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A Rumored Fortune

4.17  ·  Rating details ·  399 ratings  ·  206 reviews
Tressa Harlowe's father did not trust banks, but neither did he trust his greedy extended family. He kept his vast fortune hidden somewhere on his estate in the south of England and died suddenly, without telling anyone where he had concealed it. Tressa and her ailing mother are left with a mansion and an immense vineyard and no money to run it. It doesn't take long for a ...more
Paperback, 416 pages
Published July 31st 2018 by Fleming H. Revell Company (first published July 2018)
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4.17  · 
Rating details
 ·  399 ratings  ·  206 reviews

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Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely book this was! When I say that I enjoy historical fiction, this is the kind of book I’m talking about. Treasure hunting, a rumored fortune, ballroom parties, castles. Wow, this was such a delight to read.

The book is in first person for the girl MC, but isn’t for the boy MC. I don’t think I’ve ever read a historical book in first person, but I absolutely loved the way this was done. The writing is just gorgeous and I enjoyed every minute of it. There really wasn’t any dry parts or
Jul 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2018
Simply fabulous Victorian Era novel! What's not to love about a treasure hunt?

In A Rumored Fortune Tressa Harlowe (and several family members) are searching for a hidden treasure. Tressa wants to save her family home and vineyard. The analogies of the vineyard to her life added to the novel. Each chapter begins with a quote by a viticulturist.

Joanna Politano continues to deliver elegant writing in the midst of mystery. There were several twists and turns that kept me guessing.

Pure joy!
Charming, mysterious, romantic, fun, and swoon-worthy, A Rumored Fortune is Politano’s second novel, and, wow, does it deliver for this reader.

There is such a strong atmosphere to sink into within these pages. The setting is a castle, its grounds home to a vineyard. Though her castle home is important and much loved, it is the vineyard that captured Tressa's mind, as it had previously captured her father's before his mysterious death. However, both castle and vineyard have the funds that they n
Oct 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
A nice mid-nineteenth century read. Ms. Politano weaves a fun story together. Add a bit of mystery, romance, horses and carriages, a castle, and you have yourself a book … oh and the death of a father who leaves a secret fortune behind. The writing was good, the storyline was plausible for the most part, and about the only thing I was not a fan of was how quickly everything got tied up, or actually not so tied up, at the end. There was one other point that bothered me, but I don’t want to taint ...more
Beth Erin
Nov 01, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Full review on

Please consider this my awestruck standing ovation... Politano wows with clever, intelligent, and engaging characters and completely beautimous storytelling! Reading this book richly satisfied an aching word-hunger within me and oh, the lovely phrases!

Tressa Harlowe is an endearing misfit who refuses to fit into the mold set by her aloof parents. I love that she is compassionate, willing to learn, and works hard. Stoic vineyard manager Donegan Vance is, in my
Sarah Grace Grzy
Aug 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Recommended for ages 15+ for romance
Everything about this book drew me to it - the amazing cover, title, synopsis . . . It had me hooked.

Our MCs, Tressa Harlowe and Donegan Vance are both interesting and unique characters. I loved Tressa's sweet spirit, artistic mind, and generous heart, and found myself relating to her a lot, especially on the artistic front. Donegan Vance was a very intriguing character, but he somehow fell flat to me. I think the author made him out to be such a bad guy in Tressa's mind that by the time we the
Nov 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
SQQQQEEEEPPPPP!!!!! Sorry for the shattered eardrums but this book is worthy of the combined squealing and eeeping hullaboo I reserve for a sacred few exceptional novels. I'm still all shivery delight as I think back on this story.

Mainly because of the distinctive Gothic style. It creeps in on the very first page and continues on right to the end. A heroine in peril. A hero with secrets. A sinister pall casting dark shadows over Trevelyan Castle. And so many characters with nefarious purposes. A
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, reviewed
Joanna Davidson Politano truly has a gift and I couldn’t be more excited to read another book of hers!

How’d you define wealth? A fortune?
Tressa Harlowe can be deemed to have both, living in a castle in a big estate where income comes from the wits of her father who has grown a vineyard in a place people claimed to be impossible.
Still, her life seems to be defined by what she doesn’t have: a title, a sensible mother, honest friendships... and the love of a father.

