In The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck: a Novel by Kathleen Y'Barbo, Charlotte Beck is a headstrong, independent, often immature only child born in a time when women are suppose to get married, have children, and tend to family responsibilities. This creates numerous collision points with her family and society in which she must sometimes strike a few bargains to achieve her goals. At first, Charlotte was hard for me to like because of her selfish attitudes. As I got into the book, it was evident that many of her escapades may have been motivated by selfish desires, but they also portray her as person struggling to find her way. I enjoyed the foreshadowing provided by the quotes by Miss Pence, Charlotte's etiquette teacher, at the beginning of each chapter.
The book is an easy, fun read. There isn't really a deep spiritual content, but the importance of a relationship with Christ is important to Charlotte's father as he "interviews" her prospective husband. This questioning prompts the young man to examine his faith, and isn't that what we all need to do daily? The discussions some of the characters have about arranged marriages, I feel, gave an accurate portrayal of some of the arranged marriages from the historical old west. Although this is the third in "The Women of the West" series, it doesn't require knowledge of the first two stories to understand.
I received The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck: a Novel for free from Multnomah Publishing in exchange for my honest review.
I just finished reading "The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck" and am more than happy to recommend it to you! Charlotte is a surprising and unique character. Her personality keeps the reader turning pages to see just what she'll come up with next. Alex Hambly, the viscount chosen by her father to be her groom, is the only person on the planet able to keep up with her rather than cower in fear. Of course, this is why her father chose him as Charlotte's perfect matchÃ¢â¬âthe question is: will the couple realize that Charlotte's father is pretty smart or will they find a way to have their inconvenient marriage annulled?
Charlotte and Alex don't actually marry until the book is well underway. How Charlotte's father manages to arrange this marriage despite their objections is more than half the fun of the book.
The story is set in Colorado and London in the late 1800's. Buffalo Bill Cody is a semi-significant character. The traditions of England's and America's social elite at the time are subtly explained and explored. Author Kathleen Y'Barbo chose an intriguing setting for this historical fiction novel.
And, though Christianity doesn't appear in the book until more than halfway through, the message is there. Y'Barbo doesn't hit readers over the head with it, but weaves it in naturally.
I had fun reading this lighthearted book! Thank you, Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers, for sending a complimentary copy my way in exchange for this honest review.
The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck is the third and last book in Kathleen Y'Barbo's "The Women of the West" series. Since these are stand-alone companion volumes I didn't feel I missed too much by not reading the first two books. The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck, like the others, is a Christian historical novel set in the old west.
Have you ever heard the phrase: "damned with faint praise"? Unfortunately that's what I'm about to do here. While I don't feel the novel was a complete waste of my time I just couldn't get attached to the characters. I found Charlotte Beck annoying and immature, although the author at one point hinted that her immaturity was just "for show" she never brought that plot point to fruition. The hero of the story was noble and self-sacrificing and didn't annoy me as much as Charlotte and quite possibly under different circumstances could have been a decent hero.
I also disliked the father constantly protesting that he loved Charlotte while continuing to force her into a marriage she didn't want. He assured her, and us, over and over that it was in her best interests since she was too immature and impulsive to be trusted otherwise. Me thinks he doth protesteth too much! An underlying theme throughout the book is the mystery surrounding Charlotte's mother and this mystery has much to do with Charlotte's behavior. I found it frustrating that the author didn't clue at least the stepmother in to this fact. I can understand that her father would be blind to it because of his own issues with the past but Charlotte's supposedly" on the ball" stepmother not once mentioned to anyone that maybe that was the root of everything.
Then in the last two chapters everything is rushed to the inevitably happy conclusion and all is well and everything is forgiven. I felt that after the prolonged buildup about Charlotte's immaturity and her dislike for the marriage and the man the book could have done with a couple more chapters allowing for more development of her mature character and her self-awareness of what her real issue was.
In conclusion, not a bad book, just not one that I found myself connecting with or wanting to add to my library.
I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group does not require a positive review. All opinions expressed in this review are my own.
I received a copy of this book for free from the publisher for review purposes, but my opinion of the book is just that, mine. I was not paid or coerced or forced to give this book a favorable review. :-)
Having said that...just the title made me want to read it. I mean, really. Many marriages back "in the day" were marriages of convenience and Ms. Y'Barbo gets my attention immediately by calling this marriage INCONVENIENT.
So I read it and enjoyed it, immensely. We have seen Charlotte Beck in previous books by Ms.Y'Barbo ("The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper" and "Anna Finch and the Hired Gun"). Charlotte is feisty and opinionated and born before her time. I love her zest for life, which tends to get her in trouble. She is a rider, and shooter, and all-around accomplished woman, which I also liked. You just have to laugh at her antics.
I personally think this would make an awesome movie. Thank you Ms. Y'Barbo for such a wonderful romantic comedy that I could "see" as I read.
This was an absolutely delightful book and truly worth the read. The story truly captured my attention from the first page. Ms. Y'arbo brought the two main characters, Charlotte Beck and Alex Hamby, to life within the pages. The heroine, Charlotte, captured my attention as an impetuous, loving, and strong-willed young women. I enjoyed her plots and plans within the book--including her penchant for sliding down the banister in homes. The hero, Alex Hamby is a solid and dashing gentleman--with a strong sense of character and duty. Although he loves star gazing and astronomy--he cannot deny how Charlotte Beck totally captures his attention. She literally fell into his arms--at their first meeting. If the two main characters are not enough to keep you wondering what will happen next. Then the wise words from the "renowed" Ms. Pence will keep you entertained. For example Ms. Pence recommends, "The only interest a lady should take in business is to determine before marriage the number of zeroes in a potential husband's bank account." It is ironic because Charlotte and Alex are manuevered into an arranged marriage by her father--unto which they both will benefit. It is ironic that the groom is penniless and the bride only wants to succeed in the business world.
In addition to the entertaining scenes in this book, there is an underlying issue addressed that any Christian must determine whose will is important--our own or the Lord's. I am reminded of this scripture,
"A man's heart deviseth his way, but the Lord directs his steps." Proverbs 16:9
Truly, the Lord keeps directing these two characters back to each other's lives and arms--until they must take a look at their unspoken fears and love for each other.
This review has been a pleasure to write. The book has been a pleasure to read, and I give my honest opinion.