The Fields of Fortune

Written by Jessica Stirling
Review by Stephanie Hochadel

On the brink of being coerced into an unwanted marriage to an old, albeit rich, neighbour, young Nicola Templeton flees to Georgian Edinburgh to stay with her older sister Charlotte, who married Grant Peters, a lawyer, without her father’s consent the previous year.

At Charlotte’s small but comfortable house, Nicola meets her brother-in-law’s younger brother Gillon, who retired early from the army. Gillon has his mind set on the second Templeton heiress, and actively pursues Nicola, who, despite flirting with him, is only too aware of his inadequacies, particularly with regards to money. On one luncheon with Gillon, she meets his older brother, Roderick, and is smitten. But will a hardworking farmer as a husband ever be good enough for her father?

John James Templeton, the girls’ father, has his own plans for the family fortune – he plans to remarry and sire a son to whom he can leave his extensive estate. He is therefore a little surprised when he receives an invitation for an evening of whist at Lady Oliphant’s residence where he meets – and becomes enchanted with – Madelaine, a young ‘widow’ from London. But he has a serious rival in Gillon. Who is Madelaine and who will gain her affections?

The Fields of Fortune has several plots running parallel where, at times, there were so many characters at play that I lost track of their purpose. But the main aspect was the complex relationship between members of each of the two families, the Templetons and the Peters. The ending implied that happiness does not depend on financial gain but on high values and hard work. An interesting read with a moral.