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?
|Publisher:||The Crown Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.50(w) x 8.10(h) x 0.80(d)|
About 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.
Read an Excerpt
The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte BeckA Novel
By Kathleen Y' Barbo
WaterBrook PressCopyright © 2011 Kathleen Y' Barbo
All right reserved.
A lady carries herself with great poise and the sense that an egg sits atop her head.
June 9, 1887
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.”
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.
“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.
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
"Well I never." "Yes, you have, Charlotte. Twice." This is the first book I've read by Kathleen Y'Barbo and was really pleased with her artistic writing. The author has a special way of getting the words on paper that drew me into the story and made we want to continue reading. Charlotte Beck is a beautiful, stubborn, rich American girl from the 1800s. She is wild and head strong. Everywhere she goes there is trouble. Alexander Hambly is the titled second son of a family who is in financial strife. Neither Charlotte nor Alexander are happy about the prospect of marriage when approached about the prospect. It is obvious to the reader both of them are attracted to one another but neither will admit it. Charlotte was a good character but she managed to irritate me throughout the book. I am sure that was the author's intention. This was a very enjoyable read after getting past Charlotte's antics and seeing her move on and grow. This book was provided to me through the First Reads program at Goodreads. The opinions expressed within this review are my own.
"THE INCONVENIENT MARRIAGE OF CHARLOTTE BECK" BY KATHLEEN Y'BARBOCharlotte Beck is young and spriteful and not at all ready to settle down. With her father constantly pressuring her, when a deal is struck that will grant Charlotte her heart's desire and may keep her fiancé's family from failure they soon realize that perhaps being married to one another isn't so bad after all.Beautiful, witty, wily, and fun! Pick up this book!-Kitty Bullard / Great Minds Think Aloud Book Club
This was a fun story for a number of reasons. First, I read it in less than two days because I kept wanting to know when they would change their minds. The anticipation kept me reading. Plus, I adored the hero. Charlotte was a bit of a twit at times and quite annoying, but she had her tender side, too...when she allowed someone to see it. Alex was so patient I wanted to give him a medal for that. He was also a good man like her father noted. I thought their scheme made sense at first, but I couldn't help admiring Alex's strength and heroism at times. He simply couldn't help being a gentleman.My favorite scene was the one where they stumble upon the cabin. I was like...finally, only to have the inevitable deferred again. Of course, when the moment passed there were second thoughts...again. But I suppose it was best for a decision to be made with one's wits about them and being in Alex's arms would make any woman forget those wits. At least, that's how I felt. She never did find out about who he "almost" married. I wonder if that will come out in a future book.I normally find stories with strong-willed and stubborn women a bit unappealing and unrealistic, but for some reason this story and the way the author wrote the character made me smile because it was handled in such a humorous fashion. I enjoyed her clumsy antics and crazy ideas. I enjoyed the historical tie-in to Buffalo Bill Cody as well. I thought it was funny how Charlotte was always trying to outwit or best her "competition" and that made the story shine. She was spunky and fun, and I could see how Alex would be intrigued by her. When she responded to his kisses, it made me smile. She simply didn't know what to say. They overpowered her so much that she lost some of that snark and wit. I liked that he had such an influence on her mood that he could soften her up with a gentle touch or heated kiss. Overall, this was a fun historical romance and I enjoyed it very much!
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.
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.
My thanks to Multnomah and Early Reviews for this book.This was a cute story about two unlikely people who choose to enter into an arranged marriage agreement which they plan to have annulled as soon as they are able. I liked but didn't really love any of the characters in this book. For being a Christian romance, it was pretty light on the Christian aspect.Overall I give it three stars for being a fun, light, uncomplicated read.
This is book 3 in the Women of the West series and was almost as good as book one (I haven't had the pleasure of reading book 2 yet). Once again I found myself laughing and smiling, especially through the first half of this story. The second half was good, just not as humorous. Charlotte Beck is a determined young woman who knows what she wants and doesn't want anyone to tell her what she can or cannot do. Charlotte's Dad, Daniel Beck (who I learned to admire in book one), is determined to see her settle down into a nice marriage, but that isn't how Charlotte sees her life playing out. Alex Hambly is an English gentleman who only wants to pursue his interest in astronomy, but finds it hard to do that while taking care of the family's near financial ruin. He crosses paths with Charlotte and her family and needless to say he and Charlotte don't exactly hit it off. But Danial Beck has a plan to help Alex out and hopefully help his daughter Charlotte out too. A marriage will provide Alex the funds he needs for his family and will provide Charlotte the independence from her father's authority. Though they agree to the marriage, neither one could anticipate the outcome of their decision. The interaction between Charlotte and Alex was at first very amusing. Charlotte's Dad, Daniel was also a wise and all knowing Dad who understood these two people very well. The second half of the story was not as funny, yet it showed that no matter how Charlotte tried to outsmart her Dad and her husband, she had to come to terms with her heart and letting it love completely. I would like to thank Library Thing Early Reviewers for sending me this book to review. It was a pleasure to read.
