The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck

( 50 )

Overview

Unlikely romance is sometimes just an inconvenient marriage away
 
Charlotte Beck may be entering adulthood, but she can’t seem to keep to her stubborn, independent spirit from bucking social protocol. Fed up with her behavior, Charlotte’s father Daniel pressures her to settle into a nice marriage despite knowing she is set on going to college. Then Daniel sees Charlotte with the handsome but annoying ...
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The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck: A Novel

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Overview

Unlikely romance is sometimes just an inconvenient marriage away
 
Charlotte Beck may be entering adulthood, but she can’t seem to keep to her stubborn, independent spirit from bucking social protocol. Fed up with her behavior, Charlotte’s father Daniel pressures her to settle into a nice marriage despite knowing she is set on going to college. Then Daniel sees Charlotte with the handsome but annoying English astronomer Alex Hambly, and everything changes.

Though Alex and Charlotte can barely stand one another, Daniel offers them a deal they can’t refuse: if they agree to marry, he will save Alex’s family from financial ruin and grant Charlotte the freedom to go to college. Reluctantly the couple agrees, but in private they plot to annul the marriage as soon as possible.

But when Alex’s feelings change and he refuses to dissolve their contract, will Charlotte find a way out of her vows? Or will she discover that maybe this marriage isn’t so inconvenient after all?

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Praise for Kathleen Y’Barbo

“Y’Barbo gives us a solid story with characters who lead the way to laughter and danger.”
—LINDA MAE BALDWIN, RT Book Reviews

“Kathleen Y’Barbo has written a high-spirited novel about the kind of woman we’d all like to be: spunky, creative, witty—and a good shot.”
—DIANN MILLS, author of A Woman Called Sage and Sworn to Protect, commenting on Anna Finch and the Hired Gun

“I love Kathleen Y’Barbo’s deft hand at combining romance, comedy, and suspense. Her books are pure fun to read.”
—MARY CONNEALY, author of Doctor in Petticoats

“A fun read. Delightful, engaging, charming, and yes, funny. Humor in the characters, and humor in the events, as she dreams of and heads on an adventure in the west. I thoroughly enjoyed this romp of a read.”
—LAURAINE SNELLING, author of the Red River series, Daughters of Blessing series, and One Perfect Day, commenting on The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

“With excitement, romance, and humor, Kathleen Y’Barbo spins a tale that captures your mind. The author’s enthusiasm for writing spills out of every scene, creating, as it should, enthusiastic readers.”
—STEPHEN BLY, award-winning western author of more than one hundred books, including One Step Over the Border, commenting on The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780307444820
  • Publisher: The Doubleday Religious Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 6/21/2011
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 734,254
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Kathleen Y'Barbo is a bestselling author of 40 award-winning novels and novellas with over 950,000 books in print. Kathleen is a tenth generation Texan, a graduate of Texas A&M University’s Mays Business School, and the mother of three grown sons and a daughter. She recently enlisted for a happily-ever-after of her own with her hero in combat boots. Find out more about Kathleen at www.kathleenybarbo.com.
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Read an Excerpt

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck

A Novel
By Kathleen Y' Barbo

WaterBrook Press

Copyright © 2011 Kathleen Y' Barbo
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9780307444820

A lady carries herself with great poise and the sense that an egg sits atop her head.
—MISS PENCE

June 9, 1887
London

What Charlotte Beck wanted, Charlotte Beck generally got.

Thus Charlotte stood on the doorstep of Fensworth House, poised to make her unofficial debut into proper society despite the fact that she’d not yet reached the age of introduction nor been presented to the queen. Won’t Gussie be surprised when I write her about the evening? The thought of her best friend, Augusta “Gussie” Miller, bolstered Charlotte’s courage and reminded her why she’d insisted on being included tonight. After much pleading, Charlotte had convinced Gennie, her stepmother, that she needed to practice her social graces before her first official events of the New York and London seasons.

As the door opened, Charlotte swallowed a flutter of nerves. A uniformed servant nodded at her, and she worried she would forget the litany of instructions on proper decorum that Gennie had again gone over with her on the carriage ride here.

Charlotte slid a glance that she hoped conveyed thanks to the man whose duty it had been to escort the Beck ladies tonight. The same man who’d successfully lobbied on her behalf. Colonel William F. Cody, who was not only her father’s business partner but also practically family, responded with a wink, then adjusted his lapels.

Her gaze swept past the colonel to the room a level below them, which glittered as much from the chandeliers above as from the jewels the nobility wore. The light was perfect for painting. She closed her eyes to memorize the scene then opened them quickly when Gennie touched her arm.

Had she any breath left, Charlotte might have sighed at the loveliness of it all. But under Gennie’s instructions, the maid had pulled her corset strings so tight that even mild exertion would likely send Charlotte plummeting to the floor.

Perhaps rushing her debut was not such a wise move after all. The combined effect of nibbling at almost nothing all day and then squeezing into the lace-covered instrument of torture was not Charlotte’s idea of a grand time.

Colonel Cody shifted positions to move beside her, and she glanced up to see him giving one last swipe to his well-tended mustache. A fellow clad in the livery of the Fensworth household stepped in front of them and cleared his throat. “The distinguished Colonel William F. Cody, Lady Eugenia Cooper Beck, and Miss Charlotte Beck.”

