by Joanna Shupe
Series: Knickerbocker Club #0.5
Pub. Date: Feb. 23, 2016
Publisher: Zebra / Kensington
Sometimes the journey is more pleasurable than the destination...
In Gilded Age New York City, the bachelors of the Knickerbocker Club spend their days rubbing elbows with Manhattan's most elite citizens--and their nights with its most intoxicating women . . .
Standing on the platform at Grand Central Station, Ted Harper is surprised by a fiery kiss from an undeniably gorgeous damsel in distress. He's certain she's a swindler who's only after his money, but he's never met a woman so passionate and sure of herself. Disarmed, he invites her to spend the journey to St. Louis in his private car--perhaps against his better judgment . . .
Clara Dawson has long known how to take care of herself, but the savvy shop girl is at a loss when she witnesses--and becomes entangled in--a terrible crime. Desperation propels her into a stranger's arms at the train station, but she hadn't expected Ted to offer her the protection she so badly needs--nor did she expect their chemistry to develop more steam than the engine of the train. He's everything she never thought she could have, and she's everything he didn't know he wanted. But as her secrets begin to unfurl, their fledgling romance could be in danger of derailing before they arrive at the next station . . .
Tycoon takes place during The Gilded Age... but no so much in New York. It starts in New York, but our characters immediately get on a train out of the city heading toward St. Louis. I found the descriptions of the train fascinating. It seems like such a luxurious way to travel when you compare it to our cramped buses and airplanes today. How fun it would be to travel across the country in your own private train car with separate sleeping area, sitting room, and bathroom! It must have seemed very advanced for the time.
As for the relationship between Clara and Theodore, it had to be almost instalove to fit within the confines of the novella, which takes place over the course of two days. The romance was paced well for the length of the story. The couple at least got to know each other somewhat and let the romantic tension build a bit before jumping into bed. I would have liked the backstory on our characters because I didn't quite connect with either one. There is a lot of potential with Theodore, the somewhat aloof businessman. Clara started out well with her outgoing talkative personality, but she got on my nerves toward the end.
This is the first book I have read in this era, so it was a nice change. I am not sure how this book is going to tie into the future stories, but I am intrigued and will continue on with the next book. I hope the rest of the books in the Knickerbocker Club series are longer though, I tend to need a longer time to establish a connection with the characters.
I received an advanced copy of this book from Zebra/Kensington via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. 3 stars / 2 flames.