I loved the Charlotte Beck character, and really enjoyed this book.
I loved this book! I don't say that very often, but this was one of those that you can't put down because you can't wait to see what the characters will do next. Humorous and charming at the same time, Charlotte Beck wants an education and will do anything to get it. And she does get it along with an unwanted marriage arranged by her father. Set in the late 1800's, the story takes place in both London, England and Denver, Colorado.
Charlotte Beck is stubborn and definitely her own person. Protocol means nothing to her. Her father, Daniel Beck, is wanting to see her settled into a good marriage with a fine man. He thinks he's found that man in Alex Hambly. He seems to know how to handle Charlotte. Knowing that Alex's family is in need of financial help and knowing that Charlotte wants to go Wellesley College, Daniel strikes a deal with them. He'll agree to grant both what they want if they agree to marry. Alex and Charlotte agree to Daniel's terms but they strike a bargain of their own between each other. A bargain that Alex will annul their marriage as quickly as possible. Will they follow through with their bargain or will they decide that an inconvenient marriage might not be so bad?This was a really fun story. Right from the very beginning you become involved with the characters and they keep you entertained until the very end. Charlotte was a real hoot. Her feisty ways made you just want to keep reading to find out what she would do next. Alex was the consummate hero. I loved how he handled Charlotte but also the way he stepped up to the plate in handling his family as well. There were some moments between him and Charlotte that just made me sigh! I also enjoyed the character of Daniel Beck. He knew his daughter and knew what was best for her. I liked that he wasn't fool easily. This was the third book in a series but I didn't feel lost not having read the other two. If you enjoy a lighthearted, fun, feel good, uplifting story, then I suggest you pick up The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck. It will keep you smiling. A thank you goes to the LibraryThing for providing this complimentary copy for my review.
I really enjoyed this book. I would definitely read more of this author. The plot was unpredictable and had several twists and turns that kept my interest throughout the book.
This book was a fast=paced, lite read that put a little spin on the usual story of a marriage of convenience. I enjoyed the main character Charlotte Beck, a young girl growing up in the late 1800's who was more interested in knowledge and business than being a "proper lady". Charlotte's father believes that marriage will help to settle his daughter down, therefore makes a deal with her and Alex Hambly,an astronomer, that if they would marry, he would provide not only the funds for his daughter's education, but would also save the Hambly family from finacial scandal. And although both parties involved seemed to have a mutual dislike of each other, they agree to the arranged marriage, secretly vowing to anull it as quickly as possible. But...somewhere along the line there is a change of heart and Hambly decides not to end the marriage afterall. The characters were easy to like, the banter between the newlyweds was comical, and the relationship that Charlotte has with her father is endearing. Thid was a fun book to read, and would make a perfect "vacation" or beach book.
This book was very well-written and humorous, but it did seem to get a bit predictable at times. I think the one thing that kept me from overlooking the predictably and truly enjoying the book is the fact that Charlotte never seemed to overcome the woman's role of doing only what she is allowed to by the men in her life. I know that is how things really were then, but I guess for me it would have been nice if the ending leaned a little more towards Charlotte being the happy businesswoman and less like Charlotte the doting wife who will play at business, at least until the children start coming.Maybe I am being just over critical because this was a very good story and I will recommend this book to others. It really fascinated me how much was known about astronomy back then with only the most limited amounts of technology.It also fascinated me how easily marriages were arranged for the sole purpose of financial gain and/or a fancy title. It is obvious to me that being a rich girl was not always easy, you had money that men wanted, and no say, not really anyway, on who would get it (because it certainly wasn't going to be you!)Overall I enjoyed this book and what it had to offer.
Enjoyable read that keeps the pages turning. Charlotte is an American who is in Europe with her step-mother being "introduced" to society, but keeps finding herself in situations that that are not befitting a lady. Alex is having to take on family responsibilities to keep his family financially sound and in good society standing. A proposal is made for the two to marry so that they can both pursue what they are really interested in with the understanding that it would be for those reasons only, but soon find that they are better suited than once thought.
This is an easy-to-read story filled with humor and love. I highly recommend 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.
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.
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.
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.*
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.
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.