Master of His Fate (House of Falconer #1)
From 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 is everything a self-made man should be: handsome, ambitious, charming, and brimming with self-confidence. Even as a boy working in his father's market stall in Camden, he was determined to become a merchant prince. Through hard work and a single-minded determination, James rises quickly through the ranks, with a loving wife, devoted children, and a lofty position in the Malvern & Malvern Company. But when back-to-back tragedies strike the Falconer home, shattering this idyllic life, it seems as though James might never recover his former glory...until a royal summons gives him the chance to prove that he truly is a master of the game.The first book in an expansive and intricately detailed new historical fiction series from master storyteller Barbara Taylor Bradford, Master of the Game is filled with drama, intrigue, and Bradford's trademark cast of compelling characters.

Master of His Fate (House of Falconer #1) Details

TitleMaster of His Fate (House of Falconer #1)
Author
ReleaseNov 20th, 2018
PublisherSt. Martin's Press
ISBN-139781250187390
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction, Romance

Master of His Fate (House of Falconer #1) Review

  • Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
    January 1, 1970
    4 Victorian stars! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Master of His Fate, the first in a new series by Barbara Taylor Bradford, is actually my first book by this beloved author of historical fiction! Set in Victorian England, there is a deep and wide distinction between the haves and the have-nots, and two main characters are brought together from either side of the divide. James Lionel Falconer is the grandson of hired help; well-loved and highly-respected help, but help nonetheless. James is self-made in every respect a 4 Victorian stars! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Master of His Fate, the first in a new series by Barbara Taylor Bradford, is actually my first book by this beloved author of historical fiction! Set in Victorian England, there is a deep and wide distinction between the haves and the have-nots, and two main characters are brought together from either side of the divide. James Lionel Falconer is the grandson of hired help; well-loved and highly-respected help, but help nonetheless. James is self-made in every respect and has the charm and intelligence of someone able to climb socially. James starts as a young boy working in his father’s rented wares stall and dreams of being a wealthy merchant…Slowly moving respectfully through the ranks, he earns a high position in a company, but not long after, tragedy strikes his family- not once, but twice, leaving James to worry about his position. He need not, though, because he receives a royal summons that may be just the rise in stature he needs to achieve his goals. In contrast to James’ working class beginnings, Alexis Malvern is a wealthy young woman, born into a privileged family; the family for which James works. The stories of James and Alexis build and connect to each other, but not how you would expect. The heart of this story is in its rich details. Barbara Taylor Bradford transports the reader to Victorian England, and these characters come to life within the pages. Steeped in descriptions of the decor, clothing, and atmosphere, with well-drawn, complex characters, I was mesmerized by this story and cannot wait to read what happens next in book two. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com
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  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    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 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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  • Laura Spira
    January 1, 1970
    When my children were young enough for me to be still suffering from baby brain I read and enjoyed "A Woman of Substance". I was surprised to see that Barbara Taylor Bradford is still publishing novels so thought I would give this one a try, courtesy of an ARC from Netgalley and St Martins Press.I wonder if BTB herself wrote it. It is phenomenally badly written. Every conversation is stilted and expository. Some of the language is oddly anachronistic - I'm sure Victorians did not describe themse When my children were young enough for me to be still suffering from baby brain I read and enjoyed "A Woman of Substance". I was surprised to see that Barbara Taylor Bradford is still publishing novels so thought I would give this one a try, courtesy of an ARC from Netgalley and St Martins Press.I wonder if BTB herself wrote it. It is phenomenally badly written. Every conversation is stilted and expository. Some of the language is oddly anachronistic - I'm sure Victorians did not describe themselves as chuffed and I'm not convinced that the term "mesmerise" would have been in wide use at the time the novel is set. The characters are wooden in the extreme and the plot is banal.If you have an interest in Victorian fashion - male and female - there are lengthy passages describing the characters' clothing and quite a lot of attention is paid to interior decor. But I can find little else to recommend this book. If family sagas are your thing, Ken Follett does it much better.
