Monday, July 29, 2013

A Most Peculiar Circumstance - A Book Review

From the Back: Miss Arabella Beckett, defender of the downtrodden women of America, is returning from her travels in support of the women's suffrage movement when she suddenly finds herself in a spot of trouble.  Arabella, always loath to accept help, is particularly reluctant to receive assistance from the arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor who shows up just in time.  Private investigator extraordinaire Mr. Theodore Wilder is on an assignment that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country.  When he finally locates Hamilton's sister, and she turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he's at his wit's end.  Much to their chagrin, Theodore and Arabella's paths continue to cross when they return to New York.  When the trouble Arabella accidentally stirred up in her travels follows her home and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love.

Synopsis: Arabella Beckett is an independent woman out to change the world - or at least women's place in the world.  Her travels take her all across the country and in one stop she finds herself in jail - arrested in a bit of a misunderstanding while trying to rescue another woman from two traffickers.  Theodore Wilder is a private investigator who's been hired to find Arabella and bring her home in time for her brother's wedding.   Theodore manages to show up in time to bail Arabella out of jail and they make their way back to New York City.  Once back in New York, Arabella continues her women's suffrage work, getting into even more sensitive situations and requiring Theodore's help to disentangle her from trouble.  Arabella's risk-taking ends with her kidnapped and Theodore leading the way to find her and bring her home safely.

My Review:  I wasn't familiar with Jen Turano's work but I was intrigued by the subject matter and I could see a little of myself in Arabella's character.  The story is your standard girl-meets-boy fare but with the added twists of women's suffrage and female trafficking (back before that's what it was labeled).  It was refreshing to have a character in the late 1800's who spouted such progressive ideals in a novel.  I hated that she still ended up "needing to be rescued" but that's typical for that time period.  This is a cute story and you could see Arabella's character growing and changing as the novel progressed.  I liked Theodore's character too - he was your typical hero but at least tried to understand Arabella's point of view.  Turano has written a simple love story with a bit of mystery twist to it.  The book moves along quite quickly - I think I finished it in a single day (I was on vacation though).  This is definitely an author I'll be checking out again.

Score:  3.5 bookmarks out of 5.

Note: Bethany House Publishers gave me a free copy of this book in exchange for my fair and honest review.

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