Saturday, June 25, 2011

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck review

Set in the late 1800s, The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo is a little bit period piece, a little bit love story. The story opens with Charlotte about to make her unofficial debut into proper society escorted by none other than "Buffalo Bill" a friend of the family. It is at this event that she first meets Alex Hambly and he rescues her.

The book shares the story of Charlotte, her coming of age, her desire to be an educated woman and her need to hold a position of importance in her family's business. Her dad does not believe she is ready for any of this and doesn't agree that she needs to get a college degree. She is used to getting her way and isn't ready to take no for an answer. She is a spunky and spirited young woman, who seems to have a knack for causing trouble for herself and others.

Along the way, she continues to find herself crossing paths with Viscount Alex Hambly. We see him rescue her, ask her to stay away, lose a race, nearly get arrested and more when they cross paths. As the story progresses, he learns that his family property is not secure and that they are in financial trouble.

Finally, her father strikes an agreement with her and Alex, that has them both getting something that they want, in exchange for something that neither of them believes that they want. Charlotte gets to go to school, Alex can save his family from financial ruin, but for this they agree to marry one another in four years, when her education is complete.

The book crosses the sea, set in both London and in Colorado. Watching the interaction of Charlotte and Alex reminded me a little of the relationship between Kate and Doug in the movie The Cutting Edge. At first, neither seems to be interested in the other, but then as they spend time together, Alex starts to realize that he has feelings for her.

The book was very enjoyable and I read it over the course of three days. As with many books, as I read more, I wanted to keep reading more. I found myself laughing aloud as I was reading the story, as the author shared the antics that Charlotte was up to. I found myself wooed by the sweetness and handsomeness of Alex.

The book is fairly well written, but there were a few things that seemed confusing to me and/or felt unanswered relative to the history of the relationship between the Hambly family and the Beck family and the story behind Charlotte's mother. Reading the back of the book, I learned that this is the third book in the Women of the West series and now, I'm wondering if these stories would have been clearer to me if I had read the first two books. Still, even without understanding these two things, I don't feel like it "hurt" the story that I read - it just might have been more complete with this background.

I enjoyed the historic setting of the book. To me, there is something neat about looking into the lives of people in a time unlike our own and realizing the similarities. Two of my favorite series as a child were set in a historic time frame - The Little House on the Prairie series and the Anne of Green Gables series.

The book was a quick and easy read. It was the first that I read by Kathleen Y'Barbo and based on this experience, I would like to check out more books by her.

No compensation was received for this post. I received a complimentary copy of this book through Blogging for Books, that I might read it and share my perspective.