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  • MaryBeth's Bookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    Lovers of Downton Abbey and Upstairs/Downstairs will enjoy the latest novel by Barbara Taylor Bradford Master of his Fate (the first in a new series). Set in Victorian England, the story focuses of James Falconer, a young man determined to rise in the ranks and make something of himself. Alexis Malvern is a high class lady who falls in love with a much older man. Their lives cross through a series of tragedies. This book has it all: romance, intrigue, drama. I loved the characters, the setting, Lovers of Downton Abbey and Upstairs/Downstairs will enjoy the latest novel by Barbara Taylor Bradford Master of his Fate (the first in a new series). Set in Victorian England, the story focuses of James Falconer, a young man determined to rise in the ranks and make something of himself. Alexis Malvern is a high class lady who falls in love with a much older man. Their lives cross through a series of tragedies. This book has it all: romance, intrigue, drama. I loved the characters, the setting, and the romantic entanglements of the characters!
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  • Kate Vocke
    January 1, 1970
    Adding another new, shiny check to my historical fiction column of books that I love! Master of His Fate is an expansive historical saga, the first of a series, that follows a rich cast of characters in the most vivid settings in Victorian England. I adored both James Falconer and Alexis Malvern and although their stories are laced with common threads - they couldn’t come from more different backgrounds. And they just may be destined to meet. The story bounces back and forth as James and Alexis Adding another new, shiny check to my historical fiction column of books that I love! Master of His Fate is an expansive historical saga, the first of a series, that follows a rich cast of characters in the most vivid settings in Victorian England. I adored both James Falconer and Alexis Malvern and although their stories are laced with common threads - they couldn’t come from more different backgrounds. And they just may be destined to meet. The story bounces back and forth as James and Alexis both find and make their ways in the world. Coming from a much lower class family than Alexis, James starts off as an assistant to his father, selling goods and wares in a small stall located inside a merchant mall, but everyone knows he is destined to do greater things. His goal is to own his own merchant mall and use his knowledge to franchise and expand and become somewhat of a mogul. His family is so sweet - I loved getting to know every single one, including his devoted grandparents, servants to a wealthy family, but the wealth of love that envelops this family is so lovely, you can’t help but root for James’ success and happiness. His loyalty to his friends and family, his hunger for knowledge and impressive work ethic, and a curiosity of the finer things in life (along with dashing good looks) prime him for an incredible future.Alexis is born more into privilege, her father owns a successful trading business, and working alongside him closely has also groomed her to be fiercely independent and exceptionally smart in business. She is charitable, running her own charity herself for battered wives, and extremely loyal to those around her. And, also an exceptionally beautiful women, who turns heads at every corner.I loved getting a glimpse into what isn’t really seen much in these stories: Seeing the families at their most intimate gatherings, dinnertime, birthdays, and I relished the doting fathers. James is very close to his father, and you see he is brought up in a family where the women are very much respected. Alexis and her father are very close as well, as her mother passed when she was very young. (Mothers don’t have a lot of luck with health in this story!) The intricate details and historical facts interspersed throughout the book were so clever and interesting, and I enjoyed the writing very much.James and Alexis are bound to meet - it seems to be fate that the Falconer and Malvern family’s come together. We follow them both, separately, through lives and loves and about 3/4 through I was SHOCKED at a major death in the book. I am SO looking forward to the next book in this series and to see how things progress. A stunning story that will draw you into a sweeping saga of ambition, tragedy, love and dreams that will captivate readers with is wonderful details and engrossing drama!
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  •  Martin
    January 1, 1970
    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 an 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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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    I have been a fan of Barbara Taylor Bradford since Woman of Substance. Master of His Fate is the first in a sweeping new family saga. The story is told from two viewpoints and I couldn't wait to find out how the two intertwined. I was quickly transported back in time to Victorian England and pulled into the story of James and Alexis. I can't wait for the next book!