A hush fell over the room as Gennie allowed Colonel Cody to take her arm. “Show time,” he whispered to Charlotte before linking arms with her as well.

The name of the famous American showman had caught the crowd’s attention, and several dozen men and women moved toward them. The famed “Buffalo Bill” released Charlotte and escorted Gennie down the stairs to greet their hosts.

Left alone at the top of what seemed an impossibly high vantage point, Charlotte reached for the banister then thought better of it. A lady carries herself with great poise and the sense that an egg sits atop her head, said Miss Pence, the tutor who’d spent the last few weeks whipping Charlotte into some manner of good form.

Find a focal point and walk toward it, looking neither up nor down.

Easily done in her grandfather’s drawing room, but not here with half of London watching her performance. Charlotte took a shallow breath and focused on a lovely Adams mantel across the room. Leaning against the mantel was a much more interesting focal point: an impossibly handsome, dark-haired gent who appeared quite amused at her plight. He had the audacity to lift one corner of his mouth in a taunting grin.

A child might have stuck her tongue out at him, but a lady did no such thing. Shifting her focus back to the fireplace and, above it, a rather lovely Watteau painting of an idyllic countryside setting, Charlotte took her first successful, if halting, step. And then another, and another, keeping in mind the wobbling imaginary egg, until she’d reached Gennie’s side. Only then did she brave a look at her one-man audience, who applauded.

“Darling,” Gennie said, drawing her attention, “say hello to our hosts.” To the fellow in noble regalia and his strikingly beautiful wife, she said, “I’m so happy to present our daughter, Charlotte.”

Our daughter. Charlotte squeezed Gennie’s hand, and her stepmother returned the gesture. That the Lord had given her Gennie to fill the gaping void of living without a mother was still a blessing that brought tears to Charlotte’s eyes.

She shifted to balance the imaginary egg then offered her host a smile. Slowly her attention turned to the earl’s wife. Again, Charlotte smiled in greeting as Miss Pence had instructed her. Speak when spoken to and do not assume nobility cares one whit for your ramblings had been a favorite saying of the sour old tutor.

Lady Fensworth, resplendent in a gown of deepest blue, leaned forward, and her appraising gaze swept Charlotte’s length. “You’re quite lovely. Perhaps I should introduce you to my Martin. After he’s finished speaking with Colonel Cody, of course.”

“Martin?”

The question was met with instant disapproval on the face of their hostess while their host seemed to be off in a world of his own. Charlotte looked to Gennie for guidance on how to repair what was obviously some sort of damage.

“The future earl,” Gennie whispered.

“Oh, yes, thank you. I would very much like an introduction,”

Charlotte managed. The woman’s cool stare kept Charlotte off balance as she turned to find the man in question. She spied the colonel’s silver hair and then, by leaning just a bit to the right, found a partial view of his companion. “Is that Martin?” she quietly asked Gennie.

At Gennie’s nod, Charlotte studied the dark-haired man. When he turned his head her direction, their gazes collided. It was the same awful fellow who’d taken great delight in mocking her as she made her entrance into the ballroom.

This was Martin Hambly?

As Charlotte contemplated this fact, the man in question winked.

Of all the nerve.

“Come dear,” Gennie said.

But she was too stunned to move. Rather, Charlotte’s eyes narrowed. Whatever sort Martin Hambly was, he certainly was not a gentleman.

“Charlotte, do join me.” Gennie’s insistent tone caught her attention.

“Yes, of course.” Charlotte offered a hastened version of a bow then scurried off a step behind her stepmother.

As she made her way across the room, she kept the dark-haired man in sight. She saw him duck behind a group of party goers, and though she searched for him, Martin Hambly was nowhere to be seen.

Gennie joined several society matrons engrossed in a conversation regarding the queen’s upcoming Golden Jubilee, and Charlotte found her tolerance for this event, as well as her ability to take a decent breath, waning. The room began to spin, and she searched for a remedy. Colonel Cody stood against the far wall, a crowd of men surrounding him. He gestured animatedly with his arms, no doubt telling an exciting story about his time as an army scout. She longed to join the conversation, but Miss Pence would find it most improper.

She took another shallow breath, and her vision shimmered at the edges. To sit was unthinkable, especially given the limitations of the contraption that held her not only captive but upright. Escaping back up the stairs to freedom and the carriage that delivered her was also an impossible dream.

Charlotte sighed. She now knew without any doubt how a horse felt when it had been hobbled. Surely the New York parties would be much more fun.

As for the Pence egg, she’d been amusing herself for the last halfhour by imagining it as a ruined mess on the lovely ballroom floor, one that certain guests found too slippery to avoid. It was an evil way to pass the time, but any amusement was better than fainting dead away. “Are you unwell?” one of the matrons asked her.

Charlotte once again looked to Gennie for the proper response.

“Perhaps a bit of fresh air might help,” Gennie whispered. She nodded toward a large bank of windows overlooking what appeared to be a lovely garden. Heavy curtains lifted slightly at the edges, indicating the promise of a breeze. Gennie caught Charlotte’s wrist. “Mind your manners.” She pressed her lips to Charlotte’s cheek. “And don’t get caught,” she whispered in Charlotte’s ear.

