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Sunday, July 3, 2011

An Unlikely Suitor-- A Bethany House Book Review

Spend a season in glamorous 1895 Newport in this compelling tale of friendship, devotion, and sacrificial love.

New York dressmaker Lucy Scarpelli befriends socialite Rowena Langdon as she's designing her 1895 summer wardrobe. Grateful for Lucy's skill in creating fashions that hide her physical injury, Rowena invites Lucy to the family mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, encouraging the unusual friendship.

One day Lucy encounters an intriguing man on the Cliff Walk, and love begins to blossom. Yet Lucy resists, for what Newport man would want to marry an Italian dressmaker working to support her family? 

Rowena faces an arranged marriage to a wealthy heir she doesn't love, but dare a crippled girl hope for anything better?
As the lives of three young women--and their unlikely suitors--become entangled in a web of secrets and sacrifice, will the season end with any of them finding true happiness?

 My Review:

Nancy Moser is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. She easily transports the reader back in time to another era, an era that we tend to think as kinder and gentler. Nancy Moser reintroduces the Scarpelli family whom we met in Masquerade; this isn't a sequel, but their own story...

The Scarpellis, Lea, Lucy, and Sophia need to move from their long time home, because it is slated to be torn down. While her mother, Lea, and Sophia attend church, Lucy looks for a new home for them. She not only finds an apartment she is very pleased with, she finds them all new jobs, as well. Lucy and Sophia will be working at Madame Moreau's Fashion Emporium as seamstresses and their mother, Lea, a hat maker. Wonderful jobs compared to the sweatshops they were used to.

When the Langdons visit the shop for the fittings of their new wardrobe for their summer in Newport, Rhode Island; Lucy is called on to record Rowena Langdon's measurements for her new dresses. Rowena has an awkward stance that takes special effort to disguise. Lucy decides to risk her job to create dresses for her. Rowena is especially pleased with the result of the first dress, and requests Lucy to continue to work on the rest of her wardrobe; which in turn becomes an unusual friendship between Lucy and Rowena--a commoner and wealthy heiress.

Rowena, wanting to continue her friendship with Lucy, causes damage of a number of her and her mothers' dresses in order to convince her mother to allow her to send for Lucy, so she can repair them. Mrs. Langdon relents to Rowena's request and Lucy is sent for, and she enters the world of the wealthy as a Lady's maid to Rowena.

I enjoyed this story. It was fun to read and enter into the worlds of the Scarpellis and the Langdons. To get to know them, to learn of their dreams and fears. To see that we are not as different as some would like us to think. To know that God gifts each of us with unique talents and abilities. And especially to know that God has special plans for each of us, and if we will submit to His will we be more contented, than if we rely on our own self-sufficiency.

Another thing I liked about the book is the inclusion of historical notes, pictures of some of the fashions that are described in the story, and discussion questions for reading groups and book clubs.

About the Author:

Nancy Moser is the author of three inspirational humor books and eighteen novels, including Mozart's Sister, Just Jane, and Time Lottery, a Christy Award winner. She is an inspirational speaker, giving seminars around the country. She has earned a degree in architecture; run a business with her husband; traveled extensively in Europe; and has performed in various theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She and her husband have three grown children and make their home in the Midwest. Read more about her books at www.nancymoser.com.

** An Unlikely Suitor by Nancy Moser was provided for me free by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.


1 comment:

  1. I have never read any books by Nancy Moser but, after reading this post i will be keeping my eyes open for a chance to read her books. I'm always on the lookout for more good books to add to our home library.



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