Saturday, August 10, 2013

"Flora's Wish" by Kathleen Y'Barbo

Kathleen Y'Barbo starts off her new series The Secret Lives of Will Tucker with a delightful romp up and down the Mississippi in her novel Flora's Wish.  Suffering from an errant fiancé whose job supposedly keeps interfering with the wedding plans, Fatal Flora (of the now five fiancés, assuming she can keep this one alive, unlike the previous four) finds herself an object of intense suspicion by Lucas McMinn, a Pinkerton agent out to capture the conman Will Tucker - Flora's current fiancé.  Under Lucas' custody and practically shackled to the man, Flora and the agent pursue Will Tucker from Natchez to New Orleans and back, one to prove his innocence, the other to prove his guilt.
book title front

Flora really comes up with a doozy of a plan to save her family home from passing on to an irresponsible relative.  Since she has to marry and produce an heir before her cousin turns thirty, she is in rather dire straits, given that she has had four fiancés perish before reaching the altar.   In order to make it happen, she makes a contract with a man whom she scarcely knows and plans to spring the marriage on her family fait accompli.  Thankfully for her, God has a significantly better plan, even if she has to be arrested, jailed, and basically held captive first to work it out.  While her love of her family is commendable - and she's performing this mad scheme for them, not herself - not even they approve of the lengths to which she goes to preserve their lives for them. 

Flora's predicament is typical to anyone who barges ahead without consulting God first - a mess.  Just recently I similarly prayed for something, assumed automatically that a circumstance the following day was a direct result, and then went on with my own plans without further checking to see if this really was God's plan.  Was it?  Nope.  Thankfully my embarrassment is limited to myself, not half of southern society (all right, not even Flora's is quite that bad, but she comes mighty close to ruining her own happiness and that of her family, who genuinely care if she makes a good, loving match).  So while many of us do not make such disastrous life decisions as Flora, it is certainly not uncommon to rush ahead without God's approval. 

Flora's Wish is a delightfully humorous tale and a cute love story.  Flora and Lucas have a great many sparring matches, playing off each other really well and sparking great entertainment for the reader.  The secondary characters are as fun as the main - Grandmamma is a spectacular lady (quite possibly my favorite character), and even the hotel staff have personality.  The steampunk aspect - little inventions our hero uses that haven't officially been invented yet (or at least patented) - are a fun touch; maybe it does not make it more believable, but it heightens the adventure and adds a dash of romanticism. 

It's cute and a lot of fun; not too deep, but enjoyable.  I look forward to the installment of Will Tucker's schemes.  Four out of five stars

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