It’s heartbreaking to see this lo
Sarah Monzon
Aug 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars! A really enjoyable read with both plot and characters that will have you turning the pages. Beyond that, though, I immensely appreciated the spiritual themes of grafting and connecting to the true Vine.
Jul 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A Rumored Fortune is a masterpiece! Joanna Davidson Politano’s debut novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, was on the list of my top ten fiction reads of 2017. So I was a little worried that her next novel would not live up to her stunning debut. As you can see, I loved A Rumored Fortune just as much!

Ms. Politano is a master storyteller and a wordsmith! It’s hard to describe why her writing is so unique. Some words I would use are lyrical, whimsical and creative. It is such a pleasure to read the way sh
Aug 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookshelf, 2018
This is Joanna’s sophomore novel and it was just as amazing (or better) than her debut. Her writing is beautiful. She is very gifted at setting the scene and placing the reader in the environment right beside the characters.

The setting of this story was an old castle but in the time period of 1866. The story had a Gothic feel which added to the atmospheric quality of the story.

There were some twists in the story (one in particular) that I would classify as jaw dropping. I live for twists in my b
Diane Estrella
Aug 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing
From the very first interaction of our hero and heroine, I was hooked.

"Hold on as tight as you need."

And that is how the story progressed. Him being the most noble unofficial gentleman in the most sensitively, brutish way. As gruff as he came off, his gentle heart was shown in all he said and did. He was dreamy in every possible way. Tressa was the kindest most generous lady whose heart was open to everyone and everything. She didn't know all that she was searching for until the distractions wer
Jun 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an absolute delight it was to read A Rumored Fortune by Joanna Davidson Politano. Ripe with analogies and a handsome hero, this is a book you will not be able to put down.

Did you notice my use of the word "ripe"? This wonderful book, while a great read that will get you lost in the main mystery, uses John 15:5, "I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing," as it's central theme.

Tressa Harlowe is an heire
Kelly Bridgewater
Aug 13, 2018 rated it liked it
I have read Joanna Davidson Politano's first novel, Lady Jayne Disappears, and it was like nothing I ever read before. Chalked full of mystery and a unique Victorian voice. So of course, when I read the synopsis on her second novel, A Rumored Fortune, I couldn't wait to dive into a treasure hunt in a castle in the Victorian era. Unfortunately the book fell flat for me.

Politano does a fabulous job at creating the setting and allowing me to experience the world of Trevelyan Castle. The house and
A.M. Heath
What I Loved: This was a prime example of fine Christian fiction. From the moment the story began, I was captivated by Tressa, her world, and her story. And as it unfolded, I was treated to an interesting new mystery. The conclusion of the mystery wasn’t clear from chapter one, so it was nice to go on the treasure hunt with the rest of the cast. The romance was sweet and clean. But what really stood out to me was the way Politano crafted the story to include tips on keeping a vineyard to mirror ...more
Jan 14, 2019 rated it did not like it
Didn’t know this was Christian romance when I checked it out. I have my reasons why I avoid Christian and/or psuedo-christian romance but the main thing I hated about this book is that although it claimed Christ...
There was NO clear cut testimony. The character’s Christianity was based on emotions only. There was no relaying of the gospel or actual Bible doctrines.
Authors, do not claim God for your novels if you have no desire to be doctrinally and biblically sound.
Heather Gilbert
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads
This novel is sure to please those who are looking for a romance with mysterious, unpredictable twists. I enjoyed having to guess about some things until close to the end. The heroine, Tressa, is sweet and reflective, which reminds me of Jane Eyre. An enjoyable read!
In her novel A Rumored Fortune, author Joanna Davidson Politano, has written another historical romance mystery that will have readers on their toes. Politano’s story and characters spring to life off the pages of her book in this excellent written and captivating story. The mystery and dynamics of the story will hook readers and keep them up and turning pages late into the night. An excellent combination of mystery and romance, Politano weaves her own love story into this delightful novel. Read ...more
JD Sutter
Aug 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The mystery was intriguing, the characters were compelling and genuine, and the romance, while somewhat predictable, was heartwarming and not unrealistic as some are. The setting for the story was beautiful and fascinating. Highly recommend this book! More detailed review on the Bookworm Banquet podcast:
Natalie Walters
Nov 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It's hard to put into words how I feel about this book because saying I LOVE it feels inadequate. I was captivated by the first page, drawn into life of Tressa Harlowe and the troubles thrust upon her and the Trevelyan household.