Charlotte gave her stepmother an incredulous look. Had she just been instructed to climb out a window? When Gennie winked before returning to her conversation with the ladies, Charlotte had her answer. “Excuse me, please,” Charlotte said to the wagging tongues. She set the Pence egg back in its imaginary place and moved toward the makeshift exit as if she owned the place.

As few knew her, no one impeded Charlotte’s progress. She spent only a few moments standing at the edge of the room to assure she’d gone unnoticed before turning to slip behind the curtains. Then it was a simple matter for Charlotte, who had been sneaking out of her secondfloor bedroom since she was eight years old, to disappear under the open sash and out into the fresh night air.

Or it should have been simple. But her slippered foot caught on the sill, and the stupid corset kept her from bending. She hit her head on the sash, tipped over, and plummeted off the edge of what turned out to be a balcony with an extremely low and unsteady railing.

The stars above tilted and whirled as she grasped blindly for something to stop her fall. Only when she ceased tumbling did Charlotte realize that she’d not landed on the ground. Rather, she’d been caught by a man.

Worse, a second look confirmed it was Martin Hambly, the awful mocker who’d previously been posed beside the Adams mantel. Charlotte’s mouth opened to order the awful man, who stared at her with that insolent grin, to release her at once, but instead she gave in to her strangling corset and fainted dead away.

Even when Viscount Alexander Hambly didn’t go seeking trouble, it found him. This time trouble had come in the form of a girl playing dress-up. Or that had been Alex’s opinion from afar as he watched the would-be Cinderella descend the staircase to join the ball.

Up close, however, Miss Charlotte Beck gave a different impression. While he determined her to be of an age at which some men preferred their companions, Alex didn’t find the woman-child type to his liking. Worse, she was American, and not one of those interesting Yanks like Colonel Cody. No, from head to toe, it was apparent this was a female
of the pampered variety.

He considered disposing of his duties by offering the vapid Miss Beck up to the frontiersman. Surely one man to another, Alex’s explanation that he’d been minding his own business, watching for the appearance of Jacob’s Comet on the western horizon, when a flying guest landed in his arms would be taken seriously. But then he remembered that the girl had arrived with Colonel Cody, making him a close acquaintance at least and possibly a dear family friend, and that Colonel Cody tended to shoot things for a living.

Indeed it was a predicament.

Voices on the balcony above sent Alex toward the hedge. Unfortunately, he’d not considered the limp bundle in his arms when he slid into his hiding place. A slight whack on the head from a tree branch was all it took to awaken the sleeping beauty.

And she didn’t appear the least bit happy about her predicament. “Release me this—”

Out of necessity and self-preservation, he pressed his palm to her still-moving lips with his free hand. “Shhh,” he hissed with as much authority as he could muster. The ploy seemed to work. “All right, then,” Alex whispered. “What do you think you were doing?”

The woman in his arms merely glared at him.

“Well then,” he said slowly as he stared down into the loveliest pair of green eyes he’d seen in some time, “while I can say with all honesty that I was watching for Jacob’s Comet to appear, my guess is you have no such excuse.”

Her eyes widened and then slowly narrowed. A moment later, her teeth clamped down on his hand and he let out a yelp. Taking her advantage, the woman slid from his grasp and bolted from the hedge.

“Why, Charlotte Beck, is that you?” a man called.

Alex froze. Following at this point would only invite scandal. While he cared not a whit about the wagging tongues of London’s elite, his parents were much more sensitive to such matters.

“I’m sorry,” the Beck woman said. “Do I know you?”

Alex couldn’t hear all of the man’s response, but it appeared he was explaining just how they’d come to be introduced. At a tea, perhaps? Or was he saying at sea?

“I see,” Miss Beck said quite clearly to the unknown man. “I was just taking the air and hoping to catch a glimpse of Jacob’s Comet.”

Jacob’s Comet? Had the Beck woman just stolen his alibi?

The rest of her conversation was lost on the breeze as the two moved back inside, though her laughter floated through the hedge to settle somewhere between his heart and that place where irritation arose.

And rise it did, especially when he took a step and found the American’s fan beneath his foot. Alex picked up the crumpled piece of finery, ruffled and covered in the same pale fabric as Miss Beck’s dress. Shaking off the leaves but not bothering to remove the smears of mud, Alex went off in search of Charlotte Beck.

For the first time that night, Charlotte was thankful for the awful corset. Without the instrument of torture, her spine might have turned to jelly somewhere between the stairs leading from the back garden to the ballroom and the spot on the edge of the dance floor where she almost literally ran into Uncle Edwin. At least this way her back remained straight and her shoulders square. Only the best posture for a woman properly dressed.

“Do take me home,” she said as she linked arms with her uncle, then offered her cheek for his kiss. The orchestra struck up a waltz.

“Home?” His laughter reminded her of Papa, as did the way he made her feel that anything she said was of great importance. “After all the fuss you made to be allowed to attend? I’ll do no such thing. Gennie would have my head. Now perhaps a dance?”

