Working as a paid companion may be quite commonplace, but Miss Gertrude Cadwalader’s eccentric employer makes her job unpredictable, to say the least. She finds herself carrying out an array of highly unusual tasks, including wearing peculiar outfits and returning items the woman pilfered. But when the wealthy Mrs. Sinclair catches Gertrude sneaking around the Sinclair yacht with some of the missing items in her possession, she immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion.
Shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair is caught in the middle of a misunderstanding between his mother and Gertrude, but he can’t help coming to his friend’s defense. Even as he hopes their friendship might become something more, Harrison is unprepared for the outlandish escapades that seem to follow the lovely, anything-but-ordinary Gertrude at every turn.
This book came to me for very kindly for review from Bethany House for December. I started reading it immediately when i got it, having been brought in by the synopsis and the beautiful cover. However with the wedding and honeymoon things got a little behind, and so I JUST finished it yesterday.
The story started out action packed, establishing the relationships between the main characters right away. You are immediately set up with the conflict between Gertrude and her boss, Mrs. Davenport as well as the relationship arc between Gertrude and Harrison.
I’ve not found it often with Christian fiction to have an overall tone of light heartedness, or downright siliness to situation and characters. In that regard, this book was a surprise! You don’t often have the potential of older lady kleptomaniacs or adults hiding in closets to talk in secret. Some of the other endearing things in this novel include: a wildly dressing, color-blind hero, the hero and his best friend taking love tips from romance novels and women not afraid of physically taking down a villian. The settings used in the book were all very well described, and the voice of the book kept you engaged and entertained.
I did have a few issues with this book. As I said, being naughty and only judging this book by the cover, (and apparently not that closely at that!) I was not aware that this was the 2nd book in the “Apart from the Crowd” series. This had me feeling a little lost as to the vast amount of characters and their importance to the plot. The dialogue, although mostly well written, had a lot of filler and had me wanting to skip ahead at times. ALso the characters of the 2 widows seemed like a plot device to ‘fix everything’ in the last few chapters of the book. The set up to the HEA was wonderful, but the actual end of the book left me feeling a little wanting – and had me confused as to whether the focus of the book should have been the eccentric Mrs. Davenport, rather than Gertrude.
In the end, I gave this book a 4/5. The voice of the book was very good, and once I realized this was meant to be a little on the silly/light hearted side it did get a few giggles from me. The ladies in the book were strong and sassy, and the men in the book were happy to have them so. Even with having a little trouble keeping all of the characters straight, all of the loose ends were tied up at the end, and I will be interested in checking out more by Jen Turano. I have requested the 1st book in the series from my library. I’ll be curious to see if this changes my perception at all.