Monday, December 5, 2011

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck - Kathleen Y'Barbo

The title "The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck" grabbed me as being quirky and creative.  The cover art and title made me think I would enjoy this light, fun read.  I was pleasantly surprised to learn that it had much more depth.  A plus was that the chemistry between the two main characters was believeable.  As a former "Heartsong," "Love Inspired," and "Romance Club" writer, this is what Kathleen Y'Barbo does best.  But don't think that this is simply a longer version of a dime store novel, because it's not.
I'll let you in on a secret... I didn't actually know that it was the third in a series until just now when I was doing research on the author.  If you had asked me just minutes ago, I would have told you it was a stand alone novel.    The first book in the series is "the Secret Life of Eugenia Cooper" and the second is "Anna Finch and the Hired Gun."  Both look like excellent novels, and I will probably take time to read them.  I'm glad I didn't find out until just now, because normally I will wait to read a book if I know there are others that come before it in a series which I have not previously read.  Never once did I feel like I was missing information or backstory. 
The author did a fantastic job of grabbing my attention from the very first page.  I fell in love with all the characters, and felt like everyone got the right amount of page space.  The plot was good, although not intricate, and kept moving.  I thought it was very creative of the author to split the book into two time periods.  I didn't see that coming, and I love to be surprised. 
My only criticism of the novel is that the character of Miss Pence seemed superficial and slightly out of place with the tone of the rest of the book.  She was clearly a fictional character.  I wish that the author had instead included similar quotes from actual people who lived and breathed during that era.  A few true historical quotes is a nice accent to an otherwise fictional book.  This way, the same goal that Miss Pence served could have been met in a more interesting and less superficial way.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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