by Meredith Bond

September 2005
ISBN: 0-8217-7822-6
Reviewer Graphic Button Zebra Books
Mass Market Paperback

The Merry Men Quartet is coming to a close. Dame Fortune is the final story of these Merry Men. Iím sure going to miss them, but it is time they move on and the last one to do so is St. John Fotheringay-Phipps, also known as Fungy to everyone.

Fungy it seems hasnít changed since these stories began. He is still the most impeccably dressed out of all of them, kind and witty. He also gives pointers to people when he sees they need them but not in a harmful way, he does it with grace and charm. He seems to go through life without a care in the world, except for his clothes. It seems that Fungy is a man of intelligence though we rarely saw a glimpse of it before.

Rose Grace is the daughter of an archeologist. They are back in London from their latest dig in Greece. Rose is more of an outdoor person and isnít too crazy about all the balls that she is attending. Rose is intelligent but knows little about how society works. It seems that Roseís mistake in society will be a huge one if it wasnít for Fungy stepping in and rescuing her. She made the mistake of flirting with a duke and he didnít take it too kindly. This is how Rose and Fungy meet.

Now instead of Rose marrying for love she must marry a man of wealth and fast, even if she doesnít love him. It seems her family is out of money and going into debit. And it is up to her as the oldest sister to pull them out. But the question is can Rose marry for wealth and not love.

Rose has two sisters that are a handful, full of mischief and one of them is boy crazy. It seems that Fungy is always around to help her with them when needed. Her sisters are old enough to know better but they like adventure. One such adventure is life altering to Fungy and it isnít long before he sees things in a different light and realizes just how much Rose means to him.

It seems they also have some say in who Rose will marry. It is funny to hear them talk about the men and whom they like and what Rose should be looking for in a husband.

Ms. Bond has closed the last pages on these Merry Men in style. She has given us a story that on the surface seems superficial but offers much more than we first see. Fungy wasnít always about his clothes and the way he went in society as we learn in the opening prologue. The prologue actually confused me as he was called Sinjin and in no previous book was he called by that name. It takes until probably over half the book before we find the answer to that question. We also understand more about Fungy and the way he is as well. What we do see is that his closest friends and cousin seem to have forgotten who Fungy really is.

Dame Fortune isnít just about Rose having to marry for money or Fungy going about society as nothing phases him or the love they feel for each other. Rose has feelings for Fungy but isnít sure what they are exactly and it takes a while for Fungy with a little help to realize he is in love with Rose. Like I said there is more than just these two falling in love, it is a journey of discovery as well for Fungy and shows him what he is capable of.

Even though this is the last book of these Merry Men, Iím hoping we do get to see them every so often in upcoming stories. Iím wondering if Ms. Bond has anything planned for Roseís two sisters. They were interesting and fun and brought a little more adventure to the story.

Reviewed in August 2005 by Pam.

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