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  • Rebecca
    January 1, 1970
    Ever since devouring The Woman of Substance series over a decade ago, I have loved everything written by Barbara Taylor Bradford. After reading some low reviews of this one, I was nervous to start it. My fears were soon allayed, however, as I became lost in the setting and the deliciously detailed story, forgetting all about the negative reviews.Set during the Victorian era in London, England, Master of His Fate chronicled the lives of James, a charming and ambitious young man who dreams of owni Ever since devouring The Woman of Substance series over a decade ago, I have loved everything written by Barbara Taylor Bradford. After reading some low reviews of this one, I was nervous to start it. My fears were soon allayed, however, as I became lost in the setting and the deliciously detailed story, forgetting all about the negative reviews.Set during the Victorian era in London, England, Master of His Fate chronicled the lives of James, a charming and ambitious young man who dreams of owning a successful department store and Alexis, a young woman raised by her widowed father and trained to run his extremely successful department store, or “arcade” as they were called in that time period. The story follows James and Alexis as they pursue their parallel dreams. Alexis was everything I love in a heroine: independent, strong yet likable, as well as charitable, intent on raising funds to open a home for abused women and their children.The descriptions of the time period were vivid, the myriad of characters rich, the plot strong, and I was completely drawn in and mesmerized. As with all of Ms. Bradford’s books, there were a large cast of characters introduced at a rapid pace, but thanks to her masterful writing style, I did not have any trouble distinguishing one from the other. The story included many touching and romantic scenes, while also providing interesting and true to life information about running a successful business in that day and age. As a marketing professional, I was especially intrigued by the latter and lapped up the details. Fans of fashion and Cartier jewelry will also enjoy the colorful descriptions.Master of His Fate, Ms. Bradford’s 33rd novel, was a very auspicious and exciting start to a new historical fiction saga, and I personally cannot wait for the next installment!I received an advance copy of this book. All opinions of my own.Location: England (London) and France (Le Havre and Paris)
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  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    Lindas Book Obsession Reviews " Master of His Fate" by @Barbara Taylor Bradford,  St. Martin's Press, November 20, 2018Barbara Taylor Bradford, Author of "Master of His Fate" has written an intriguing, intense, emotional, riveting, and captivating novel. Barbara Taylor Bradford is an amazing author that vividly describes her unique characters and dramatic settings. The Genres for this novel are Historical Fiction, Fiction, Women's Fiction, with a touch of Romance and Mystery and Suspense. The ti Lindas Book Obsession Reviews " Master of His Fate" by @Barbara Taylor Bradford,  St. Martin's Press, November 20, 2018Barbara Taylor Bradford, Author of "Master of His Fate" has written an intriguing, intense, emotional, riveting, and captivating novel. Barbara Taylor Bradford is an amazing author that vividly describes her unique characters and dramatic settings. The Genres for this novel are Historical Fiction, Fiction, Women's Fiction, with a touch of Romance and Mystery and Suspense. The timeline for this story is set in Victorian England where there is a huge diversity between the very wealthy and the very poor. The author describes her colorful cast of characters as complex and complicated possibly due to circumstances and events. This is the first in a series, and I look forward to the next book.Alexis Malvern is a beautiful and intelligent daughter next in line to inherit her father's extremely successful and lucrative business.  Tragedy occurs that forces Alexis to step back, and recover.James Lionel Falconer should credit his grandparents for bring up to learn the ways of a gentleman. James has excellent manners and is educated through books in his grandparents house, where they are the head servants given much respect. As a boy, James watches and helps his father in the market stalls. When James is asked what his dream is to be he will say a "Prince Merchant". As James matures, he works his way up the ranks and is honest and hardworking.  He is determined to make something of himself. When Alexis is recovering, James works at the Malvern company. James has a head for business and notices that there is something wrong with the books. There are twists and turns, danger, mystery, suspense and murder. I would recommend this book for readers who enjoy a book of substance.
