Saturday, July 2, 2011

Book Review: The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck

The Inconvenient Marriage of Charlotte Beck
A Novel
Kathleen Y'Barbo
This Western Historical Fiction takes place in the late 1800’s. Rich American girl, Charlotte, is spending time in England where she quite literally falls into the arms of Viscount Alex Hambly, the astronomer. Fate continues to bring Charlotte and Alex together. They dislike each other yet fancy each other with just as much intensity. The Hambly family is facing financial ruin, and Charlotte’s father wants to see her married to a respectable man. He makes an offer neither one can resist. Charlotte may go to the University and get her degree if she agrees to marry Alex. Daniel Beck will take care of the Hambly financial situation if Alex agrees to marry his daughter. Charlotte and Alex secretly plot to annul their marriage shortly after the wedding. But Alex’s heart is changed and he has no desire to annul his marriage, but rather, spend the rest of his life with Charlotte.

What I liked:

-It is a clean romance novel.

-I could not put the novel down, I found myself laughing aloud several times and smiling as I “listened” into Alex and Charlotte’s conversations. Somehow, although we really know little about whom these two really are deep inside, they really have great “chemistry” together and it is hard not to want to see them finally admit their feelings.

-It is a cute love story.

-It is a story that I would love to see as a movie! I think it would make a great romantic comedy, and it might be one of those where the movie is better than the book…

What I did not like:

-There are several characters that come into the story as part of what would seem a major plot line yet they quickly disappear leaving one wondering what happened to them. Like Alex’s twin brother.

-Characters were shallow, lacking in depth. Who are they? How do they feel and why? Why is Charlotte insecure? Why does she not want to get married? Why is Alex angry with his family? Or is he?

-Some significant elements of family relationships were not explored or explained throughout the book. For example, we know from the beginning that Charlotte lost her mother in some way. We also know that she is not to ask or talk about her and Charlotte is quite affected by this. Yet, we never know why. The resolution to the issue with her mother was quite disappointing. All of a sudden, there were connections from several characters going back to the mother only to be resolved in a quick exchange of words and moving on too easily.

In general:

-This is really just a story about Charlotte and Alex liking each other and pretending that they don’t. The rest of the story is weak in plot and characters.

-It is not a Christian book. If you are looking for a Karen Kingsbury book where the characters are rooted in faith and talk about their relationship with God, this is not it. It is a clean book and a cute story, but do not look for a Christian element to it. Sure, Alex is a “man of prayer” but it is not a relationship with God that we see throughout the book. The few times “faith” is brought up seems forced into the story as it is not a main element or consistent with the characters. Charlotte’s dad does pray for the newlywed couple, a prayer that makes Alex decide he will not annul the marriage and do what he can to stay married. But that’s it.

-Overall I liked it, but I found myself closing the book and wanting more, almost like I had not read the entire story and feeling like some pretty significant issues were never talked about.

-I thought it was a fun read, and it had me turning the pages late into the night. Nevertheless, I would warn the reader not to expect solid writing with great plot and character development, as fun as it was and as much as it grabbed me, I felt let down as I read the last page.

-In her acknowledgements, Y’Barbo writes to her husband, and we learn she finished the book while on their honeymoon, where she was tempted to rename the book “The Never Ending Story” Information that made me understand maybe why her book resolution was so weak, and so disappointing. But I still give her some credit, because Alex and Charlotte sure had great chemistry and they made me laugh several times.

You can read the first chapter of the book HERE as well as see some more information about the book from the publsiher's website.

I received this book for free by Waterbrook Multnomah publishers in exchange for my honest review.


  1. How do you become one of their reviewers?

  2. Elizabeth, it is part of the blogging for books program of waterbrook mulnomah. If you go to their site you will find the infomration and it is really easy to sign up(I have the link on the blogpost) you can click on their blogging for books and get signed up.


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