Friday, April 19, 2013

Adult Fiction Review: A Most Peculiar Circumstance

A Most Peculiar Circumstance

Turano, J. (2013). A Most Peculiar Circumstance. Bethany House

Thanks to Bethany House for an advanced copy of this title

[Genre: Christian Historical]

The second in Turano's Ladies of Distinction series, A Most Peculiar Circumstance features Arabella Beckett, a suffragette with a knack for getting into trouble. Arabella's knack has just landed her up in jail in a strange town. She's sending up a prayer for help when help arrives, in the form of the very traditionally minded private investigator Theodore Wilder, who's been sent to track Arabella down so she can attend her brother's shotgun wedding. Of course, he's less than thrilled to find his target in a county jail cell. But even when he's got her out, their paths continue to cross, as the forces Arabella stirs up threaten her life.

A Most Peculiar Circumstance was a sweet read. Arabella and Theodore are both well drawn (if a little to obviously opposites attract) and the interactions between them are fun to read and increasingly touching, as both change slightly in light of what they learn from each other. The supporting cast is absolutely hilarious. I particularly enjoyed Arabella's brother Zayne, who'll hopefully be a central character of a future book in the series. The quiet girl on the side Felicia was also intriguing, so it's lovely to see that her book will be coming next.

Unfortunately what stopped this one from scoring higher for me was the sudden escalation of the thriller side of it. Throughout the story, Arabella is threatened by people whose motives are relatively unknown, but whose dodgy dealing she has unwittingly usurped. For most of the novel, it serves simply as a plot device for Arabella and private investigator Theodore to keep coming in contact with each other, and to prompt Arabella into undergoing some character development in her world view. Three quarters of the way through, the problems are apparently resolved in a way which is well written, entertaining and suits the light level of the story. Then, pages from the end we're hit over the head with a new threat that is far, far, far more serious than what had been suggested up until that point. There's no foreshadowing and it feels more like Turano ran out of steam to wrap up the story than a logical conclusion.

Apart from that though, A Most Peculiar Circumstance is a light and lovely read.

3.5 stars

A Most Peculiar Circumstance comes out June 1st


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