This was a wonderful book that exactly suited my reading appetite last weekend. Nancy Moser is a gifted author, and her characters are easy to love and care about. Love her plot twists and surprises - people and situations are not always what they seem! And this book comes with a plethora of interesting Italian proverbs that I intend to copy out and memorize. I can see several parallels between this book and her latest novel, The Pattern Artist (which I read first). "Talented young women overcoming social and economic hurdles, finding love and faith in the process. Despicable villains and helpful employers included." Despite the similarities, I enjoyed this book enough to start looking for another Moser volume immediately.
After having read the five-star reviews, this book was a disappointment! Knowing this author was a Christie Award winner really peaked my interest in reading her work for the first time! It was okay but is considerably less than I expected! It wasn't as spiritually deep as I was prepared for and the themes shallow. To me it is is disjointed in hopping from character to character without smooth transition! I was prepared for more! I could recommend this book but not enthusiastically!
Nancy Moser has penned a truly enjoyable read, a tale rich with unconventional characters trying to make their way in a society with clear dividing lines between the haves and have-nots. In Lucy Scarpelli, Moser has created a character that will inspire women of all ages as she refuses to let circumstances define her future and instead lives with courage and determination. She is rendered in sharp contrast to high-born Rowena, who seems destined to follow the path others have set for her, but who manages to grow throughout the story in a way that contributes to a satisfying conclusion. The characters were beautifully developed and their unique stories skillfully woven together.
Moser writes with beautiful prose, and yet the amount of detail was just right as the book flew by and was difficult to put down, with some unexpected surprises. I have to admit that I never grow tired of reading historical novels of people born to poverty who, through their determination and God's grace, manage to rise above their humble beginnings. And, though I would not seek out a purely romantic novel, I enjoyed watching these characters find love in unexpected places and in spite of social mores that forbade that love. I do wonder if, in reality, love really would have conquered all, including greed or the promise of financial security, as is portrayed in this novel. But I am a sucker for a happy ending, so I chose to put aside such cynical thoughts and just enjoy the story that Moser so expertly tells!
I highly recommend this novel for those who enjoy historical fiction. I always look forward to reading a book by Nancy Moser, and this one is absolutely another winner. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
My sincerest thanks to the publisher, Bethany House, who provided a copy of this book for the purposes of this unbiased review.