sebastian and Alexis. I felt the book was a little too "vanilla" and could have used more excitement . I would read the next chapter to see where the story line goes.
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No one can weave a epic saga like Ms. Bradford and like those books before Master of His Fate, she has crafted characters that you will immediately be charmed by and fall in love with. Whether it is James Falconer or Alexis Malvern you will be enraptured with their stories.
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This is typical Barbara Taylor Bradford:  brilliant writing, fast moving plot and you don't want to put it down!  I cannot wait to read the next installment in this series!
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I read Secrets of Cavendon a while back and absolutely loved it. I had one major regret about it though: I hadn't read the first three in the Cavendon saga! So you can imagine my thrill at seeing Bradford was starting a new series, the House of Falconer, and I managed to snag myself an ARC. 

Victorian England and the business world are such a perfect place to begin this new story. Bradford's research continues to be the best with even the smallest of details recounted to really immerse the reader in the world of the characters. The families involved all have their own unique worldview and dynamics. I, of course, have a soft spot for Alexis (strong women are my favorite!) but each character is enjoyable. The story really doesn't lag anywhere either, which is impressive for such a novel. I read it in about a week because I really couldn't put it down after the first few chapters. 

As someone who loves these long multi-generational sagas, I loved reading those tidbits that you know are going to be important later, or at least you suspect they are, and speculating on where I think the story will go next. From a writing perspective, Bradford continues to be one of the last greats in omnipresent third point-of-view, seamlessly taking the reader in and out of the heads of multiple characters in a scene without letting things become convoluted. 

I can't wait to see where everyone is in book 2!

Note: I received a free Kindle edition of this novel via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. I would like to thank NetGalley, the publisher St. Martin's Press, and the author Barbara Taylor Bradford for the opportunity to do so.
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Barbara Taylor Bradford is amazing.   She takes a time that is so far into history and brings it to life.   As a fan of hers, I know that when I pick up one of her amazing books I will be taken back in time to a land that I am not familiar with, customs that are not known to me, and a way of life that I’ve only heard about in a history lesson.      Her books are the best history lessons I have ever read.       I can picture the horse drawn carriages, the esteemed houses lit up by gas lights, the beautiful corset style dresses, and the rest of the wonders of the era.    

I loved how involved James’ grandparents were in his life.   They let him live while giving him the knowledge, the support, and once in a while a shove in the right direction to make his dreams come true.  James’ knows what he wants to do and while he is not from a wealthy family he is taught manners and is educated to make it possible for him to reach his goal of being “Prince Merchant” for Malvern’s.   

I would put Master of His Fates in the categories of  historical fiction,  women’s fiction with the twist of romance and suspense.     All of the above categories are ones that I look to when I am in need of a book to read.     Barbara Taylor Bradford does an amazing job of weaving together the storylines, making them come together seamlessly, and pulling the reader in.
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I think I am going to love this new series! I love how Barbara separated the storylines of the characters into different parts of the book and brought them together in the end!!
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Master of His Fate by Barbara Taylor Bradford is a free NetGalley ebook that I read in mid-November.

The goings-on of the active/busy, microtransactional Falconer household through the eyes of Jimmy, one of its younger sons, before moving on to the Malverns and a daughter named Alexis. Neither is not really wanting for anything, until Jimmy is clocked on the head by a classmate and Alexis is expected to choose between multiple suitors. However, each grow and matriculate in their own way through their own social circles, finding love and fortune, and filter through small blippets of situations from other members of their households.
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“Master of His Fate” is a sedate romance set in Victorian England that follows two story lines. The first is James Falconer’s story. James is a 17-year-old wannabe merchant who divulges to his grandparents his 5-year plan early in the book. James respects and strives to emulate his father who also is a merchant, and his family members do their best to set him on the right path for success. As James’ story unfolds, the author reveals James is somewhat of a genius with merchandising. On the side, James carries on an affair with a 30-year-old widow. 

The second story line, and the more interesting one in my opinion, follows Alexis Malvern, a young woman whose father is a wealthy commercial realtor. Alexis is in her early twenties. She has no interest in getting married, and she opens a women’s shelter with a handful of her friends, including one other woman, Claudia. Claudia’s father, Sebastian, who is 40 years old, immediately falls in love with Alexis. Alexis, in turn, falls in love with Sebastian. They get engaged within days of meeting.

This book was one of the most unsurprising, literal, straightforward books I have ever read. Has there ever been a time when you wanted to read something uncomplicated? When you just wanted a story without twists or turns? This would be the one.

I wanted this book to have teeth. To have more conflict, more drama, more feeling. These were my expectations. This book did not deliver on them, and that’s okay. It’s up to the author to tell the story she wants to tell, not me.

There is an audience for "Master of His Fate." The author has written dozens of books since the late 1970s that presumably have done well for her. That said, this would be a 3-star book for me, simply because I felt it lacked conflict and the writing was a little weak. There was a lot of telling, instead of showing. The author seemed preoccupied with the characters’ clothing and the décor of the room instead of cultivating meaningful and realistic connections between the characters. It seemed like every character had the same speech patterns and mannerisms, the same pure thoughts and good intentions, and were, therefore, the same.

