This was a fun story for a number of reasons. First, I read it in less than two days because I kept wanting to know when they would change their minds. The anticipation kept me reading. Plus, I adored the hero. Charlotte was a bit of a twit at times and quite annoying, but she had her tender side, too...when she allowed someone to see it. Alex was so patient I wanted to give him a medal for that. He was also a good man like her father noted. I thought their scheme made sense at first, but I couldn't help admiring Alex's strength and heroism at times. He simply couldn't help being a gentleman.
My favorite scene was the one where they stumble upon the cabin. I was like...finally, only to have the inevitable deferred again. Of course, when the moment passed there were second thoughts...again. But I suppose it was best for a decision to be made with one's wits about them and being in Alex's arms would make any woman forget those wits. At least, that's how I felt. She never did find out about who he "almost" married. I wonder if that will come out in a future book.
I normally find stories with strong-willed and stubborn women a bit unappealing and unrealistic, but for some reason this story and the way the author wrote the character made me smile because it was handled in such a humorous fashion. I enjoyed her clumsy antics and crazy ideas. I enjoyed the historical tie-in to Buffalo Bill Cody as well. I thought it was funny how Charlotte was always trying to outwit or best her "competition" and that made the story shine. She was spunky and fun, and I could see how Alex would be intrigued by her. When she responded to his kisses, it made me smile. She simply didn't know what to say. They overpowered her so much that she lost some of that snark and wit. I liked that he had such an influence on her mood that he could soften her up with a gentle touch or heated kiss. Overall, this was a fun historical romance and I enjoyed it very much!
The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck is the story (obviously) of Charlotte Beck, an only child who was English-born and American-raised, and the grand-daughter of an Earl. At seventeen, she is keen to take her place in society, and wants to attend college to study mathematics so that she can prove to her father that she can work in the family business (very unusual for 1887). At her unofficial debut into proper London society, she meets Martin Hambly, the stargazing heir to an earldom. Their relationship gets off to a rocky start (she literally falls into his arms, while he is actually Viscount Hambly, Martin's twin brother), and common interests keep bringing them together until they find themselves engaged to be married.
I enjoy reading romance novels with the marriage of convenience plot device - two people forced to marry through a twist in circumstances beyond their control, who come to love each other as they work together to overcome some common obstacle. Janette Oke's Love Comes Softly is probably the best known of the genre in Christian romance, but many authors have successfully used a variation on the theme to produce an enjoyable novel with likeable characters that you want to get their happily-ever-after. The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck is not one of these books. Why not?
Firstly, the marriage of convenience only occurs two-thirds of the way through the book, after the couple have had a four-year engagement. Admittedly, they are still virtual strangers at that point, having ignored each other for the entire period of their betrothal. Secondly, no matter how much I tried, I just could not like the heroine. She came across as intelligent, but headstrong and troublesome to the point of being irritating. Thirdly, this is supposed to be Christian romance, but the Ã¢â¬ËChristian' was so minor as to be almost an afterthought. Finally, there were a couple of minor plot points that were only raised at the very end of the novel and were then explained away very briefly, yet they seemed key to the overall resolution. As a result, the conclusion was not altogether believable, because if these plot points were important, they should have been introduced earlier.
This is the final book in Kathleen Y'Barbo's Women of the West series, and really needs to be read in sequence. As the author says in her Acknowledgements at the conclusion of the novel, Charlotte Beck first featured as "an impish child in The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper, and then as a young lady longing for adulthood in Anna and the Hired Gun". Perhaps if I had read these first, I would have had an understanding of Charlotte's background and issues, and would not have got confused at certain points in the story. Perhaps, too, I would have found her a more likeable heroine. As it was, I found the book confusing and the heroine annoying.
If you read and enjoyed the first two books in this series, you will probably enjoy The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck. Otherwise, I would advise you either start at the beginning of the series, or ignore this altogether.
Thanks to Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing for providing a free ebook to review.
Love hysterical historicals? Charlotte Beck, a wealthy American's daughter, is in London as a debutante, but her Wild West ways aren't winning her any points. When she falls out of a window and lands-literally-in Alex Hambly's arms on the balcony below, she steals Alex's line and claims she'd just stepped out to view a comet in the night sky.
Alex is an astronomer who wants to build a observatory in Colorado. His family is also in huge debt and about to lose everything. The only answer (according to the family accountant) is for Alex to marry money, and he's not so keen on that idea.
When Charlotte's father sees the sparks flying between his daughter and Alex, he makes them both an offer. If they marry each other, Alex's family's financial difficulties will be over, and Charlotte may attend college as she fervently desires. Both rebel against the plan but their needs win out. They privately agree to annul the marriage as soon as possible.
What happens when they fall in love? (Because you know they will!)
The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck features a charming, willful heroine and a hero who can give as good as he gets. The scrapes that Charlotte can get into boggle the mind and caused quite a few snickers while I was reading. In some ways this novel reminded me of the Georgette Heyer Regency novels I used to read, other than part of this novel takes place in Colorado, and Heyer never crossed the Atlantic with her books (just the English Channel). At any rate, if you enjoy a historical romp, you'll love this novel.
The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck By Kathleen Y'Barbo
There are two books previous to this one in The Women of the West series: The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper and the next is Anna Finch and the Hired Gun.
Our story begins in England. Charlotte is with her step-mother and they are staying with her grandfather so she can be introduced into London society. Charlotte has grown up in Colorado around men like William Cody and his Wild West shows. At her first formal outing Charlotte runs through her mind everything Miss Pence has taught her. Things like walking as if an egg were on her head and focusing straight ahead while descending stairs.
She sees a young man staring at her while she focuses on the fireplace mantel, she later finds this annoying man is the son of her hosts, The Hambly's. When she sneaks out a window to get some fresh air she falls into the arms of Viscount Alexander Hambly, the man from the fireplace. Their relationship only goes downhill from that point.
Alex only wants to study the stars and enjoy his quiet life. But that is not to be. He must cover for his brother, Martin, who is the true heir. They had both been in the war but Martin did not come out unscathed. And when the spitfire from America enters the picture his peace and quiet is gone, he gets injured more often and things get broken. Not to mention fires starting in odd spots. Charlotte Beck is a menace.
Charlotte is called back to America by her dad after she continues to put black marks on the family name in England. The girl just can't seem to stay out of trouble. When Alex also arrives in Colorado and her father sees how well he handles Charlotte, Daniel Beck sees the only man who could ever marry is daughter. Both of them disagree. The problem is that Alex needs money to repair the family holdings and pay for the death taxes since his father passed. An agreement is made between the three of them and after four years when she is suppose to marry, Charlotte decides on another agreement to get out of it. Instead of trusting in God, she only wants to trust her own leading. What secret has Charlotte running from both God and love?