In The Lion’s Den, Barbara Taylor Bradford, St. Martin’s Press, 2020, $28.99,hb, 352 pp, 9781250187420
In the Lion’s Den, Book Two of the House of Falconer series, opens in London, 1889, with James Lionel Falconer about to face his employer, Percy Malvern, with documents newly arrived from Paris: the results of the investigation of thefts in the French wine division of Malvern’s shipping company—the cliff which master storyteller Barbara Taylor Bradford left her readers clinging to at the conclusion of Book One. The news is bad. A disgrace. It could kill the already ailing Malvern. And it’s exactly the opening Bradford’s readers count on. Confident in the hands of this skilled storyteller, they know they can now sit back and devour this tale.
Book One, Master of His Fate, introduced the dazzling array of characters who will now mingle, fall in love, build empires, and, it appears, try to kill one other. When Malvern’s daughter, Alexis, abdicated as his successor after a sudden, devastating loss, Malvern came to increasingly rely on Falconer. Now, moving between 1890s London, Kent, and Paris, Falconer solidifies his position with Malvern while taking his first steps as a merchant in bustling Kent, always keeping his eye on the prize: becoming a merchant prince, his own man.
But when Alexis emerges from her grief, shedding pounds and stepping out of her self-imposed exile in style, it appears she is ready to take the reins. And, possibly, to steal a heart.
Book Two is meaty and skillfully enough crafted to stand alone. But Book One provides the background that brings the myriad characters and locations to life. It serves as the delicious, hearty base for this literary stew. So, while Taylor’s fans may be tempted to eat In the Lion’s Den up with a fork, I’d suggest starting with Master of His Fate and using a spoon. Savor every drop.
Originally published in Historical Novels Review, Issue 94, November 2020
Citation: Kightlinger, Rebecca. "In the Lion's Den" Historical Novels Review, Issue 94: November 2020.
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