Someone who likes mild romances will love this book. That someone is not me.
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Master of his Fate by Barbara Taylor Bradford introduces us to a new world with the Falconer Family.  While the author spends some time foreshadowing, I felt it was essential to the framework of the story.  The complex and intriguing characters provide a developed storyline but we also have time to observe fashion, political and cultural aspects of the time period.  I found this to be a quick and refreshing read, and I will look forward to more of the saga of the Falconers.  I received an ARC of this book, all opinions are my own.
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Barbara Taylor Bradford introduced me to grand sagas with her first book A Woman of Substance, along with its sequels. I’m thrilled that she is continuing this tradition with Master of His Fate. I was intrigued by the two storylines; James Falconer, a poor but ambitious and bright young man: Alexis Malvern, a rich young woman who lives a life of privilege. It was fascinating as these two stories intertwined in such unexpected ways. The author does an excellent job of placing the reader directly into the setting with intricate details of their homes, the fashions, and current events of the time.
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What can I say? It's Barbara Taylor Bradford, folks, the queen of riveting historical romance sagas. Once again you'll be transported into the lives of two fascinating protagonists meant to be together but at a big cost. I won't focus on the plot. I'll let you discover it for yourself (if you can avoid reading the book description or the other reviews below). One thing I will say, however, is grab this book.  If you like fluff with a sophisticated edge, that is. Taylor's been at it for a while and the results are always appealing. The lady is an ace at knowing how to entice and deliver. I have never been disappointed by a Bradford read thus far and this one is no different. The characters are likable and the story so well-drawn. Suffice to say, I eagerly wait for the next chapter of this new saga. Keep them coming, sweet lady. My thanks to Net Galley and the publishers for having had the chance to read this in exchange for an honest review.
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This is a very good story but for some reason I had a hard time getting into this book. I usually love reading about this time period and getting into the feel of the times and enjoying the language...but not this time. This is the first Barbara Taylor Bradford book that I've read and I will probably try another book by her in the future.
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In typical Barbara Taylor Bradford fashion, this is a real gem.
 
James Malvern is good-looking, kind, ambitious and only 17 years old.  He helps his father at the stall in Malvern Market but he has bigger plans for his future.  Through escapades, opportunities he never thought possible and even love, James works to accomplish that goal.
 
This book brings us the lives of the Malvern, Falconer, Carpenter, Venables and Trevalian families.  There days intertwine and interlace through pain, loss, love and success.  Right up to the surprise ending.  Saying more would be a spoiler.
 
I am confident you will enjoy this novel as much as I did.  It is an easy read with a variety of beautifully described settings with richly portrayed characters.  It tells a story while exploring the depths of a family’s love, support and protection.
 
I received an eBook ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.  This did not affect my opinion or the ratings of this book.
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I just finished reading Barbara Taylor Bradford’s Master of His Fate, I was excited to read this book when I saw that it was a “family saga.” The book did not disappoint! This book is her first in a series. I loved the story of James Falconer making his way in a rags to riches story and I also enjoyed Alexis Malvern’s story as a woman in a man’s world in the 1880s.  Perfect book to cuddle up to on a winter day. I look forward to continuing the story in Barbara’s next book. I received this book ARC from NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press.
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"From #1 New York Times bestselling author Barbara Taylor Bradford comes the first book in a stunning new historical saga.

Victorian England is a country of sharp divides between rich and poor, but James Lionel Falconer, who spends his days working at his father’s market stall, is determined to become a merchant prince. Even as a child, he is everything a self-made man should be: handsome, ambitious, charming, and brimming with self-confidence. James quickly rises through the ranks, proving himself both hardworking and trustworthy, and catching the eye of Henry Malvern, head of the most prestigious shipping company in London. But when threats against his reputation – and his life - begin to emerge, James will have to prove that he truly is the master of his fate.

Through scandal and romance, tragedy and triumph, the Falconer and Malvern family’s lives intertwine in unexpected ways in this expansive and intricately detailed new novel filled with drama, intrigue, and Bradford's trademark cast of compelling characters."

A new series! Let's hope this means she's going to leave those poor Cavendons alone now...
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This story is filled with historical lessons from the Victorian Age. It offers a close look at the culture and class structure that existed at that time. More than that it looks at the moral character and decency of human relationships and how it defined a he culture. 

“Class doesn’t define abusive men, Claudia. I am afraid they are everywhere in society. In all classes and creeds.”

“For instance, a sociopath is someone who has no sense of remorse about what he does. He does not have the slightest empathy for other people and doesn’t understand their feelings.”

The book forces you to look beyond the superficial and see the why. It is well organized and the characters and very well developed. There is love, loss, anger, empathy, hope and grief. It is all the realities of life embodied in one place.
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