He gave her a look that told Charlotte her ruse had not worked. He knew her too well. She needed a stronger excuse for leaving Fensworth’s home post haste. Or at least before the fellow she’d landed on could catch up and tell on her.

“All right then,” she said. “Escort me back across the room to Gennie so no more of these awful men accost me.”

“Accost you?” He halted and lifted a brow. “Explain yourself.”

Charlotte took a breath, or what passed for one whilst imprisoned in the corset, and offered a downcast look. “Promise you won’t tell Gennie this, but…” She paused for effect then slowly swung her gaze up to meet her uncle’s stare. “Suffice it to say one fellow has received an injury for his trouble.”

As she spoke, Charlotte slid a peek around the edge of the crowd in case the fellow from the garden had appeared. Her conscience prickled at her uncle’s change in expression.

“What happened?”

“I, well, that is, the room was warm and the garden lovely, so…” She looked down at the mud on her slippers then back up at Uncle Edwin.

“I was merely trying to catch a glimpse of a comet.” At her uncle’s confused expression, she paused. “I admit I bit him, but he deserved it.

Thus, there truly is no further cause for action.”

“Where is the scoundrel? I’ll have his—”

“Forgive the intrusion, Miss Beck,” a decidedly familiar male voice called.

Charlotte looked past her fuming uncle to see the man from the garden moving toward them. In his hand he carried the mangled remains of her fan.

“Hambly,” Uncle Edwin said in an ugly hiss. He touched her arm. “Is that the man who accosted you?”

“Well, actually…” She grappled with an answer as her conscience began to sting.

“Just a moment of your time,” the man said.

“Charlotte?” When she couldn’t find any words, Uncle Edwin turned to face the dark-haired man head-on. “You’ll speak to me and not her, Hambly.”

Martin Hambly held up his hands, the fan still dangling from his fingers. “I mean no harm.”

“Uncle Edwin, please don’t make a scene.” Charlotte moved between her uncle and Hambly. “I must confess that I might have instigated the situation by—”

“Move,” her uncle said as he pressed past her. “This family’s been asking for…”

And then Uncle Edwin punched him.

Continues...

Excerpted from The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck by Kathleen Y' Barbo Copyright © 2011 by Kathleen Y' Barbo. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook Press, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 50 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 50 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A Delightful Story!

    The first time you meet Charlotte Beck in 'A Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper', she is a spunky, precocious ten year old prone to misbehaving. Then in 'Anna Finch and the Hired Gun', she is a fifteen/sixteen year old trying to act years ahead of her time. Now in 'The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck', you see a woman of eighteen, trying to please her family and act in a way more acceptable to society.

    Viscount Alex Hambly is a man whose family is on the brink of financial ruin. As a second son, Alex is expected to earn his own living and has chosen to work in the field of astronomy. Alex's older identical twin brother Martin is the heir to the title of earl, but mentally he has not been right ever since he went to war. Because of this, their family asks Alex to pretend that he is his brother at social events, so that know one will know of his problems.

    Alex first meets Charlotte while at a party his family is having and he is pretending to be his brother. Alex is out in the garden trying to catch a glimpse of Jacob's Comet, when Charlotte falls from a window into his arms and then she faints dead away. Hearing voices, he quickly moves into a hedge and doesn't think, until after he does so, what would happen if they where caught. While in the shrubbery, Charlotte comes to, then starts demanding to be put down. Fearing being caught, Alex covers her mouth with his hand and tells her to be quiet, but she bites his hand and runs off. Knowing he can't follow after her without causing a scandal, he quietly steams and then when he starts to leave, he sees her fan and picks it up to return it to her. When he tries to return the fan to her, Charlotte's uncle thinks that he had accosted her and so he punches him - right there in the middle of the party. This is the first of many times that Charlotte will cause Alex pain.

    When I received this book, I thought that the marriage would take place rather quickly in the story, but it actually doesn't happen until the story is over halfway through. As soon as I thought the story was going to go one way, it changed and went a completely different way. So I think that the title and blurb are a little misleading, but the story is still very enjoyable. This was a satisfying conclusion to the series. I loved reading 'The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck' and if you love historical romances, I am sure you will too.

    Thanks to WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for sending me a complimentary copy of this book to review. I was not required to give a positive review, only to give my honest opinion of the book - which I have done.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2013

    Fun book to read!

    This is an easy-to-read story filled with humor and love. I highly recommend it!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 19, 2013

    I don't get it....

    ...I purchased this book based on the glowing reviews it received. It was the first time I'd read anything by this author and it will be the last.

    I have to be fair; Y'Barbo is clearly a talented writer. She brought to life a spoiled, self-centered heroine so well that I loathed the little brat by the second chapter. I kept waiting for the "a-ha! *Now* she'll grow up and be mature!" moment.

    It came about 20 pages from the end of the book.

    What an utter waste of time.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 30, 2013

    Way to funny!! The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck (boo

    Way to funny!! The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck (book #3 in the Women of the West Series) by Kathleen Y'Barbo is fantastic and I read it in one day. It is filled with romance and a whole lot of fun. Charlotte is a character that will keep you smiling and Alex is the perfect hero. If I could have lived in this time period, I would want to be Charlotte Beck. She is a very independent young women for her time. I can't wait to read the first two books in this series. This one easily stands on its own, I just can't get enough of Kathleen Y'Barbo books. She is on my all time favorite author list. I love historical romance with a bit of fun and lots of giggles thrown in and this book has all that and more.

