Friday, December 11, 2015

"At Love's Bidding" by Regina Jennings - an amusing tale of culture clash

Cover ArtWhen Miranda's grandfather sells a priceless painting to an anonymous bidder without realizing the painting had been swapped, it's up to them to get it back. But in their pursuit of the painting, they purchase an auction house not full of priceless art, but of livestock. Wyatt Ballentine, the auctioneer, had hopes of buying the sales barn himself, but now he's stuck with two city slickers trying to run his business, and a right mess they're making of it too. Can they figure out how to work together to find the painting and keep the situation from, if possible, getting any worse?

Talk about culture clash and perspective. Miranda comes from a fairly wealthy family (upper middle class), but because they have to work for a living they will never attain the upper echelons of society. In the eyes of the society, they're little better than those who work at the docks. But by the standards of Pine Gap, Missouri, they're far beyond even the most wealthy citizens of the village. And that--along with big city versus backwoods rural village--makes for some highly entertaining and wince-worthy culture clashes between Miranda and Wyatt. And her grandfather and . . . everyone.

Though there is quite a bit of humor and exciting bit of danger, there are some sober themes in the story. Miranda's grandfather, though often a source of humor, is continually sinking deeper into what I'm pretty sure is dementia, and his actions and thoughts are not always representative of the kind, hardworking businessman he once was.

But then, in contrast, there's Cornelius the phrenologist, who studies the shapes of people's heads to determine personality and talents . . . one of the more ridiculous pseudosciences of the last two centuries. I admit, I rather enjoyed that it plays a part in the story.

All I can say is, the next book better be about Betsy Huckabee. Nosy mite that she is, she almost stole the show from Miranda, and it was fun to see how she's grown since the previous book.

Thank you Bethany House and NetGalley for providing an e-copy for review; I was not required to make the review positive, and all opinions are my own.

Ozark Mountain Romance
1. A Most Inconvenient Marriage
2. At Love's Bidding
2.5 "Her Dearly Unintended" from the novella collection With This Ring?
3. For the Record

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