Title: Fortune’s Folly
Author: Cat Dubie
Genre: Historical Fiction
When Eden Fitzgerald’s father and brother are arrested and sent to prison, she promptly gets married. Not for love or money, but to persuade her influential in-laws to help free the men.
While she cleverly evades Crown agents who believe she, like her father, is a smuggler and Fenian collaborator, she does what she can to achieve her goal. But when all legal methods are exhausted, she dons a mask, carries a pistol and, using her wiles, wits, even her seductive beauty, robs wealthy citizens to pay for her father’s escape.
Her life grows ever more complicated by the lustful attentions of several men who profess to love her, and the one man she loves but dares not trust. Meanwhile, her crimes worsen, culminating in murder and what may be treason. As Montréal police, British agents, and men she betrayed grow more dangerous and determined to apprehend her, she must stay one step ahead of her pursuers.
Eden declined André's invitation to join the celebrations in honor of Dominion Day, the day four of the provinces united as one country. She could have gone, for the wetnurses now nourished the twins. But she did not want to hear marching bands, nor to see buildings and ships bedecked and beflagged. She did not want to witness the fireworks, no matter they were rumored to be the most extravagant display ever held in North America.
She told André she was not in a celebratory mood because Prince Edward Island rejected inclusion in the new country. A partial truth.
Louis, home that evening, received two visitors and led them to his study. Eden settled in the library at the lacquered writing table to finish a letter to her brother. “I’m glad you and Susanna are getting married this August—”
She paused, startled by the sound of voices seeping through the wall. She rose and tiptoed to the bookcase. It had been built into the wall and the voices came from a cavity among the books. The sacrosanct study was on the other side.
"If you have come on business," Louis said, "why not visit the offices?"
"Our business is better done in privacy." A brief pause. "We recently spoke to M’sieur Alfred Kells of the Lancashire British banking firm. He informed us you covertly transport cash to the Continent. And you guarantee delivery or will replace the amount with your own funds."
Paper crackled, then Louis said, "M’sieur Kells appears confident in the purpose of your request. What you ask can be done for a price, five percent of the amount involved." After their murmured agreement he asked, “How much money is there?"
"Two hundred thousand pounds, to be sent in small increments at first, ten thousand at a time. The money goes to Marseilles for a certain venture. You may call it a business venture, for isn't this after all the major goal of any civil revolution?"
Eden leaned closer. A stunning declaration, a stunning amount!
“So, you are fomenting revolution in France?" New sharpness in Louis’ voice. Probably plotting how he could profit from this knowledge.
“A revolution is necessary. The Second Empire is but a house of cards. Louis Napoleon is failing, his power slipping away. We represent certain interests who would ensure a swift overturn of power. It is our understanding you assisted others for, ah, less noble reasons. Do you undertake this request?"
“I do, for the percentage agreed upon, paid in advance."
Following a muttered discussion, one visitor said, "It will be difficult to give you the first ten thousand pounds and have nothing to show investors. May we suggest you take one-half of the first two shipments? Then five thousand pounds will be sent and our people will be satisfied."
"Very well. I conceal cash within framed paintings. What is your plan?"
“We want the cash aboard La Flamme, scheduled to leave August ninth. The ship’s first mate awaits your courier on the port side between midnight and three o’clock.”
“You have my word the courier will be there on time. Does this satisfy you, gentlemen?"
"Thank-you, M’sieur Fontaine. We appear to have a compact. La Flamme discharges her cargo and returns for another shipment in early September."
"As our business is done, shall we retire to the salon? I have excellent cognac."
Eden waited until their voices faded and a door closed. Louis had revealed himself to be a smuggler on a far grander scale than her family ever had been. And he pretended to be above all reproach. What a load of rot!
But he had given her a gift—an opportunity to obtain much needed cash.
She returned the missing books to their places, then sat at the writing table and picked up her pen. "I'm sorry, Martin," she wrote. "I can't see any way of getting to the Island this summer. August promises to be very busy for me."
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The life of a strong and determined heroine is filled with passion, drama, love, family loyalty, treachery and betrayal. Add several lusty men to the mix!
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I’ve written creatively since forever, it seems. Poems, short stories, novels, reviews, essays, even the odd letter to the editor. My day job as a technical writer for various levels of government was the labor I did for a living so that in my free time I could indulge in my labor of love, writing fiction.
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