Master of His Fate

Master of His Fate

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...

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Title:Master of His Fate
Author:Barbara Taylor Bradford
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Master of His Fate Reviews

  • Rebecca

    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.

    As with most first installments, this one was utilized as a tool to set up upcoming installments and provided a lot of background information. I can see why this might provoke some readers to give this book a low rating. I, however, didn’t care because I love Barbara’s beautiful writing. That. Much. 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)

  • Susan Peterson

    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.

  • Linda Zagon

    Lindas Book Obsession Reviews " Master of His Fate" by @Barbara Taylor Bradford,  St. Martin's Press, November 20, 2018

    Barbara 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, 2018

    Barbara 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.

  •  Martin

    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.

  • Tammy

    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!

  • Kate Vocke

    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!

  • Charlotte Lynn

    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.

  • Cindy Roesel

    ** 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.

  • Laura Spira

    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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