Fortune's Hand Paperback – Large Print, Jul 2000
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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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
I got seduced by all the hype on the cover, but if Belva Plain is "an accomplished storyteller" it must have been 17 books ago 'cause it ain't this one!
The book offers absolutely nothing new. No surprises. No insights about the frailty of human nature. No inspired writing. Not even any inspired sex scenes. Nothing. What you do get: a non-existent plot about a lawyer (gee, has that been done before?), stilted writing and the worst sin of all -- unlikeable characters. Not one of them was anyone I cared about, not even remotely.
But the writing! Who writes like this? "She would come virginal to the marriage." In 1970s America? Yeah sure. Who talks like this with all the do nots (instead of don't) and an EXCESSIVE use of darling. I have never heard anyone anywhere call anyone darling unless it was dripping with sarcasm. This book reads like a British costume drama set down in what is supposed to be greedy contemporary America. Didn't buy it for a second.
And the whole "retarded boy" thing. I mean talk about lack of sensitivity and heavy handedness. I bet a lot of readers will be rightly and deeply offended by how this was handled. It offered no sensitivity and no insight into this. You want a book about a family reeling from the impact of a disabled child? Read Sue Miller's Family Pictures -- now there's a book!
And what exactly was this book supposed to be about? A morality tale? For whom? About what?Read more ›
After ending his relationship with Lily, Robb marries Ellen and joins her father's prestigious law firm. Almost a year later, their first child, Julie is born. Over the next two decades, Robb's personal and professional life begins to fall apart. He starts to see other women and becomes involved in a bank scam. Only Julie seems to want to save Robb from further self destruction and the probability is she will not succeed.
Belva Plain is known for her straight forward personal dramas that cut right to the essence of her characters. Her latest novel, FORTUNE'S HAND, strengthens her standing among contemporary readers by exposing the inner souls of Robb and several of the support cast that touch his sphere. Ms. Plain augments the story line with a strong belief that the workings of fate force individuals to change the linear paths they travel. Though plain reading, sub-genre fans fortunately perusing this book will take immense pleasure from the intriguing plot.
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.
Most recent customer reviews
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! Read morePublished on March 28 2004 by Shelly
Belva Plain has made another story worthy of being made into a mini series. I can only hope it happens someday! Read morePublished on March 14 2003 by Detra Fitch
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... Read morePublished on Nov. 17 2001 by ShayShay
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. Read morePublished on Aug. 18 2000 by Judith L. Boro
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... Read morePublished on July 25 2000
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",... Read morePublished on July 15 2000
I was extremely disappointed in this book. I normally enjoy her books and typically spend my reading time rooting for the hero or heroine to resolve whatever the issue is (spousal... Read morePublished on June 3 2000 by Debbie Coulter
I'd like to get my money back on this loser of a story by Belva Plain. One-dimensional characters for whom I felt little empathy were disconnected emotionally except for a... Read morePublished on June 2 2000 by Carol W. Levy