Monday, October 17, 2016

Jen Turano - A Change of Fortune

Lady Eliza Sumner is on a mission. Her fortune was the last thing she had left after losing her father, her fiancé, and her faith. Now, masquerading as Miss Eliza Sumner, governess-at-large, she's determined to find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London.
Mr. Hamilton Beckett, much to his chagrin, is the catch of the season, and all the eyes of New York society—all the female ones, at least—are on him. He has no plans to marry again, especially since his hands are full keeping his business afloat while raising his two children alone.
Eliza's hapless attempts to regain her fortune unexpectedly put her right in Hamilton's path. The discovery of a common nemesis causes them to join forces and, before she knows it, Eliza has a whole retinue of people helping her. Eliza's determination not to trust anyone weakens when everyone's antics and bumbling efforts to assist her make her wonder if there might be more important things than her fortune and independence.
When all of Hamilton's and Eliza's best-laid plans fall by the wayside, it will take a riot of complications for them to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.

Comment: I got this book months ago somewhere and it seemed a good book to add to the list because I envisioned a clean but romantic story and as the author has quite the back list, if this was a positive experience, there would be lots more to be read. Sadly, although this book had its moments, it wasn't as spectacular as I imagined.

This is the story of Eliza Sumner, a lady from England who travels to America to find the thief who stole her fortune and inheritance. Eliza travels alone, she finds employment as a governess in a wealthy family's home and is determined to hear about the identity of the people who stole her if the name is mentioned.
Hamilton Beckett is an important and rich man and many young ladies would be interested in marrying him, despite his small children. But Hamilton fears any woman marrying him would be like his late wife, who seemed not to love him. But Eliza is different and when it seems they might have an enemy in common, there's no way to avoid getting to know her...

There are many interesting moments in this novel and I liked several of them, but when weighting in all elements, there was just one little extra comedy layer that I feel wasn't well used.
I understand this is a clean romance and one way of not focusing on the intimacy or the relationship is to use drama or comedy. Comedy it was here but there were just too many details to point in that direction that I feel missed the mark.

Eliza is a determined young lady but her behavior doesn't seem very proper if we are to believe she was an aristocrat. Ok, the fact she traveled alone had merit, purpose and allowed for interesting situations to happen, but it's not realistic and I found that was one detail that was taken a bit too far.
If characters always behaved properly in historicals maybe some romances wouldn't happen so I can't complain of everything but it did seem weird no one would go with her, even if her situation had been as dire as it was.
Hamilton is an interesting hero, obviously certain things in which he is the focus are too cliché to make this story amazing, but...overall, he was a good character, and his relationship with Eliza interesting to see develop, even if nothing explicit ever happens.

The secondary characters have interesting details on their personalities that make me interested in learning more about them but the expectation of having to find unlikely plots or situations and going through a writing style not always appealing makes me happy to stay where I am with this series.
There were just too many scenes that I struggled to imagine happening. Something abut how things are presented stories me as too unlikely and I just can't not think about it.

The comedy aspect comes from the situations and scenes where the characters find themselves trying to explain things even absentminded people could see through. I'm not talking about well placed private jokes os saves from difficult situations that gain a funny layer, but really silly things and dialogues that got on my nerves. I don't think the intend is for this to be funny although I understand why some things can look like it, but many scenes seemed staged and that gets the fun out of it for me.

All in all, this wasn't so bad but maybe I'm being nice because there were certainly parts where I felt like it was too much effort when the results weren't very realistic. Then two things happened that made the plot look even more unlikely. I swear, the author thought about many cliches and used them without really thinking how it would look in the rush to surprise the readers.
I think this is a case of too many ideas, a not well defined enough goal and a way to put a style not best suited to the plot in the page.
But gorgeous cover, some authors are very lucky in that regard.
Grade: 5/10

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