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Fortune's Hand [Large Print] [Paperback]

Belva Plain
2.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 2000 Thorndike Paperback Bestsellers
In this remarkable new novel, Belva Plain creates a brilliant portrayal of a man's descent from idealistic beginnings into a world of dishonesty and greed--and of the two women who love him. Robb MacDaniel, a schoolteacher with noble intentions, comes into a little money, enabling him to go to law school.  Upon graduation, he goes to work for a fine, honorable firm, and marries the daughter of the senior partner, leaving behind the hometown girl he had planned to wed. From then on his career brings enormous successes but then takes a shocking turn that changes his life, the life of his family, and reverberates into the next generation.

With the magic of a born storyteller, New York Times bestselling author Belva Plain unfolds the devastating tale of a man whose dreams come true. Fortune's Hand is a novel of temptation, betrayal, and greed--and of the redeeming power of love.
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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From Amazon

Prolific author Belva Plain turns her discerning attention once more to the complexity of the human condition in Fortune . High-powered lawyer Robb McDaniel learns too late that dreams are more easily lost than won, and that life sometimes takes on a complexion all of its own, when he pursues and achieves "success," as measured by standards not his own or his family's. Along the way, Robb indelibly touches other lives: Lily, his high-school sweetheart and former fiancée; Ellen, his estranged wife who is in love with another man; and Julie, his daughter who has grown up before Robb realized what was happening. For Belva Plain fans, the sometimes-unlikely dialogue fails to detract from the message of a life gone astray. In truth, Plain's painfully literal plot reminds us all to remain vigilant, to continually monitor the progress and process of our lives, else we wake one day to find it and ourselves unrecognizable. --Alison Trinkle --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

Plain adroitly crafts bestsellers (Homecoming, Secrecy, Promises, etc.), lacing modern morality tales with current issues and old-fashioned melodrama, often creating emotionally resilient, believable characters, and sometimes generating clich?s just to smooth the path to true love. Her latest effort starts off predictably as earnest young Robb MacDaniel leaves his loyal fianc?e, Lily, in the small Southern town where they grew up, in order to pursue a law degree, using insurance money from an accident that has killed his parents. In the big city, Robb falls for Ellen, the Wellesley-educated daughter of local legal icon Wilson Grant. Marrying Ellen, Robb firmly steps up the ladder of success, casting off ideals, as he cast off Lily, at each rung. Robb's professional rise and moral descent drive him to increasingly desperate acts, but he doesn't allow his struggles with regret to thwart his ambition. Plain keeps the tissue count low in this tearjerker by focusing on RobbAalthough her sympathies are clearly with the long-suffering women who love him. Because of the novel's New South location and legal-ethics theme, it occasionally seems to misstep into Grisham territory. Plain is much surer on domestic ground, such as when she unravels the family secrets and emotions surrounding Robb and Ellen's retarded son. Unsentimental supporting characters (Lily's mom, Robb's best friend) also help make this one of her most convincing tales of personal choice and human weakness.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful March 28 2004
By Shelly
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I read Evergreen many years ago (and thoroughly enjoyed it), this was the first Belva Plain book I had picked up since - what a mistake! It was the worst book I have read in a long time. The characters were unlikeable, no worthy traits whatsoever and the character development was very poor. The timeline of the story didn't hold any meaning either - it was set in the 1970's to late 1990's, there was no evidence of this at all, it could have been 1870's with the way Robb expressed himself. Old fashioned, questionable sentiments and POOR story! Don't bother picking this one up!
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4.0 out of 5 stars Loved it March 14 2003
By Detra Fitch TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Belva Plain has made another story worthy of being made into a mini series. I can only hope it happens someday! In this one, Robb MacDaniel's life changes when he goes to law school. He leaves behind his home town, as well as, "the girl next door". He marries another generous woman named Ellie. As time goes by, Robb's career bring enormous successes and money is no longer a concern. However, soon money is all that matters. Robb never understands that cash in the bank is not the same as owning as much as possible.
Belva Plain also shows the effects all this has on Ellie, his two children, as well as the the girl he left behind all those years ago. Surprise ending! The thing I love best about Belva Plain's writing is that she can create a wonderful and realistic story, without using all the harsh language so many other authors use. Highly recommended reading!
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2.0 out of 5 stars Boring Nov. 17 2001
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I liked the story for the first 50 pages, but after that it kept getting boring. I have read other books by Belva Plain and I have to say that this was the one that I liked the least. Her stories begin to develop a pattern and her style of writing is no longer exciting. I wouldn't suggest reading this book unless there isn't another one within 10 miles.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Relax for a while with a "good read" Jan. 24 2001
Format:Hardcover
Robb McDaniel has his life all planned out. He will marry his high school sweetheart, Lily, teach at the high school and maybe eventually become the school principal. But suddenly, after a tragic car accident in which his parents are killed, he is able to have enough money to go to law school. And that's when everything changes for them.
While Robb goes to law school, Lily stays in their hometown, works at the library and waits for him to graduate so they can be married. But Robb meets Ellen Grant, falls in love with her, marries her and becomes a partner in her father's law firm.
They have 2 children, a daughter and then a much longed for son. But as time goes on, Robb becomes more and more involved in his work and getting ahead and Ellen is left to face some unique problems alone.
FORTUNE'S HAND is fascinating in that it shows how a person can completely be taken over by ambition and greed and what happens to the family left behind.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Very disappointing Aug. 18 2000
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have read all of Belva Plain's novels. This book was so disappointing. The beginning of the story captured my interest but by the middle it became boring. The ending sort of fell off a cliff--it was as tho the author couldn't think of an ending and it sort of abruptly stopped. The characters were stilted and I felt no sympathy for any of them. The main character, Robb, starts off with such high ethical standards and just throws them to the wind. It was so unbelievable.
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2.0 out of 5 stars A Laborious Read July 25 2000
By A Customer
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I have always enjoyed Belva Plain's books, so "Fortune's Hand" was a big disappointment. I labored through this book, hoping it would get better, but believe me, it doesn't. The setting felt artificial. I never grew to like ANY of the characters. The dialogue was stilted (No one has talked like this in at least 50 years!) and why are so many "words" and "phrases" placed in "quotation marks"? The sub-plot about the shame of having a retarded son was offensive and very dated. This book is supposed to take place in the 1970s-1990s, but the plot and the characters never felt true to the times. I'm sorry I wasted my time with this forgettable book.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Not one of her best July 15 2000
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
I have always been a Belva Plain fan. I couldn't wait for her books to be published! After having read her latest two: "Fortune's Hand" and "After the Fire", I'm disappointed! Both of these books are just not up to her earlier works. I can't put my finger on it: is it the characters, the plots, the writing? They just left me with a blah feeling.
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Format:Hardcover
At one time, Belva Plain was one of my favorite authors and I'd read each book she wrote on the day it hit the stores. Now I'm finding myself in no rush to do so and while she still writes a good book, they don't seem to be "great" any longer.
This is the story of how Robb McDaniel allowed "fortune" to ruin his life. When his parents are killed in an accident, he inherits enough money to go to law school and leaves his high-school sweetheart behind with promises to return and marry her -- mistake #1. While at law school, he meets Ellen whose father is the senior partner in a big-time law firm -- mistake #2. The ensuing story tells how Robb's fortune allows him to make mistake #3, #4, #5, etc.
At the beginning of this story, you have great hope for Robb. Lady Luck has shined down on this hometown boy enabling him to make something out of his life. Unfortunately, Lady Luck didn't stay around long enough. You'll have to read this book to find out about the rest of Robb's life and the very dramatic, always Belva Plain-like dramatic ending of this book.
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