    The other two book in the series are, The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper, book #1 and Anna Finch and the Hired Gun, book #2.

    I received this book from Blogging for Books for my honest review.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 10, 2012

    The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It takes place in one of my favorite time periods. The characters are ful of wit and charm. Charlotte is very unconventional for her time and that makes her situation all the more enjoyableto read about. At first you dont realize that Alex Hambly has a twin brother who is older and mentally unstable or that Alex Hamblys family is in financial danger, but that adds a humorous twist to the plot. From Alex and Charlottes first meeting in which she descended the stairs at a social and later literally fell into Alexs arms, they each had a great dislike for one another. She thinking he was quite rude and arrogant and he thinking she was a pampered stuck up snob. There attitudes toward each other make very interesting and humorous dialogue. When Daniel, Charlottes father proposes that Charlotte and Alex marry, he says Charlotte can atend college and Alexs family will be saved from ruin in doing so. The two agree thinking they can annull the marriage later but later find that neither can walk away from each other. Love found its way into their marriage of convenience.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 7, 2012

    Quick, light-hearted read.

    My synopsis: Charlotte Beck is a strong-willed woman who has dreams of going to college and working in her father, Daniel Beck's, business. Daniel wants nothing but to see his daughter married and tamed. Alex Hambly's family fortune is in dire straits and the only way to preserve his family's situation is to marry into a wealthy family. When Daniel sees that Alex is the only one who can tame Charlotte's feisty side, he arranges for them to be married with promises that benefit everyone. The only problem is Daniel and Charlotte despise each other! Soon, the young couple hatch a plan to have the marriage annulled. But one thing that stands in their way in carrying out the plan - they fall in love with each other.

    My reactions: Cute, but predictable story. It was well-written enough that I was able to imagine myself as a fly on the wall watching everything unfold. The only true complaint I had was that the author switched points of view a lot.

    There were a couple noticeable errors in the book, but I read through it so fast, I didn't catch if there were more. One error was the sentence that read, "He'd considering being..." I'm sure, with context, the author meant "He'd considered being..." The other noticeable error was when the title character mentioned the new millennium was just a few years away. That portion of the book was set in 1891, so the new CENTURY was nine years away. The new millennium was still 109 years away. But these mistakes shouldn't detract from an afternoon of a pleasant read..

    This is the third book in a series. However, this book works very well as a stand-alone novel.

    *FTC Disclaimer: I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review. That in no way sways my opinion of this book. All opinions expressed in this review are honest and mine alone.*

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 27, 2011

    nice read

    If I had realized this was the last book in a series of three, I would have read the other books first. Having said that, this book stands well alone. I enjoyed the innocent chaos Charlotte caused wherever she went and how good she was at denial. "I'm sure that never happened." She was totally loveable - as Alex Hambly found out. It is so refreshing to read about a strong, intelligent woman in this time period (late 1800's) and to see her supported by the men in her life.

    My library has this book listed as Christian fiction. I'm not sure I'd agree. There are a couple of, in passing mensions of faith and prayer but not to the extent that I would expect to see in 'Christian Fiction'. My preference would be to categorize it as 'Sweet Romance'.

    A very nice, light, easy read that totally filled my craving for romance and history.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 28, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Father Knows Best...

    Description:

    ~Wild American Charlotte Beck wants to attend Wellesley College to learn business.

    ~Daniel Beck, Charlotte's father, wants her to settle down with a good man who can "tame" her.

    ~Alexander Hambly's family is in financial ruin, but a rich wife could certainly fix their luck.

    So, Daniel decides to make them an offer they can't refuse. He will make sure they have the means to do what they want, as long as they marry each other. Problem is they can't stand one another. So Charlotte and Alex make a deal to annul their fake marriage as soon as they get what they want; unfortunately fate has other plans. Maybe their marriage isn't that inconvenient after all.

    Review:
    I have read the first couple books in the Women of the West series and I couldn't wait to get into this one! Kathleen Y'Barbo creates amazing characters and has a wonderful writing style; Charlotte is stubborn, snarky, and sometimes annoying, but she also has another side: caring, intelligent, and spirited. Her relationship with her father is really entertaining, especially when she is trying to pool the wool over his eyes- to no avail. Besides the development of the characters, I liked the dialogue which fit perfectly with the book and the time period, (1880's), and kept me laughing. I only wish that the ending had been different, (no spoilers). Overall, I was quite pleased with the addition of this book to the series and look forward to the books to come. Great book in a great series; recommended as a stand-alone, or to be read with its counterparts.

    Rating: On the Run (4/5)

    ***I received this eBook from Blogging For Books (WaterBrook Press) in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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  • Posted October 24, 2011

    Highly Recommend

    This book was hard for me to start reading but once I did, I was hooked. It was a very good read and about half way through I just couldn't stop reading. I love reading and this book fit into the style of book that I read the most.

