• Search
  • Lost Password?
Sharing our love for authors, and the stories they are inspired to tell.

‘Relative Fortunes’
by Marlowe Benn
Book Beginnings
First Lines

image of a woman sat reading by an open window - caption reads 'will these first few lines capture our imagination' - used as the image for Book Beginnings / First Lines, posts

For all you ‘First Page Browsers’

Cover image of the book 'Relative Fortunes' by the author Marlowe Benn



” Two bankers – one gray and stout, the other pink and merely soft about the jowls – conferred in low voices outside the office door, flicking pained glances through the window’s gold lettering. Julia smoothed the gloves across her knee to feign indifference and watched from the shadows of her hat brim. It mattered to her what the men said, and also that they not realize how much.

They stepped back into the room, closing the door with a solemn click. The older man sat in the remaining client chair, beside Julia. She was flanked.

‘It’s a privilege to meet you at least, Miss Kydd,’ the older man said. ‘I remember your father well, and of course your brother has been a valued client for years. This bank and the Kydd family have enjoyed a long and cordial relationship, as you know.’

She blanched at talk of satisfied generations. Trouble, then.

‘Naturally we’d like to help,’ he went on, stroking his jaw as if to coax forth a kinder way to phrase what must follow, ‘but I’m afraid what you ask is impossible. While it’s true the account is registered in your name and technically the money is yours, the terms of the trust prohibit release of funds to anyone other than the trustee or his assigned proxies. Not even to you.’ He forced a cough. ‘Particularly not to you. That’s rather the point of a trust, after all.’

Julia re-crossed her legs. She pointed out that she was no longer a child. In less than three weeks, her twenty-fifth birthday would render the issue moot. ‘I’ve lived independently in London for some time now and am quite capable of managing my own funds. If Philip were available, I’m sure he’d authorize this, but he’s not, and frankly I’m in a bit of a pinch.’ “

So, you have taken a look, will you read the book?

Let me know what you think in the comments section below.

Just to give you an extra helping hand, here is the book’s premise …

RELATIVE FORTUNES – (Julia Kydd – Book #1)

Cover image of the book 'Relative Fortunes' by the author Marlowe BennIn 1920s New York, the price of a woman’s independence can be exorbitant—even fatal.

In 1924 Manhattan, women’s suffrage is old news. For sophisticated booklover Julia Kydd, life’s too short for politics. With her cropped hair and penchant for independent living, Julia wants only to launch her own new private press. But as a woman, Julia must fight for what’s hers—including the inheritance her estranged half brother, Philip, has challenged, putting her aspirations in jeopardy.

When her friend’s sister, Naomi Rankin, dies suddenly of an apparent suicide, Julia is shocked at the wealthy family’s indifference toward the ardent suffragist’s death. Naomi chose poverty and hardship over a submissive marriage and a husband’s control of her money. Now, her death suggests the struggle was more than she could bear.

Julia, however, is skeptical. Doubtful of her suspicions, Philip proposes a glib wager: if Julia can prove Naomi was in fact murdered, he’ll drop his claims to her wealth. Julia soon discovers Naomi’s life was as turbulent and enigmatic as her death. And as she gets closer to the truth, Julia sees there’s much more at stake than her inheritance…


Image of author Marlowe Benn - image credit to Keith BrofskyBorn near Boston, Marlowe grew up in an Illinois college town along the Mississippi River.

She holds a master’s degree in the book arts from the University of Alabama and a doctorate in the history of books from the University of California, Berkeley.

A former editor, college teacher, and letterpress printer, Marlowe lives with her husband on an island near Seattle.

Visit Marlowe at her website

Follow Marlowe on Twitter

Check in with Marlowe on Facebook

“I think writer’s block comes from setting your expectations too high. Think of athletes or musicians, who practice daily for untold hours just to develop skills and then maintain and polish them. If you think of writing in the same way, as practice more than performance, the pressure’s off. Let it flow and see what happens.”

“Everyone says it’s important to not get discouraged, and they’re right. But be smart about it. Most of all, take yourself seriously. That means always be willing to step back and reflect on or learn from the discouraging signals. In other words, the “no’s” or passes are trying to teach you something. Be strong, be brave. Listen and learn, and then make your work better.”

A picture button for book beginnings at Rose City Reader

You might also like to visit Gilion, over at ‘Rose City Reader‘, where you can share links to the book beginnings from her own reading schedule and that of many of our fellow bloggers. There are always plenty of new authors and titles to be discovered.

