The Fortune

(Critical Survey of Contemporary Fiction)

Alexa Walden, the heroine of Michael Korda’s new novel, soon to be a television mini-series, most definitely qualifies for the appellation “poor little rich girl.” Elizabeth Alexandra Walden, the daughter of an Illinois dairy farmer, had no intention of remaining in the small town of her youth, or of following her mother into a lifetime of pregnancy and constant labor. In consequence, soon after graduation she left for the big city and ultimately found herself in New York. Walden anticipated a career as a model, but despite her obvious beauty she was unsuccessful and thus drifted into a position as assistant to Simon Wolff, a prosperous art dealer and entrepreneur.

It is in this connection that Alexa meets and is courted by Arthur Aldon Bannerman. Bannerman, the heir and administrator of a massive family fortune, finds that, much to his surprise, the fact that he is forty years Alexa’s senior is not an effective barrier to his growing infatuation. Alexa is equally attracted to Arthur --for his own qualities, not simply for his wealth.

All might have lived happily ever after, but Arthur’s death within hours of their secret marriage places Alexa in imminent peril. On the one hand she must win the respect and consent of Arthur’s family, not only as an individual, but in support of his fervent wishes with respect to the disposition of the vast family fortune. At the same time, she must withstand the attacks of her husband’s eldest...

(The entire section is 425 words.)