Monday, 20 June 2011

Calamity Jane Strikes Again

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck is a heartfelt, funny and romantic novel. Whilst part of a trilogy it can be read as a stand alone novel.

Charlotte Beck is a feisty beautiful and intelligent woman who is determined not to get married but rather educate herself (practically unheard of in the 1800s) so that she can join her father's business as a legitimate business woman.

Torn between following becoming a lady and doing what she wants (which sometimes means acting in quite an unladylike manner) lends her to falling (quite literally) into the arms of one Viscount Alex Hambly.

From that point on ensues a battle of wills and wits between Charlotte, Alex and her father.

Knowing that Charlotte is reluctant to marry, her father strikes a bargain with his daughter that she will study; and after those four years join the company and marry...marry Viscount Hambly. Charlotte agrees but with every intent in not going through with the marriage. The viscount feels the same way in the beginning, but his feelings change and even though they do marry, he refuses to have the marriage annulled. What will/can Charlotte do to get out of this predicament??

Whilst I enjoy the odd romantic novel, I've not been drawn to historical romances. Y'barbo has "remained true to actual historical events" with a touch of poetic license. But despite my lack of interest in this genre, I really enjoyed reading this novel. The humor throughout is brilliant. In some places subtle, yet always there. And whilst the romance that is slowly building between the two main characters almost takes a back seat, it's beautifully developing. There is so much life in Charlotte that I couldn't help but think of 'Calamity Jane' - the innocence, the need to show that she can be part of a man's world and the tenacity to achieve it all.

At the beginning of each chapter, there is a reference point to Miss Pence - Charlotte's etiquette 'coach'. For example: "A lady does not let love, either the lack of it or its presence, hinder her from considering a proper and well-placed marriage." This added to the richness of Charlotte's character and indication of what the chapter entailed (to a point) and also, again, the humor, simply because, try as she might Charlotte didn't always listen because she needed to have her own way!

Whatever your likes and dislikes about romance, I'd recommend this novel simply because it's funny and very well written, with in-depth characters that you can't help but like and sympathise and laugh along with.

Read the first chapter at Kathleen Ybarbo's site:

I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review, the opinions expressed are my own.

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