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  • Cheryl Schlesinger
    January 1, 1970
    I was never a Taylor Bradford fan thinking I have only read “Woman of Substance” years & years ago. I saw this new book of hers on my Amazon suggestion list and I think the time period of Victorian age England 1880’s is what caught my eye and had me reading the synopsis and downloading the book on Kindle. Bradford’s style is low key with some romance and sex thrown in between incredibly beautiful women and devastatingly handsome men. Alternating between two main characters....one an indepen I was never a Taylor Bradford fan thinking I have only read “Woman of Substance” years & years ago. I saw this new book of hers on my Amazon suggestion list and I think the time period of Victorian age England 1880’s is what caught my eye and had me reading the synopsis and downloading the book on Kindle. Bradford’s style is low key with some romance and sex thrown in between incredibly beautiful women and devastatingly handsome men. Alternating between two main characters....one an independent business woman and a service class boy (with intelligence, charm and big dreams) who matures from age 14 to 19 by the books end. Their stories are kept separate and run parallel until the final chapters where the connection of their careers in retailing bring them together. The dramas are minimal, the major and minor characters are unflawed, loving , perfect family people who all get along, work hard, and care about the plight of their fellow man. These characters aren’t at all unlikable in their “perfection” as the story unfolds in almost day to day happenings . The book reads along with just enough story development to keep you moving forward and not bored but certainly never on the edge of your seat! Except for a very few isolated bad guys & one sad event ...a group of thugs, a mean and jealous cousin, and a thief and one unexpected death, all of which bring a bit of disturbance in the lives of the main characters, the story still moves on in a matter of fact way. Weirdly though Jack the Ripper gets an honorable mention without having any impact on the story which I found really odd. Not sure why even he showed up!? As this is book one of a developing series perhaps this book was written to set the stage for more excitement and character development in the next books to come .....I am interested to see if this happens and if not, perhaps then I will remember why I never joined the cult of Barbara Taylor Bradford fans!
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  • Shivangi
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.Either it's been too long and I've forgotten, or my tastes have changed a lot, but I felt like I've read much more interesting things by this author while reading this book? The story felt very flat and boring as I was reading and there was nothing exciting, nothing that made me want to keep reading - I only did it because of the engagement I had, to give the review. There were so many ch Thank you to NetGalley and the publisher for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.Either it's been too long and I've forgotten, or my tastes have changed a lot, but I felt like I've read much more interesting things by this author while reading this book? The story felt very flat and boring as I was reading and there was nothing exciting, nothing that made me want to keep reading - I only did it because of the engagement I had, to give the review. There were so many characters to keep track of, which this I do remember being something the author likes doing, but it was pretty annoying and it didn't help that it was an ecopy that I had and going back and forth to keep track of who is who was a bloody pain. And honestly, I don't even remember how it had started out by this point.I mean, other people might enjoy definitely but didn't work for me.
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  • Julia
    January 1, 1970
    I loved BTB's "A Woman of Substance," but unfortunately did not enjoy the author's first installment in her newest series. Review to come in Historical Novel Society.
  • Cindy Roesel
    January 1, 1970
    ** DARK ** TWISTED ** ADDICTIVE **The grand dame of historical fiction is back with a new series – House of Falconer. It brings two highly different people together: Commoner: James Falconer and Noble: Alexis Malvern.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, cha ** DARK ** TWISTED ** ADDICTIVE **The grand dame of historical fiction is back with a new series – House of Falconer. It brings two highly different people together: Commoner: James Falconer and Noble: Alexis Malvern.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.Based in romance and intrigue, James and Alexis narratives alternate. MASTER of his FATE is the first novel in a new saga. Can’t wait for the next installment in the House of Falconer series.*****Barbara took some time to share Holiday cheer with us.What is your favorite Holiday? My favorite holiday is Christmas, and for a variety of reasons, some going back to my childhood, others to my adulthood.What do you love about the Holidays? What I love about Christmas is that it has always been part of my life. My mother loved Christmas time and all that went with it. We always had a small tree, and I loved putting the ornaments on it. We placed sprigs of holly on paintings on the walls, and hung a small branch of mistletoe in the entrance. People who visited us were obliged to kiss us under it, an old English custom.My mother baked mince pies, a Christmas cake filled with fruit and topped with icing sugar or marzipan, as well as her special trifle. And we always had a roast goose on Christmas day.What is your favorite Holiday memory? My favorite Christmas memory is of Christmas Eve, which is the day Bob and I were married. So we celebrate our wedding anniversary and Christmas Day, and give each other two presents! This Christmas Eve we will have been married 55 years. We are going on a cruise to warmer climes and will have our anniversary on a ship. I know it will be as enjoyable as usual.