Sunday, June 8, 2014

Review: A Woman of Fortune

A Woman of Fortune
By Kellie Coates Gilbert
Texas Gold #1
Revell, 2014


You never know what you're really made of until you lose everything.

Texas socialite Claire Massey is living the dream--designer clothes, luxury cars, stunning homes. But everything comes crashing down when her charming cattle broker husband is arrested for fraud. Suddenly she finds herself facing attorneys, a media frenzy, and a trail of broken hearts. Betrayed and humiliated, Claire must face incredible odds to save her family--and discover a life worth living.

Author Kellie Coates Gilbert delivers a story both poignant and emotionally gripping that celebrates the kind of fortune that lasts.

My thoughts

After being wowed by Kellie's debut novel, Mother of Pearl, she instantly became one of my very favorite writers. Sometimes a sophomore novel fails to meet expectations, but that is certainly not the case here. In A Woman of Fortune, Kellie creates a gripping, ripped-from-the-headlines story and shows what could happen with faith in the mix. The story has all the trademarks that I've come to expect from Kellie's writing:  exquisite writing that flows across the page, emotionally complex characters who deal with troubling situations, legal drama, southern humor (Texas style), spiritual application, and a plot that just won't let go.

"Don't think you can stick pansies in a toilet bowl
and call it a garden."
- Jana Rae

In Dallas, a town that "liked to place the rich on pedestals, then knock them off for sport, " Kellie has taken an unimaginably horrible situation and shaken a family to its core. The Massey family isn't very likeable, at least in the beginning, so to make this reader care about them is a quality of great writing. Politics, scandal, and all the trappings of wealth are blended with themes of friendship, commitment, mercy and forgiveness.

Husband and father Tuck Massey had a driven spirit to come out a winner, no matter what - but shortly after the story opens, he is arrested and incarcerated on multiple counts of cattle fraud and federal racketeering charges. There's no doubt that Claire and Tuck loved each other, but Claire had never seen things as they really were. "Funny how she'd always known the grass was green - but never needed to know how or why." And the three Massey children, raised in the proverbial "lap of luxury" without a strong faith on which to stand, are left with their own coping mechanisms. I was particularly drawn to daughter Lainie for some reason - daddy's "princess" who bartered her self-worth, but eventually discovered that it wasn't enough and would eventually break her soul. These characters and their raw emotions felt so very real.

"I don't think I'm church material anymore." - Lainie
"What liar told you that?" - Mike

There were two secondary characters that I loved, Jana Rae and Margarita. Jana Rae is that friend that we all need in our lives, someone we can depend on to be in our corner, but who will speak the truth that we need to hear. And I want to believe that Margarita's deep faith had a tremendous influence on Claire.

While A Woman of Fortune highly entertains, its spiritual insights remain with me. No, I can't relate to these characters from a lifestyle standpoint, but we do share the same spiritual struggles. I felt challenged to ask myself what I would have done had I been in Claire's place, if everything I valued and cared for was suddenly ripped away. Do I really feel, like Margarita, that nothing comes into our lives without first being sifted by God's hands, and that God makes all things possible? Am I quick to turn to God during hard times so that I can hold His hand as He guides me through? And sometimes toughest of all, is God really all I need? These words of Lainie say it all:  "Her daddy had tried to give her the world and failed. On the other hand, God had created her heart. Who was more qualified to satisfy what she craved?"

Thank you, Kellie Coates Gilbert, for a wonderful, hard-to-put-down story that challenges my faith at the same time. Highly recommended to all readers.

I also highly recommend Kellie's first book, Mother of Pearl. Please check out my review here.

Listen to Kellie's words on this YouTube video.

A Woman of Fortune can be purchased online at CBD, DeeperShopping, Amazon, and B&N.

Kellie Coates Gilbert

Kellie Coates Gilbert is a former legal investigator and trial paralegal who investigated the largest cattle fraud case in US history. Her legal experience gives her an insider's view into how people react under pressure. Gilbert explores the complexity of relationships in her emotionally charged stories about women in life-changing circumstances. The author of Mother of Pearl, she currently lives in Dallas, Texas, with her husband.

Meet Kellie online at, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.

Thank you to Revell for providing a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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