Series: The Scorpio Series #1
Published by: Lansen Publishing on September 15, 2011
Genre: Historical Fiction
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Set in New York and Paris amid the glamorous and competitive worlds of art and real estate, Scorpio Rising takes the reader from the late 1940s to the 1960s through the tumultuous lives of its heroes.
There is Alex Ivanov, the son of a Russian immigrant and part-time prostitute. He yearns to escape his sordid life and achieve fame and fortune. His dreams of becoming a world-class builder are met with countless obstacles, yet he perseveres in the hope of someday receiving the recognition he craves.
Half a world away, Brigitte Dartois is an abused teenager who runs into the arms of a benefactor with an agenda all his own. When she finds out that her boss has an ulterior motive, she flees again, determined to earn her living through her art. This career brings her fame, but also the unwanted attention of her early abuser.
Monique Domovitch's debut novel, Scorpio Rising, is a compelling tale filled with finely etched characters and a superb understanding of the power of ambition. Scorpio Rising promises to resonate with all who once had a dream.
Scorpio Rising by Monique Domovitch
This is an incredibly fast-paced book that tells the story of Alex Ivanov and Brigitte Dartois — two different people in two different parts of the world. They both start out with rough lives, but constantly work hard and their ambitions pay off. Throughout the story, we see these two characters’ lives change and evolve, and finally intertwine.
I don’t normally read books that are this fast-paced. A few hundred pages covers a time span of probably over 10 years. I was a little iffy at first, but soon realized that the time frame made this book very intriguing and difficult to put down! I read the entire thing in one sitting! There’s so much going on that there’s never a dull moment and you’re always eager for more.
I wasn’t a huge fan of Alex because of his attitude towards women. To be fair, he had a tough start to life that basically taught him women could be used for sex. That resulted in him for the most part seeing women as a way to “fulfil his sexual needs.” However, there were two characters I absolutely LOVED!!
Brigitte, of course. She’s the amazing, strong, incredibly likeable main woman of the story. I completely admire the fact that she never lets anything bring her down. She experienced some true horrors in her life but she never let them consume her. At the beginning of the book, her mom kicks her out of her home when she’s only a young teenager. That alone would probably destroy most young girls. But Brigitte knows she has to do something about it, so she’s immediately out there looking for a job.
Later in life, Brigitte makes her way in the world by becoming an artist and trying to sell her paintings in Paris. As a bit of an artist myself, I loved reading about this! It was fascinating to see Brigitte improve her technique, live the life of a “starving artist,” and finally start to make a name for herself.
My second favourite character is Anne Turner. I love her, but I hate her. She’s a manipulative gold digger. She wants to live a life of riches and to do that, she decides she has to find and marry a rich man. She uses one man after the other, satisfying her need for luxury, until she finally sets her sights as high as they can go: William Brandon, the owner of the empire that is William Brandon & Company. She spends two years putting her plan in motion, from landing a job at his company, to seducing him and becoming his mistress, to making sure his wife finds out about the affair to break the mup, etc. She does everything she can to manipulate Brandon into giving her a ring. Let’s just say… it was SO INCREDIBLY SATISFYING to see her get what she deserves. 😉
I did have two pretty big issues with the book though.
First, Alex enters into a very competitive “Architecture and Design International Contest.” He puts a lot of time and effort into this competition, and ultimately it’s what brings him and Brigitte together. I found myself getting really excited about the competition, hoping that Alex would somehow win, only to have the whole thing stop abruptly. From practically page 1, Alex’s ambitions were all about becoming a successful architect, so it was disappointing to see that suddenly cut short. I’m sure he’ll find another way to succeed in book 2, but this was a really interesting part of Scorpio Rising that I would have liked to see more of!
Second, is Alex and Brigitte’s relationship. I guess this is due to the fast-paced nature of the book, but it simply happened way too quickly. Their relationship felt like a combination between insta-love and a relationship of convenience. I also felt like we needed to see more growth from Alex. Previously, he had basically been all about one night stands. He had a whole system worked out where he could meet a girl, make her fall for him, sleep with her by the third date, and then break it off with her. Suddenly with Brigitte, everything is different, but I didn’t quite understand why Alex suddenly changed, and why he suddenly wanted a ‘real’ relationship.
But overall, this was a very enjoyable read. You can easily get through it in one sitting! It’s fascinating to watch the two characters grow up and try to make their dreams realities. The lives of all the characters intertwine so beautifully. One character will pop in and then leave, and you assume that will be the end of it.. only to later realize that the character still plays a very important role.
A word of caution: this book does end on an insane cliffhanger! You may want to have the second book, The Sting of the Scorpio already on hand!