Review: A Most Peculiar Circumstance
Back Cover Copy:
Miss Arabella Beckett, defender of the downtrodden women of America, is returning from her travels in support of the women’s suffrage movement when she suddenly finds herself in a spot of trouble. Arabella, always loath to accept help, is particularly reluctant to receive assistance from the arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor who shows up just in time.
Private investigator extraordinaire Mr. Theodore Wilder is on an assignment that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country. When he finally locates Hamilton’s sister, and she turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he’s at his wit’s end.
Much to their chagrin, Theodore and Arabella’s paths continue to cross when they return to New York. When the trouble Arabella accidentally stirred up in her travels follows her home and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love.
A Most Peculiar Circumstance is the second book in the Ladies of Distinction series. I read the first, A Change of Fortune, and reviewed it here.
I began reading this book hoping to find what I’d found in the first one–humor. I wasn’t disappointed. Though the instances of humor aren’t as bold as some places in A Change of Fortune, they are scattered more throughout the novel. I read and giggled (okay, yes, I giggle on occasion) my way through it.
Theodore Wilder is the epitome of a chauvinist. However, I thought Ms. Turano did a fine job walking the tightrope between getting across his character and making him likable.
An example of Theodore’s thinking: “He highly doubted Miss Beckett looked to a man for anything, let alone guidance. It was clear she was quitely lovely…but she was obviously strong-willed, and she seemed more intelligent than most gentlemen he knew. It gave a man pause.”
Arabella Beckett is a suffragist, and someone working to make life better for other women in a place and time when women had few legal rights. A tightrope was walked here, too. Arabella is strong in opinion, yet compassionate, and grows even more so as she recognizes her weakness. She’s neither too harsh (maybe with Theodore, sometimes) nor too mousy. However, I would have liked to have read a scene in which she speaks to a crowd of women. I wanted to see the power and influence she had as a leader, rather than just being told about it.
The story revolves around a subject we often hear about these days by the term human trafficking. Agatha Watson (heroine of book three?) and Eliza Sumner Hamilton (heroine of book one) are Arabella’s co-conspirators in a quest to find missing prostitutes. As usual, Agatha tends to be the instigator. But this story also has its share of matchmaking mothers. Look out, gentlemen!
While I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can’t wait to read the next one, I did feel there was a bit of weakness in the climax. Actually, I should say the weakness is in Theodore’s character when it comes to his actions. I don’t want to give anything away, but I did feel a tad disappointed in him—for a few pages, anyway.
Overall, this was a fun, romantic story—not peculiar at all—and worth the time spent reading it.
Disclosure of Material Connection: This story came to me free from the publisher, Bethany House, with the hope that I would mention it on this blog. There was no requirement for me to write a positive review and the opinions I have expressed above are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.