    I really liked the humor that the dialogue between the characters produced. Sometimes I really wanted to laugh out loud. The character development was good and by the time the book ended, I really felt like I knew the characters and wanted to read more about there lives.

    This being said I sometimes questioned whether or not the dialogue between the main female character and some of the other males characters actually would have been true to life in this time period of history. I really don't know and so overlooking that point, I really liked the book. I wrote down some other titles by the same author and I intend to request them from our local library. This book was definitely worth the time I took to read it.

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  • Posted October 20, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Strong, Unconventional Heroine

    The title character of "The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck" is an anomaly in 1887. Instead of dreaming of marrying a wealthy husband, Charlotte dreams of going to college to study mathematics. Try as she might, she can't conform to society's standards in London or in Denver. Whether riding with family friend Buffalo Bill Cody or scheming to find a beau for her friend Gussie, Charlotte manages to aggravate society in general and her father in particular. Finally, Daniel Beck comes up with a plan to control both his daughter and the English aristocrat who owns adjoining property in Colorado, Alex Hambly.
    Our heroine is the young daughter who is a minor character in Kathleen Y'Barbo's first book in this series, "The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper". Now Charlotte is 18, ready to make her own way in the world, at least in her opinion.
    This book is a quick, enjoyable read, great for a rainy day. Y'Barbo's women are strong and unconventional. These are the women who paved the way for the women of today, and Y'Barbo writes with grace and wit about society at the end of the nineteenth century.
    I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 9, 2011

    The Inconvenient Marriage-Good but Nothing New

    This book was a light read that I enjoyed. Though I have read many other books with the same ideas, this story was surprisingly witty with interesting characters involved. I don't want to give too much away but this book has a journey that was historically written. like many other such books it has a twist and turn and a happily ever after. Recommend for a light happy read. "I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review".

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2011

    Absolutely Charming!

    Y'Barbo's tale is wonderful! It is well-written, fast-paced, cute, and funny, but very predictable, but I forgive that because the imagery is vivid and the characters are believable. Even though it is the third in a series (including The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper, and Anna Finch and the Hired gun), I didn't feel like I was missing any information (I didn't even realize it was in a series until after I had finished it). It is still great as a stand-alone novel, but was so very delightful that I plan on reading the other two novels. It is a lovely romance tale and is great even for young adult women (I am a teen). I recieved this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for an honest review.

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  • Posted October 3, 2011

    An Unusual Twist on a Standard Tale

    The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck is a sweet, funny, fast-paced romance that carries you from the ballrooms in London to the hills of the Rockies. You are first introduced to Charlotte Beck; headstrong, independent, feisty.those words would be mild descriptors of the young heroine of the story. While her father and stepmother long for her to be married, she longs to attend a university and one day, take her place by her father in his company.

    The Viscount Alex Hambly is in a similar predicament. As the "younger" twin, he does not stand to inherit; however, with his brother Martin not emotionally stable enough to handle life, let alone the family's business ventures, Alex must step in. Yet all he wants to do is pursue his study of the stars.

    As she descends the stairs on the night of her unofficial debut into English society, her eyes fall on the handsome, and amused Viscount. Later that evening she finds herself tumbling into his arms - quite literally tumbling from the balcony into his waiting arms. From that night, the two are intertwined, despite their best efforts otherwise. And when her father proposes a marriage that will solve both of their problems, how can they refuse?

    Y'Barbo takes the standard, "Marriage of Convenience" and puts a fresh and humorous twist on it. Each chapter leads with a quote from Miss Pence, Charlotte's tutor assigned to help her make her proper debut, without embarrassing anyone. Such as,

    "Speak when you are spoken to and do not assume nobility cares one whit for your ramblings."

    The characters are fresh and vibrant. You will adore both Charlotte and Alex, though at times you might want to throttle them. Alex isn't your standard handsome rake seen in most romance novels, and Charlotte, who may at first appear a bit formulaic in her independent nature, also adds humor with her bumbling antics, quick wit and sarcasm.

    I did wish she would have stayed longer in one character's head, as the POV switches often. I think that would have provided more emotional attachment to the story. I felt as if I was hovering above the story, a fly on the wall witnessing the events, rather than immersed in the story and emotionally invested in it.

    Overall, I gave the book 4 stars. It is a great light read, with a sweet romance. Though the message isn't too deep or thought-provoking, it is a great book to curl up and read one rainy afternoon. It would also make an excellent book for teenage girls, 16+.

    Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the Blogging for Books book review program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255

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  • Posted October 1, 2011

    Charlotte is annoying

    When I read this book I didn't realize that it was the third book in the series until after I read it. No wonder the author wrote as if I should already know Charlotte, but no matter because the author also filled me in to most of the things about Charlotte. Besides the fact that I was reading the third book, I thought that this was a very well written book. I have to admit though that at times I got kind of annoyed with Charlotte. She seemed really immature and selfish at times. In comparison, I enjoyed reading about Alex. He was an enjoyable character and made reading about charlotte a little more enjoyable. Thankfully Charlotte seemed to come to her senses towards the end of the book and she finally grew up. Meanwhile Alex also came to his senses in other ways, specifically, abandoning the ridiculous notion of marrying Charlotte and then getting their marriage annulled. I think that this showed the maturity of Alex and I appreciated it. Even though I found parts of this book annoying, I actually sort of loved this book. I could barely put it down. In fact I finished it in one day. Overall this book was good, it might have been better, but it was still pretty good.

