About the book:
Publisher: Water Brook
Publication Date: 2011
Author: Kathleen Y’Barbo
Series: “Women of the West” (book 3 of 3)
Genre: Christian Fiction, Historical
Synopsis: Blessed with wealth but spoiled with anything her heart ever desired, Charlotte Beck is the privileged, only daughter of the wealthy Daniel Beck who foolishly gave in to his daughter’s every whim. Being of English ancestry, Charlotte and her step-mother travel abroad during the London season attending parties and brushing shoulders with the upper-classes most-respected family names prior to Charlotte’s official debut. When Charlotte butts heads with the handsome but pompous Alexander Hambly in the most embarrassing way, she cannot think of anything more interesting than getting away from his company and mocking gaze. As it would happen, the pair of them can help each other.
Charlotte wants to attend college and eventually take over the running of her father’s company, but Daniel wants nothing more than to see her settled in a proper marriage. Alex’s family, on the other hand is broke. The two agree to marry in what will be an advantageous match for the pair: it will give Alex back the financial security he needs to see his recently widowed mother comfortable, and Charlotte will be allowed to attend classes and then they plan a quiet annulment. That was before Alex’s entire world changes and he finds himself falling for his wife… but can he convince his headstrong sweetheart of that?
My thoughts: Anyone who has read this author’s works will know what a fun ride a reader is in for when reading this book, her most recent release. The story takes place in the smaller towns surrounding Denver Colorado in the late 1800’s, and is brimming with hilarity and romance, and with that responsibility some of the typical clichés of the time period follow. Charlotte Beck is a little opinionated spit-fire and for anyone who’s read Kathleen's novels before, you might remember Charlotte as the sassy child from The Confidential Life of Eugina Cooper. Now, Charlotte is all grown-up living in a world where finery isn’t the only thing at her command. At the beginning of the book, she presumes at eighteen that she is an “adult” because of her age – the girl finds nothing above reproach in her behavior and as a result, Charlotte rarely ever admits to faults. The novel spans four years divided into a part one and two before closing a number of months later.
From the opening pages of the first book in this set (which told Ginny’s story), I was charmed by Kathleen’s sweet writing. I loved the humor and characters in equal parts. (Although I’ve seen this categorized as a “series,” the novels do stand on their own and on the books themselves, no where does the publisher list the three books which supposedly made up this “series” as so.) Charlotte’s story is no different. I don’t think it was my favorite out of the three but there is no book that is cuter and the cover art is, likewise sensational. Alex and Charlotte’s love didn’t grow out of necessity but rather a choice to love – a pull towards a relationship that is more than just financial gain or society appearances.
Lessons are learned by each person making Charlotte’s story an endearing one. She learned that she didn’t have to choose between one life and the other; she could fulfill her lifelong dream while letting a new one into her heart. It was the thought that she wouldn’t be able to realize the dream of being a successful businesswoman that frightened her – or rather the thought that she would love and then be left when something or someone “better” came along. The scars of her past were something she was able to overcome to live a life more idyllic than she’d ever expected.