Series: A Class of Their Own #1
Also by this author: Behind the Scenes, Out of the Ordinary
Genres: Historical Fiction, Romance
Release Date: March 3, 2015
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
Purchase at: Amazon ◊ Barnes & Noble
Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself without an income.
Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and wed. When Oliver witnesses his ex not-quite-fiancée causing the hapless Harriet to lose her job, he tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner.
Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can't make her fashionable. She'll never truly fit into Oliver's world, with its fancy dinners and elegant balls, but just as she's ready to call off the fake relationship a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.
This is the first book in a new series A Class of Their Own. This is a Christian romantic comedy but it has sarcasm and I love sarcasm and some hey now, pre-martial kissing, ooh la la…so risqué! It is a cute book and although there is the faith element it is not so over powering that it would offend non-believers.
From the start of this book I am loving Miss Harriet Peabody’s character! She is a strong and independent young woman who is quirky and handles chaotic situations with sarcasm and sometimes not so much grace due to her personal insecurities. Working in a hat shop Harriet dreams of opening a boutique that sells essentially recycled gowns that have been made over so that ladies of mid to lower class can be fashionable, something that is not truly achievable in this time setting of the late 19th century New York.
Having been sent on an errand to deliver a hat order to a member of high society that would take the most courageous soul to survive, Harriet finds herself in a comedic scuffle that ends with her being terminated from the millinery. As chance would have it that scuffle also led to an idea that formed in Mr. Oliver Addleshaw’s head that he would end his relationship with bat-crazy not quite fiancée and ask Harriet to pretend to be his new fiancée. What could he offer Harriet to make her even consider this offer? Well money of course….is this the Christian version of Pretty Woman?
So here is poor Harriet with dreams that will never be fulfilled ie: dress shop, Oliver with dreams of a business deal without the strings attached ie: wifey, so let’s make a deal. They agree to a ruse that she will act as his love interest for the period of time that it takes for him to land the business deal and then they will both move on having received what they both desired. What could go wrong? Well there is the fact that they dislike each other…immensely. Which makes this book hilarious and all the more engaging.
What transpires is a business arrangement that is more they bargained for. That makes both parties frustrated beyond all means but that also leads to a promising romance that they both truly wish to ignore. The main and supporting characters are well rounded and refreshing. The plot twists and climax are well implemented and there is also a dark side to this story. Harriet has a few skeletons in her closet that she is terrified of getting out…which only adds to her at times eccentric behavior.
I found this story to be entertaining, hilarious, and at times even suspenseful. The spirituality woven throughout the entire book is well done because it is not so over powering that I rolled my eyes at all. I am now a fan of Jen Turano because her writing style made me laugh throughout the book. I also love sarcastic characters and that element also made me truly enjoy this book. If you are looking for a well researched and written historical fiction novel that combines elements of comedy, Christian values, and romance then give this book a try. You will not be disappointed.