Women’s rights is a popular historical subject and Jen Turano uses the upshots of said subject as fodder for a series of books in which each of her heroines are confounding entities to the men in their lives and are products of the era – they find trouble around every corner and grow into a product of the movement rather than an individual. Trouble’s name in this scenario is Arabella Beckett.
A MOST PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCE STORY: A young woman ahead of her time whose wealthy family wishes her safe return to New York after travelling with the women’s suffrage movement just to prove she as more than a pretty face – a girl who could survive on her own. Enter private investigator Theodore Wilder – he is one arrogant man whom Arabella cannot escape fast enough. This was one book that left me anticipating what was inside. Unfamiliar with Jen’s style, the plots sounded “cute” and of course, in true inspirational fiction fashion, the ending of herein is complete and leaves readers in a bubble of happiness. Though that condition is usually “enough” for me, this book tipped the scale on the lower end of being entertaining; there wasn’t enough in the story to captivate me.
Proper etiquette of the 1800’s escapes me given that I am not a scholar of the era other than what common sense dictates would have been proper, however the habit of using characters formal titles became monotonous, oversharing information that wasn’t necessary – particularly annoying was the frequent use of it in “casual” conversation. It was probably not proper for an unrelated man to call a married woman anything but “Lady Summer” but I found it tedious to continuously read Theodore referencing her as Lady Eliza Summer or being so formal with the likes of Arabella and vice versa. Also seemingly misplaced is the dialogue of a
five-year-old; she may be cute as a button but her conversational skills are beyond that of a child. Multiple uses of the same adjectives (“peculiar,” “sputter”) in sentences was additionally grating.
Within the first chapter, Theodore and Arabella meet and what could have been a really cute meeting turns out more stilted and well, awkward. Perhaps that is what Jen wished to impart though the result wasn’t fun or investing to read. Like Arabella believes that women have the right to vote, Theodore also has some radical beliefs about the purpose of the fairer sex. I found some of his early narratives equally as annoying, same as a female reader I did Arabella’s. There’s a meeting point somewhere in their two, separate opinions; sadly it took a LONG time to get there.‘A Most Peculiar Circumstance’ by Jen Turano #FWarchives Click To Tweet
CONCLUSIONS: A MOST PECULIAR CIRCUMSTANCE
Like any avid reader, I don’t like putting a book down, and feeling… unhappiness. Instead of writing an entire closing paragraph on the specific opinions I had about the female lead – because I have no desire to start a debate on that subject, I will just say that what she so passionately believed in seemed to mold her to a new kind of societies conforming which puzzles and seems a counteractive, moot character element. There is a difference between being an independent thinker and being able to take care of yourself as a single woman, and being foolish. Arabella never did measure up to the former’s standards. I wanted to like this book but three-fourths of the way through, I have to be honest, I no longer “cared” about the characters. Of course, “knowing” things would end fine probably played a factor but the interim left me bored.
There’s a subtle pre-cursors to what’s coming next in this series and I’ll admit to being curious about it. I won’t say that A Most Peculiar Circumstance is unforgettable… it just didn’t suit. Given its rating on book sites, if you are a fan of the era, any reader will probably enjoy this one! There are some uncommon flaws though if some elements were altered, it could have been a nice story. There is promise, it’s just not fully drawn out.
About the Book:
Author: Jen Turano
Publisher: Bethany House
Publication Date: 2013
Series: Ladies of Distinction, Book 2
Genre: Fiction; Historical
Rating: 3 out of 5
Sincere thanks to the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes