Tuesday, January 31, 2012

An Unexpected Gentleman by Alissa Johnson

If I were to write a summary of this book, it would be this:

Adelaide Ward is desperate to marry. She only has 7 pounds to her name, a teenage sister and an infant nephew to take care of, and house falling down on her.

She's worked hard to gain Sir Robert's attentions -- and she knows he's on the brink of proposing to her.

Except --

She's getting a bad case of doubt.

And Connor Brice enters the picture quite conveniently -- and suddenly. And her life's turned upside down and inside out.

The basic story is fairly straightforward -- except that the story is weighed down with a lot of details.

There is the revenge plot that involves Sir Robert and Connor Brice -- and Adelaide is part of the revenge. (This part I did not understand: When Adelaide discovers that each man intends her to be a piece of their individual revenge, she doesn't walk away -- but continues to entertain the courtship from both men.)

There's Adelaide's brother as well -- and his "contribution" to Adelaide's desperate situation. (And his involvement with Sir Robert.)

And there's Adelaide -- and her unfulfilled dreams. (That remain unfulfilled.)

There's a lot of deception and revelations coming from both Sir Robert and Connor -- while it was clear that Sir Robert is the villain -- but Connor isn't too far from the mark also.

And Adelaide isn't that sympathetic a character either -- early in the story, Johnson establishes how tragic and desperate Adelaide's situation is. But, as the story progresses, she gets slightly whiny -- and annoying. She's seen herself as a martyr and is intent on continuing along those lines. (I really wanted to love Adelaide and tried to remember that she's in a difficult situation but I actually loved her sister Isobel more.)

There's a lot of good points to Johnson's novel -- the writing is intricate and invites a reader to read closely and carefully. The banter between the sisters is wonderfully written -- and reveals so much about their character. I also loved the appearance of Freddie and Lilly from Nearly a Lady.



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