(we say congratulations)Your wishes for the New Year? My wishes for 2019 are that Bob and I stay well and lead our busy lives as usual. But I also pray for more peace in the world. I hope the coming year will be a year of friendship and accommodation.****Barbara Taylor Bradford was born and raised in England. She left school at 15 for the typing pool at the Yorkshire Evening Post. At 16 she was a reporter, and at 18 she became the paper’s first woman’s page editor and, at 20, moved to London and became a fashion editor and columnist on Fleet Street. She now lives in New York with her husband of over 50 years, television producer Robert Bradford.Barbara started writing fiction when she was just seven years old and sold her first short story to a magazine for seven shillings and sixpence when she was 10 years old.She published her first novel, A Woman of Substance, in 1979. It went from bestseller to super seller within its first year and stayed on the New York Times’ list for 55 weeks.Barbara has had 31 books published, all worldwide bestsellers, and her latest, The Cavendon Luck, is out now.Ten of her books have been produced as TV films or drama series starring actors including Liam Neeson, Anthony Hopkins, Jenny Seagrove, Deborah Kerr, Sir John Mills and Elizabeth Hurley.Barbara holds five Honorary Doctorate of Letters. These are from the University of Leeds, Yorkshire; the University of Bradford, Yorkshire; Teikyo Post University, Connecticut; Siena College, Loudonville, New York; Mount Saint Mary College, Newburgh, New York.Barbara is the recipient of 25 other awards for her writing achievements and philanthropy.The Brotherton Library of Leeds University is the Keeper of the Barbara Taylor Bradford Archive. All of Barbara’s original manuscripts are housed there (31 works of fiction). They are displayed next to those of Yorkshire’s other legendary writers, including the Bronte sisters.http://www.barbarataylorbradford.com
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  • Charlotte Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    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 cors 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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  • Ritika Chhabra
    January 1, 1970
    Follow Just A Girl High On Books for more reviews.I received a digital copy of this book on Netgalley."She was an independent woman with her own fortune, and thankfully the freedom to do what she wanted. She was the mistress of her fate."Master of His Fate was the first Barbara Taylor Bradford book that I read, and frankly, I wasn't exactly sure what I was to expect. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed. I had heard so much about the author so naturally, I had high expectations. Now although m Follow Just A Girl High On Books for more reviews.I received a digital copy of this book on Netgalley."She was an independent woman with her own fortune, and thankfully the freedom to do what she wanted. She was the mistress of her fate."Master of His Fate was the first Barbara Taylor Bradford book that I read, and frankly, I wasn't exactly sure what I was to expect. Needless to say, I wasn't disappointed. I had heard so much about the author so naturally, I had high expectations. Now although my expectations weren't matched, they weren't downright drowned either. Bradford is a decent enough author with a natural flair for creating twists, it seems. I loved what she did with the Victorian Era here. I have read many a historical fiction novels before. But I don't think I've read any in which instances from the past have been used in the way that she did. I liked the Jack The Ripper references and the entrance of Dr. Freud. It was a nice touch, considering the years in which the book is written. I also liked the characterization of all the characters. I mean, each one of them was rather uniquely developed and nicely done, too! What I didn't like, however, was how a certain mystery wasn't solved anywhere. So basically, our protagonist—James Falconer—gets attacked. His friend dies in this attack. He, on the other hand, survives not knowing who or why was he attacked. A cold case. What I didn't understand was why was that attack added in the first place. And if it was a reason to send him to Hull (for his safety) then why on earth was it brought up later again? This was not something that particularly delighted me, especially when it was never solved. But maybe there will be references to this in the latter novels.I also didn't like how a certain many dialogues did not seem natural. They seemed to have been written for the benefit of the reader, sure, but they were not written the way people normally talk. A little less believable there. I like my characters to talk the way they would normally. This, on the other hand, was completely different.But other than that, the plot and pace were rather good. The plot was filled with a nice twists here and there, and it excited me to read more and more until I was done. A decent enough read then, I must say! You can try it out if you're interested in Historical Fiction.
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  • Kelsie
    January 1, 1970
    Master of His Fate by Barbara Taylor Bradford is the first novel in a four-book series, tentatively titled The House of Falconer. This novel, set in Victorian England from 1884 to 1889 centers around two seemingly disparate characters, James Falconer and Alexis Malvern, whose stories are eventually merged in an exceedingly cunning manner. Commoner, James is a young man who begins his career working a market stall with his father, but soon establishes an ambitious plan for his future. Noble, Alex Master of His Fate by Barbara Taylor Bradford is the first novel in a four-book series, tentatively titled The House of Falconer. This novel, set in Victorian England from 1884 to 1889 centers around two seemingly disparate characters, James Falconer and Alexis Malvern, whose stories are eventually merged in an exceedingly cunning manner. Commoner, James is a young man who begins his career working a market stall with his father, but soon establishes an ambitious plan for his future. Noble, Alexis is a young woman with a strong sense of independence, due to her active role in her father’s business. Bradford artfully switches the story from one character to the other without ever losing the reader’s attention. Romance, drama and intrigue are purposefully balanced with an outstanding cast of characters, which includes the family of both main characters. European history is masterfully interwoven into the story, including the emergence of the infamous Jack the Ripper and the rising career of the then little-known Dr. Sigmund Freud. I loved the ending, which leaves the reader with a sense of hope and appropriately sets the stage for the next book in the series. My thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for the opportunity to read an advance copy of this book. However the opinions expressed in this review are 100% mine and mine alone.
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  • Olivia Farr
    January 1, 1970
    "Master of His Fate" begins a new historical fiction series. We begin with James Falconer as a boy- already he has big dreams. He currently helps his merchant father to sell wares at the market, and he absolutely loves what he does. He dreams of owning a big shop and stores to sell wares when he is older. With an idyllic, loving family and grandparents (seriously, Hallmark quality interactions), James is already on the right path for success.Next, we meet Alexis Malvern. Her father owns a tradin "Master of His Fate" begins a new historical fiction series. We begin with James Falconer as a boy- already he has big dreams. He currently helps his merchant father to sell wares at the market, and he absolutely loves what he does. He dreams of owning a big shop and stores to sell wares when he is older. With an idyllic, loving family and grandparents (seriously, Hallmark quality interactions), James is already on the right path for success.Next, we meet Alexis Malvern. Her father owns a trading business and has raised her to take over for him (breaking the mold of the time). She's intelligent, quick-witted, and independent. In fact, she is so independent that she has decided she will not marry and have to worry about her husband's potential issues. Although her father worries that his business will then never be passed through her family, he loves her so much that he supports her in all things. Alexis is starting a charity for women with abusive husbands where they can escape to get on their feet. Between these two characters, following their lives becomes intriguing. I was much more pulled into Alexis's life at the start as James and his family just didn't feel quite real. However, over time, James really grew on me. For lovers of historical fiction and Jane Austen-era/style writing, I think this will be a big hit! Be ready to be pulled into the lives of these individuals and their amazing families.Please note that I received an ARC from the publisher through netgalley. All opinions are my own.
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  • Melissa Dee
    January 1, 1970
    I loved the detailed descriptions of the homes, dresses and surroundings of Victorian London. Once I realized that this was number one of a series, I relaxed into the plot lines and realized that that many would be left unresolved.I was annoyed by the anachronisms, which a careful editor would have resolved.James’ character is a “to be resolved” for me. Perhaps his behavior would be called “gentlemanly” by Victorians. He has an affair with a widow, lies about it, turns on his accuser, then conti I loved the detailed descriptions of the homes, dresses and surroundings of Victorian London. Once I realized that this was number one of a series, I relaxed into the plot lines and realized that that many would be left unresolved.I was annoyed by the anachronisms, which a careful editor would have resolved.James’ character is a “to be resolved” for me. Perhaps his behavior would be called “gentlemanly” by Victorians. He has an affair with a widow, lies about it, turns on his accuser, then continues the affair. Now that James has fallen in love, it will be interesting to see how he matures.This was my first Barbara Taylor Bradford book. Reading other reviews makes me think that earlier books might be worth revisiting.I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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  • Lynn Horton
    January 1, 1970
    I have great respect for the career of Barbara Taylor Bradford, and read historical and contemporary fiction by other authors so am accustomed to the more formal, detailed genre in which she writes.But I just could not get into Master of His Fate. The writing is so rudimentary and simplistic that it’s almost painful to read. It appears to be written to a junior-high level, and there’s a vast amount of telling instead of showing. The pacing is slow and inconsistent. Maybe BTB’s style pleased me w I have great respect for the career of Barbara Taylor Bradford, and read historical and contemporary fiction by other authors so am accustomed to the more formal, detailed genre in which she writes.But I just could not get into Master of His Fate. The writing is so rudimentary and simplistic that it’s almost painful to read. It appears to be written to a junior-high level, and there’s a vast amount of telling instead of showing. The pacing is slow and inconsistent. Maybe BTB’s style pleased me when the author released A Woman of Substance, and maybe my taste has just evolved. Master of His Fate barely squeaks into three stars for me, and only because of the author’s longevity and the quality of some of her previous works.
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  • Sarah Davies
    January 1, 1970
    Great storyline, with a really good mix of characters. The story of James Falconer is really interesting with him growing up as a barrow boy but with the dream of working in his own arcades. His grandparents willing to help him with his dream.Then the side story of Alexis who is career minded and not interested in men and marriage until she meets Sebastian and then here world is changed upside down. Really good concept, pleasure to read, the storyline flows really nicely.
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  • Karen Trosterud
    January 1, 1970
    I have not read a Barbara Taylor Bradford book in a while.. I really enjoyed this book of good family saga! I’m excited that there will be more books of James and Alexis!! I loved the history behind this book!! I was given an advanced copy to read!
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  • Deb M
    January 1, 1970
    Rating: 4.5. Waiting for the sequel
  • Lori Winslow
    January 1, 1970
    I won this book as part of a Goodreads Giveaway. I have always loved Barbara Taylor Bradford, and this story did not disappoint. This book is the first of a series of 4 books set in Victorian England, and introduces what I assume will be the main characters going forward. Without giving too much away, as I was reading the book, I kept wondering how these characters get together, and it was worth the wait. Speaking of waiting, I can't wait for the next book, I sure hope it is coming out soon.
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  • Tina
    January 1, 1970
    In this epic new family saga by master storyteller Barbara Taylor Bradford, we meet the Falconer clan, James, is the golden boy, the one groomed to lead his family into the future. We are also introduced to Alexis Malvern, only child and heir to the family business, the Malvern company, where the Falconer's have a stall selling merchandise. I truly enjoyed the story and anxiously look forward to the second installment in the four-part series. I felt like I was transported to the 1880's, I felt t In this epic new family saga by master storyteller Barbara Taylor Bradford, we meet the Falconer clan, James, is the golden boy, the one groomed to lead his family into the future. We are also introduced to Alexis Malvern, only child and heir to the family business, the Malvern company, where the Falconer's have a stall selling merchandise. I truly enjoyed the story and anxiously look forward to the second installment in the four-part series. I felt like I was transported to the 1880's, I felt the passion, the love, the heartbreak and the hope.I urge you to take the less than positive reviews with a grain of salt (heck, even my 5-star review) and read this family saga and form your own opinions!
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  • Michele Benchouk
    January 1, 1970
    I have never read anything by Barbara Taylor Bradford before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I found her descriptions of clothing, jewelry, interiors, gardens, landscapes, and so on to be exquisite. I could easily picture the scene and her attention to detail was amazing in really putting the reader in the story. I enjoyed getting to know Alexis and find her to be likable and real. Her whirlwind relationship was fun to read and heartbreaking, although I found the physical intimacy to be much e I have never read anything by Barbara Taylor Bradford before, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I found her descriptions of clothing, jewelry, interiors, gardens, landscapes, and so on to be exquisite. I could easily picture the scene and her attention to detail was amazing in really putting the reader in the story. I enjoyed getting to know Alexis and find her to be likable and real. Her whirlwind relationship was fun to read and heartbreaking, although I found the physical intimacy to be much earlier than expected or plausible. It is because of the elaborate and well-crafted descriptions, and because of Alexis, that I would consider recommending this book to certain readers. James, however, turned me off completely by failing to admit to an affair, calling his accuser a liar publicly, actively working to undermine the career and credibility of that accuser, continuing that affair, and expressing incredulity with his mistress as to why the accuser would spread "lies" about them. Holy cow -- any interest I may have had in his ideas and business acumen now longer matters. How can James NOT know that he should admit his own poor behavior instead of falsely malign his accuser?? Ugh. I have seen way too much lying in recent years to want to spend any more time with James and won't be going back to read more about him. Were it not for the redeeming points discussed above, James would make this book worthy of only one star.I received a free copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions above are my own.