    I recieved this book from Waterbrook Multnomah Publishers through their Blogging for Books Program in exchange for an honest review

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    England Regency to the Wild West!

    The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck By Kathleen Y'Barbo There are two books previous to this one in The Women of the West series: The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper and the next is Anna Finch and the Hired Gun. Our story begins in England. Charlotte is with her step-mother and they are staying with her grandfather so she can be introduced into London society. Charlotte has grown up in Colorado around men like William Cody and his Wild West shows. At her first formal outing Charlotte runs through her mind everything Miss Pence has taught her. Things like walking as if an egg were on her head and focusing straight ahead while descending stairs. She sees a young man staring at her while she focuses on the fireplace mantel, she later finds this annoying man is the son of her hosts, The Hambly's. When she sneaks out a window to get some fresh air she falls into the arms of Viscount Alexander Hambly, the man from the fireplace. Their relationship only goes downhill from that point. Alex only wants to study the stars and enjoy his quiet life. But that is not to be. He must cover for his brother, Martin, who is the true heir. They had both been in the war but Martin did not come out unscathed. And when the spitfire from America enters the picture his peace and quiet is gone, he gets injured more often and things get broken. Not to mention fires starting in odd spots. Charlotte Beck is a menace. Charlotte is called back to America by her dad after she continues to put black marks on the family name in England. The girl just can't seem to stay out of trouble. When Alex also arrives in Colorado and her father sees how well he handles Charlotte, Daniel Beck sees the only man who could ever marry is daughter. Both of them disagree. The problem is that Alex needs money to repair the family holdings and pay for the death taxes since his father passed. An agreement is made between the three of them and after four years when she is suppose to marry, Charlotte decides on another agreement to get out of it. Instead of trusting in God, she only wants to trust her own leading. What secret has Charlotte running from both God and love? Received through Edelweiss for review

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  • Posted September 20, 2011

    Delightful!

    The story begins in London, in 1887, with Charlotte Beck, a spoiled, rich American girl making her debut into society, demonstrating the social graces she's learned from her tutor, Miss Pence. The problem is, Charlotte is a very independent, stubborn young lady who finds it difficult to act as she's expected to. During the party Charlotte manages to fall from the balcony, straight into the arms of Alex Hambly. After this unexpected encounter, it's obvious that the gentlemanly Alex and the outrageous Charlotte dislike each other. Even so, their paths continue to cross. Eventually Charlotte's father offers Alex a proposal... if Alex will marry Charlotte, Alex's family estate, which is in a dire financial situation, will be saved.

    From the title of the book, it's obvious that they marry, and I won't spoil it for you, but I'll just say that there's much more to the story. Charlotte is a lovable character whose antics kept me laughing to the end of the book.


    When I read the book I wasn't aware that this is the conclusion to the women of the West series. You do not need to have read the previous books to understand and enjoy this one. Now that I know this I'm tempted to go back and read the first two.

    I received a free copy of this book from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for the purposes of an honest review.

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  • Posted September 19, 2011

    New Favorite Author Kathleen Y'Barbo

    In The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck, Kathleen Y'Barbo delivers a delightful, entertaining story about the uncontrollable willful character of Charlotte Beck. Charlotte is determined to be taken seriously as an adult at 18 years of age, but finds that she continuously gets involved in one hilarious raucous after another which portrays her as anything but mature. With her independent spirit, she is determined to make it on her own and go to college to obtain her degree to help work in her father's business. Her father is determined that she marry like any other respectable young lady should; however, this does not sit well with Charlotte. Through several mishaps they finally come to somewhat of an agreement. Charlotte has to agree to marry Viscount Alex Hambly, and her father agrees to put her through college. Viscount Hambly needed the financial help that her father can give, reluctantly agrees; however, they both come up with a plan of their own to have the marriage annulled. Their relationship sets off a serious of accidents and mishaps that will leave you laughing and wanting more. From blackeyes to horse rides while being chased by Indians with Buffalo Bill this book is a great read. I absolutely loved this book full of humor and romance. Y'Barbo has definitely become one of my favorite authors. Looking forward to reading more of her books.

    I received this book free from the publisher through Waterbrook Multnomah Publishing Group. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.

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  • Posted September 11, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Loved it!!

    Charlotte Beck is a feisty American young woman who is being introduced to British society in the 1800s and soon learns that her horse riding and gun shooting ways are frowned upon in the high European society. Her father wants her to find a husband and spend her days painting but Charlotte has other plans. She wants to go to a four year university and study mathematics to become a business woman. Her father agrees to allow her to go to school if she agrees to marry Alex Hambly, a young man whose family has lost all their money and Mr. Beck wants to help them out but only if he weds his daughter. The two do not like each other and their interactions are hilarious! They agree to this "ridiculous" plan with their own plan... annulment. Plans change... will they make it work or will the marriage be annulled?

