POWERFUL AND SHREWD IN BUSINESS...PASSIONATE AND STRONG IN LOVE...LAURA FITZGERALD.
Laura Fitzgerald - a novel of heartstopping intrigue and romance that ranks with the best of Sidney Sheldon
For LINDA and JO, ROBERT, SIMON and SARAH With My Love
Laura Fitzgerald is unique in the Morgan canon as the only book with a female lead. Obviously Stan was no stranger to writing strong female characters, in fact you'd be hard-pushed to find any major female character in a Stanley Morgan book that isn't in some way the equal or more of the male lead. So it's no surprise that Stan takes to the task with ease, and at no point does the character of Laura seem forced or unnatural. It's clear from the mention of Sidney Sheldon in the blurb that the publisher was hoping for this book to be a hit with the same target audience. Sadly the Fawcett imprint was taken over and all of Stan's book were lost in the shuffle. It's actually one of the hardest Morgan's to locate these days, in fact Stan himself traced me a copy and wrote a lovely message inside. He was very fond of the book and I think it's disappearance was one of his greatest disappointments as an author.
He was right to be fond of it, as it's a great read. Another page-turner in the same style as his other thrillers, some of the analysis of the Middle-East petro-political situation has proved to be pretty damn accurate, considering Stan wrote this in 1978 (that's according to the timeline of the book - although it wasn't published until 1983). The depictions of the Arab state are respectful and sensitively written, and all criticisms of that culture are swiftly countered with analogous judgements against the West. As always Stan's view was that no-one is perfect but a little understanding, tolerance and respect goes a long way. But back to the story...the usual easter egg link to Tobin in this book is subtle, but comes when describing the origins of the Fitzgerald stately home. Built by a successful Englishman called Enwright who made his fortune exporting cotton goods and wanted to replicate his home in Liverpool (so we have a couple of tenuous links there in Enwrights/Wainwrights, Cotton Goods/Sewing Machines and an eccentric travelling Liverpudlian....)
The plot moves at pace, and features a few grisly moments (the death of the chap who falls off the scaffold at the building site is one you won't forget in a hurry). The romance builds throughout the story, but given the stress levels being felt by all, it's really a wonder that anyone has the wherewithal to think about falling in love! As a result, the bedroom scenes are mercifully brief and to the point! In the end things get wrapped up pretty quickly, but it's a satisfying end to an excellent tale.