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  • Mary Cronin
    January 1, 1970
    VanillaI was disappointed with this book. The characters were too perfect in every way. There was little turmoil to create interest. It just coasted along in a rather dull manner. I expected more than this vanilla story.
  • Karma♥Bites ^.~
    January 1, 1970
    16 Sept 2018: FYI for HF &/or Barbara Taylor Bradford fans:Currently 'Read now' @ NG: https://www.netgalley.com/catalog/boo...
  • Bernadette
    January 1, 1970
    I stopped at page 71. I think I would have liked the story - but the writing and the conversations were too fake.
  • Lois Sittu
    January 1, 1970
    Master of His Fate by Barbara Taylor Bradford was a waste of my time. It was an advanced reader's edition and I felt obligated to read the entire book. I could not connect to any of the characters and do not care what happens in the continuing saga. After forming my opinion, I read many of the other reviews and was amazed that the novel received so many four and five stars.
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  • Bookreporter.com Historical Fiction
    January 1, 1970
    Ever since devouring the Harte Family Saga a decade ago, I have loved anything and everything written by the talented Barbara Taylor Bradford. After reading quite a few negative reviews of her latest effort, I must admit that I was a bit nervous to start it. However, from the initial pages, it was apparent that Bradford remains at the top of her writing game. I was soon lost in the setting and the deliciously detailed story.Set during the Victorian era in London, England --- which is a new perio Ever since devouring the Harte Family Saga a decade ago, I have loved anything and everything written by the talented Barbara Taylor Bradford. After reading quite a few negative reviews of her latest effort, I must admit that I was a bit nervous to start it. However, from the initial pages, it was apparent that Bradford remains at the top of her writing game. I was soon lost in the setting and the deliciously detailed story.Set during the Victorian era in London, England --- which is a new period for the author --- MASTER OF HIS FATE chronicles the lives of James Lionel Falconer, a charming and ambitious young man who dreams of owning a successful department store filled with lavish goods, even though his life thus far consists of running a simple market stall with his father, and Alexis, a young woman raised by her widowed father and trained to run his department store (or “arcade,” as they were called at that time). James is a dashing gentleman, as well as a hard worker, who remains fixated on his childhood dream.Alexis is everything I love in a heroine: independent, strong yet likable, and charitable. The story begins with her intent on raising funds to open a home for abused women and their children. What follows is James and Alexis pursuing their parallel dreams. James leaves England to move in with his uncle so he can learn more about his wine shipping business and becomes involved with an older, widowed woman. Alexis, who never thought she would fall in love, let alone marry, has her world turned upside down when she meets an older gentleman named Sebastian. These two storylines are quite romantic, and many of these scenes were among my favorites.Reading MASTER OF HIS FATE is like stepping through a magical door into Victorian England. The descriptions are vivid, the characters rich and the storyline full, and I was completely drawn in and mesmerized. As with all of Bradford’s books, there are a number of characters introduced at a rapid pace, but thanks to her masterful writing style, I did not have any trouble distinguishing one from the other. The novel includes many touching and romantic scenes, while also providing interesting and true-to-life information about running a successful business in that day and age. As a marketing professional, I was especially intrigued by the latter and lapped up the details. Fans of fashion and jewelry will appreciate the colorful descriptions.Historical fiction is my favorite genre, and this one is rich with historical detail while also maintaining a strong plot and supplying a myriad of compelling characters. MASTER OF HIS FATE is an auspicious and exciting start to Bradford’s new series, and I cannot wait for the next installment.Reviewed by Rebecca Wasniak
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