Ms. Politano has this way of writing that makes me feel joyful. It's not just the amazing characters but the way she brings them to life with genuine emotion and thought that have me enchanted with each turn of the page. I LOVED Tressa and Donegan. I was enchanted by th
Aug 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent sophomore offering from Politano!
The mystery and family dynamics are intriguing and kept me turning pages, but it is the Biblical parallels that make this book shine above others in the genre. The beautiful word pictures of vines, branches, grafting, and nourishing the vines are amazing and will lead the reader closer to God with these descriptions.
The characters are human, flawed, yet most of them are striving to be better versions of themselves. The overall mystery and suspense are
Sep 16, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018-favorites
I really started to fall for this book around chapter 20. I enjoyed reading about the complex relationships, the search for the hidden fortune, and all the twists and turns of this story. I also loved the setting of the castle and the vineyard, how alive it felt.

I really appreciated all the symbolism of the vineyard and how it reflects life and relationship with God, especially with the pruning. I definitely connected with Tressa and her struggle to understand why God was taking things away from
My librarian book club is going to murder this book. And we can do so in a systematic and guided way via the discussion questions included at the end. 😂 #cantwait
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2018-reads

I have been eagerly anticipating this author’s second novel, and I was so excited to dive into this gem. And what a gem it is! I thoroughly enjoyed “A Rumored Fortune”, being swept away between its pages and taken on quite the journey. So much beauty, and heart. Main characters Tressa Harlowe and Donegan Vance were spectacular. I loved how Tressa’s portion (the majority of the novel) was in first person – it really flowed so nicely and bonded me even more to her. Third-person for Donegan’s porti
Karen R
Jun 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
Another intriguing Victorian mystery! A heroine whose life circumstances seem bleak, surrounded by people not sure she can trust, Tressa's story draws the perfect picture of a soul in need of rescue. Set in 1866, along the coast of England, this story has all the elements of a Gothic romance: a creepy, mysterious castle on a hill, characters who all had something to hide, and a treasure hunt that takes a dangerous turn.

The author does a good job of creating emotional tension, telling the story t
V. Palmer
Aug 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing



A Rumored Fortune is a treasure trove of powerful truths just waiting to be discovered so they can enrich your soul! This gorgeous book is everything I could have hoped for and more! Joanna Davidson Politano's sophomore novel did not disappoint!!!


One of the things I love most about Joanna Davidson Politano's writing is that her characters are so relatable. They aren't perfect. They make mistakes. Then they make even bigger mistakes. But they so reflect the world
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Love the story, the characters, and the beautifully woven tale of time. I think most of all I enjoyed the faith theme and the allegory of the vine! What a tremendous way to weave a story and tie it together with a vine...The Vine. This is a thought provoking book with so much contained in its pages I had to give it one of my rare five stars.

Tressa had my heart. She was alone, so alone...with a heart full of love ready to share. The things she learns about life, herself, and her Heavenly Father a
Dick Reynolds
Jan 22, 2019 rated it it was ok

It’s 1866 and the setting for this book is Somerset, England, an area just south of Bristol. The master of Trevelyan Castle, Josiah Harlowe, has drowned but his body has not been found. And why is that? One has to read the first half of this book to find out. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Josiah’s daughter, Tessa Harlowe, is still living in the castle and trying her best to make ends meet while taking care of her ailing mother. She has a huge staff, of course, but she has to deal with a larg
Aug 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Rumored Fortune was a tale shrouded in mystery. The main character, Tressa, was forced to navigate the turbulent rumors and dangers that surrounded her family estate and vineyard.

I really felt for Tressa. At times she was a good judge of character, and at other times she fell short and made the wrong decisions regarding people’s true motives. It was truly understandable, though, given that she was working with such limited information. I also felt sorry for the lack of love this very caring yo
Mar 11, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance
This is the first book I've read by Ms. Politano. And I have to say, I wasn't disappointed. I was not taken aback by anything in the book except the actual location of the treasure and what Mr. Vance did with his. I guessed the bad guy and the secrets that lay within. That did not discourage me from finishing the story. It was nice to see I was spot on with my assumptions and guesses. I liked all the vineyard vernacular sprinkled throughout the book and learned a lot about caring for not only vi ...more
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Joanna Davidson Politano freelances for a small nonfiction publisher but spends much of her time spinning tales that capture the colorful, exquisite details in ordinary lives. Her manuscript for Lady Jayne Disappears was a finalist for several contests, including the 2016 Genesis Award from ACFW, and won the OCW Cascade Award and the Maggie Award for Excellence. She is always on the hunt for rando ...more