Monday, June 27, 2011

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y'Barbo

From the WaterBrook Press web site:

Unlikely romance is sometimes just an inconvenient marriage away

Charlotte Beck may be entering adulthood, but she can’t seem to keep to her stubborn, independent spirit from bucking social protocol. Fed up with her behavior, Charlotte’s father Daniel pressures her to settle into a nice marriage despite knowing she is set on going to college. Then Daniel sees Charlotte with the handsome but annoying English astronomer Alex Hambly, and everything changes.

Though Alex and Charlotte can barely stand one another, Daniel offers them a deal they can’t refuse: if they agree to marry, he will save Alex’s family from financial ruin and grant Charlotte the freedom to go to college. Reluctantly the couple agrees, but in private they plot to annul the marriage as soon as possible.

But when Alex’s feelings change and he refuses to dissolve their contract, will Charlotte find a way out of her vows? Or will she discover that maybe this marriage isn’t so inconvenient after all?

This book started really slowly for me.  I had to restart reading it four times because as much as I wanted to love it, I couldn’t get into it.  It took about 75 pages and nine chapters for it to draw my attention.  I can’t really put my finger on why I wasn’t drawn to it.  To be fair, I did enjoy the middle of the story, but the beginning and the ending were a little flat.  There was almost no mention of faith and Christianity and when there was, it seemed as if it was randomly thrown in.  The first half of the book takes place before the marriage.  Then, the reader is fast-forwarded to four years later.  I would like to have seen how the characters changed and developed during those skipped-over years and what their lives had been like.

The main characters, Charlotte and Alex, enter into a marriage based on a lie and continue to deceive their friends and family.  And, as usually happens, more lies must be told to support the initial lie.  Eventually, they realize that the people that they are lying the most to are themselves.

There were many comical scenes and times of clever, funny conversation between Charlotte and Alex, and the historical settings were a plus. One particularly enjoyable scene worth mentioning occurred when Charlotte backed too close to the fire place and her bustle caught on fire. Alex has to react quickly and grabs a pillow and smacks her on the backside to put the fire out. Of course, Charlotte is oblivious to the fire and is mortified by his actions. Witty banter and verbal sparring ensues.

If you’re looking for a clean romance story with very little ‘religious’ content, you might like this. Don’t take my word for it, though - read a segment of it here:
The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck (Chapter 1 Excerpt)

 But, if you’re looking for a Christian romance with characters deeply founded in their faith, this probably isn’t the one for you. I give this book a 3 out of 5.

I received a complimentary copy of this book from WaterBrook Press  through their Blogging for Books book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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