Written by

I can’t remember a time, even as a child, when I haven’t been passionate about books and reading.
I began blogging, when I realised just how many other people out there shared my passion for the written word and I have been continually amazed at the wealth of books that are available and the amount of great new friends I have made, from literally 'The Four Corners Of The World'.

View all articles
Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  • I felt my emotions rising as I recalled the time when the men controlled the finances in a family and treated the women like children. It wasn’t that long ago that we still had remnants of those attitudes and behaviors.

    I would love to find out how Julia resolves her issues. Thanks for sharing, and here’s mine: ”BIG SUMMER”

    • Hi Lorraine,

      I think there are still some parts of my country, where those outdated attitudes still prevail, although I hasten to add, that they are very much in the minority now!

      I really like the sound of this series (book #2 is due out soon).

      It turns out that Julia is very much the amateur sleuth, as well as being a socialite who likes to redress the social mores of her time, and booklover – what’s not to love?

      I think this book would suit you down to the ground 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope that you are keeping safe and well 🙂

  • Yes, I would certainly read the book, I already feel quite annoyed that she hasn’t access to her own money. And I like the reason why she needs it. You always bring such interesting books to our notice, Yvonne. Thank you!

    • Hi Cath,

      I had a feeling this series might appeal to you – if you check on Goodreads you will see that book #2 is out soon and has a different social history wrongdoing as its underlying backstory – It almost falls into the realms of your penchant for ‘vintage crime’, although written by a modern author.

      The fact that Julia is very much a bibliophile is also another appealing factor about the books!

      I got to know about this one, courtesy of the publicist ‘Little Bird Publicity’, with whom I have worked on several previous campaigns. I have to admit that this one has been kicking around in my TBR pile for some time now, as it was never part of an organised Blog Tour and I was therefore under no pressure to complete a post. A very sad and lame excuse I know, and I have apologised to all parties already!

      I really liked your tweet about your latest jigsaw – it looks really amazing and you made it up so quickly!

      Have a good weekend (whatever one of those is) and Stay Safe 🙂

    • Hi Konna,

      Thanks for stopping by today, it is lovely to ‘meet’ you for the first time. I look forward to and greatly appreciate, any comments you leave.

      I can see where you are coming from with your noir-ish thoughts about those opening lines, however my initial thoughts were more along the lines of vintage crime fiction, with an added emphasis on social issues from the times.

      I love that two people can see so many different aspects and nuances about a story, which is why I really find reviewing a little subjective, as everyone’s take on a book can be so different, with each person taking away a unique experience from having read it.

      I wasn’t quite sure about adding this one to my TBR list, but the more I talk about it, the more I am looking forward to reading it.

      Have a peaceful weekend and Stay Safe 🙂

  • It certainly gets off to an interesting start. I spent some years working in the Trusts & Estates department of a bank as well as having some personal experience in the field, so I certainly understand the banker’s viewpoint. However, what I have to wonder is why, if she’s only weeks away from the birthday that would dissolve the trust, she can’t wait that short time?

    I hope you enjoy it, Yvonne! I believe I’d be willing to read it. 🙂

    • The fact that Philip is her estranged half brother and he is challenging her inheritance, makes this all the more galling a scenario.

      Julia is either on a very tight deadline to set up her business, or she has already committed money she doesn’t yet have and now her debts are being called in. Either way, it doesn’t sound good for her.

      Book two in the series was available on an auto approved ‘read it now’ button over at NetGalley, so I bagged my copy today. This one deals with yet another social issue of the times and gives Julia another mystery to solve.

      Maybe not my usual psychological thriller, but I have a feeling I’m going to enjoy the series.

      I too, used to work for a bank, although not in the same capacity as yourself. I was in what was then Cheque Clearing, where I supervised a team who returned cheques unpaid and liaised with internal affairs and the police over fraudulent cheque transactions. It was a good job and because of the continual failure of the then rather clunky computer systems (late 1980s), I worked quite long hours to meet the ‘third day’ banking rules and made more in overtime payments than I did in salary!

      Ah! Those were the days 🙂

    • Hi Anne,

      The two books in the series so far, do seem to have storylines which not only have a crime story in them, but also have quite strong links with some of the social history wrongs of the times, so I am quite keen to get started on them.

      Thanks for stopping by and Stay Safe 🙂

Written by Yvonne