Jack of Clubs
Author: Barbara Metzger
ISBN: 0-451-21805-1 (Signet Eclipse)
Finished: 2 September 2007
Who: Miss Allison Silver and Captain Jonathan “Jack” Endicott
2nd in the House of Cards trilogy
From the back: Years ago, Captain Jack Endicott’s young half-sister vanished after a carriage accident. Now, hardened by fighting in the Peninsular wars, Jack sets out to honor his father’s dying wish that he find the missing girl. Disdainful of “proper” gentlemanly pursuits and refusing to live off his noble brother, Jack makes a bold play. He’ll open a lavish gaming parlor in London — and, by hiring only beautiful ladies to deal cards, possibly find his sister. All he needs is a little luck.
Comments: In the second book of the series, Jack Endicott is looking forward to enjoying himself. He hasn’t forgotten his promise to his father: the gaming club also acts as a headquarters for his search for Lady Charlotte. He’s hired many of his former, now-unemployed soldiers to assist him in both endeavors. Before long, the club is a success, but the search is proving fruitless. Nevertheless, Jack is enjoying his carefree, bachelor life
Enter Miss Harriet Hildebrand and Miss Allison Silver. Harriet is the orphaned granddaughter of a viscount with no other place to go. Miss Silver is a teacher from her school – which burnt down under mysterious circumstances. Allie hopes to deliver her charge into the hand’s of the girl’s legal guardian, and possibly be hired as the girl’s governess. She isn’t thrilled to learn that the only person who they can turn to is the owner of a club. Her reputation is all she has left of any value. Staying at the club can hurt her future employment prospects.
Jack is surprised that anyone would name him as a guardian. A second son, with no other prospects than what he can either make or marry into, he feels he’s the least qualified person to be entrusted with the girl’s welfare. He is willing to take Harriet, but he also wants Miss Silver to stay. She knows how to cope with Harriet and it will save him the trouble of trying to hire a replacement. Besides, Harriet also wants her to stay.
Money, Jack’s aversion toward marriage, and Allie’s attitude regarding gambling and gamblers are their biggest obstacle. At first, Jack’s not attracted to Allie, but as he spends more time with her, his contentment with his life as a club owner and bachelor begins to wane. Allie is definitely attracted to him, but knows his feelings about marriage. Harriet adores Jack and knows that he and Allie should be together. But who would listen to an eight-year-old?
I enjoyed the book very much. I like Barbara Metzger’s style. I have several of her early books in my TBR and I look forward to reading more of her work.