    This is such a funny book. I enjoyed every word of it. I loved the relationship between Charlotte and Alex... Charlotte succeeds in embarrassing herself and her family but somehow schemes her way out of everything. Charlotte did annoy me a bit with her spoiled rich girl self but I still fell in love with the characters. Kathleen did an amazing job at bringing these characters to life. Apparently there are two other stand-alone books in the series that I now want to read. I loved this book!!

    I received a complimentary copy from the publisher for an honest review.

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  • Posted September 3, 2011

    A little dissapointed

    Charlotte Beck has had it easy all her life, living a life of luxury and never wanting for any material thing. But there is something she wants. She wants to be treated like an adult and she dreams of making a place for herself in the business world, helping run her father's company. Yet somehow all of her attempts to appear grown up backfire and prove just the opposite. For instance she goes to an elegant London party, hoping to come out in society, but while trying to escape the party she falls off the balcony and into the arms of none other than Viscount Alexander Hambly. Somehow their paths continue to cross, and never in good way. Then Charlotte's father gives her the opportunity she's been dreaming of, attending college and joining the business world. But there's a catch, she has to marry the Viscount.
    Viscount Alexander Hambly is worn out with taking care of his elder twin brother, who has never been mentally right after the war, and trying to keep his family afloat financially, especially since he wants nothing more than to spend the rest of his life as an astronomer. When his father dies things go from bad to worse. Then Daniel Beck offers him a chance, he will give Alex the land and money he desperately needs, if he will marry his wild daughter.
    From the moment I saw this book I couldn't wait to read it but I have decided that my excitement was wasted. First of all the description really only applies to the second half of the book. The overall idea was good enough but I felt that it was executed poorly. This book started out very well I was totally excited and engaged it seemed like it was going to be pretty good, but it just didn't carry through. The first half felt too drawn out and the second half felt to rushed. This book really just didn't make me feel anything but frustrated. Charlotte is a spoiled brat, she is willing to manipulate and act up to get her way. Yet I felt really sorry for her. All she wanted was to be independent, to have her own life, something that is easily attained by women today, not so much back then. I really hated how Charlotte's father seemed to think that she absolutely had to have a man taking care of her, that it was the only way she would ever mature. He also really discouraged her dreams the phrase "find joy in the bedroom not the boardroom" popped up a bit too often. I understand that Charlotte needed to be disciplined, to be reigned in a bit, and to mature but her father seemed to think the only possible way was for her to marry. I just hated the fact how he just seemed to think that she had to be controlled. And all of this is passed off completely as fatherly love and in the end it is Charlotte 'who sees the error of her ways'. I know that all of this is related to that time period but it still frustrates me to think of what women went through back then.
    Well to end I will say that I actually did sort of like this book, or maybe it really frustrated me because I can't stop thinking about it. So I can say that I do sort of recommend this book but not to strongly. If you can read this book for free like I did then do it for sure. But you may want to look into it a little more before buying it.
    I received this book through the Waterbrook Multnomah blogging for books program for my fair review. I am not required to write a good review.

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  • Posted August 27, 2011

    Could Have Been Better.

    Title: The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck.

    Author: Kathleen Y'Barbo.

    Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction, Romance, Sequel.

    Plot: Eighteen year old Charlotte Beck is in London with her stepmother Gennie preparing for her New York début. She's spent the majority of her life trying to convince people {mostly her father} that she's a mature grow-up young woman while her actions speak otherwise. At a formal ball hosted by the wealthy Earl Hambly, Charlotte manages to nonchalantly fall out of a window and land in the arms of the Hambly heir. She doesn't learn till later that there are two Hambly sons, twins; Martin is the heir but his time in the war so marred his mind that he is incapable of succeeding. Thus the burden of heir and firstborn falls on Alex's shoulders. He didn't want it, he didn't ask for it and he'd much rather study the stars than play the role of his brother at social meetings but he accepted it without compliant.

    That is, until Charlotte Beck landed in his arms late one night when he was escaping from the stifling atmosphere in the ballroom. His meetings with Charlotte soon lead to a black eye, a stack of ruined research notes, a bent telescope and an arrangement of marriage with the wild girl in question that he can't refuse. Charlotte, ever the schemer, gets a shock when Alex declares he doesn't want to break off the marriage and she sets about to find a way out of the inconvenient marriage.

    Likes/Dislikes: The beginning half of this book was delightful, with a humorous undercurrent to the story. From one misadventure to the other I felt I was enjoying a real treat. And then the second half came along; I was hoping for the same bouncing, happy undercurrent but it wasn't there and I quickly lost interest after the wedding. I really lost interest when Alex and Charlotte got caught in a snowstorm and had to take shelter in an abandoned cabin. I knew where that scene would go {thankfully the father bounced in before it got too far} and I was mentally screaming, "No! Don't do that, don't go into that cabin! What's wrong with you people?!" I really didn't enjoy the second half; the first half was grand though. And then the whole hinted conspiracy concerning Charlotte's mother was a deflated balloon.

    Rating: PG-15 and up for suggested suggestive content and reading level.

    Date Report Written: August 27, 2011.

    I received a free copy of this book from the publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions expressed in the above review are my own.

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