In the third novel of her Ladies of Distinction series, Jen Turano focuses on the unlucky-in-love Felicia Murdock and the dashing, mysterious Grayson Sumner, Lord Sefton. When the minister Felicia had hoped to marry weds another, Felicia gives up on the pious, quiet facade she has built up over the years hoping to attract the preacher, along with a poor fashion sense cultivated to please him. Grayson, trapped in her company by scheming friends and mothers, suddenly finds himself quite attracted to her, but given his dark past, he feels a sweet, charming girl like her should not be tainted by the likes of him. Unfortunately, in spite of his efforts to protect her, Grayson's past catches up with him and puts her in the danger he was trying to avoid. Will they survive their talent for attracting trouble long enough to fall in love?
Having read Turano's previous novels in the series, I was expecting another amusing story, but this one gave my abs a workout - I laughed so hard, several different times in the book, that it was verging on painful. Hats off to the author for such talented writing!
There are some definite trends between the three novels of this series, but the author deals with them in a creative way by allowing the characters to acknowledge the trends and (occasionally) learn from them from book to book. Which makes me wonder if in the fourth book they will get it right or not . . . So in some sense these novels are a little formulaic, but it works for the series - it's part of what makes them so delightful.
Like Eliza and Arabella, Felicia is spunky, lively, and not pinned
down by social rules - at least not anymore, now that she is no longer hiding her personality so she can win the minister. Unlike in a lot of books where the main characters learn their lesson most of the way through the book, Felicia figures it out at the beginning and spends the novel working her way through it. Granted, Grayson takes a long time to figure out that 1) God can and has forgiven his multitude of sins, and 2) he is not to blame for events beyond his control.
It's not often that I would choose a book that
focuses more heavily on the dialogue than descriptions, character
development, and plot, but Turano pulls it off - through the dialogue
and thoughts of the characters we see them grow and change, and the
witty conversations and repartees are hilarious. It's a completely
feel-good novel, but not without a lesson or two to be learned; it's
just that sometimes one needs that teaspoon of sugar to help the
medicine go down, and this books provides a healthy dose. 5 out of 5 stars.
Thank you Bethany House for a free copy of the novel for the purpose of review; I was not required to make it positive, and all opinions expressed are my own.
I highly recommend reading the entire Ladies of Distinction series:
1. A Change of Fortune
2. A Most Peculiar Circumstance
3. A Talent for Trouble
4. A Match of Wits