Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Book Review: "Love On Assignment" by Cara Lynn James

Summary from BN.com: During the summer of 1900 Charlotte Hale, a native Newporter and secretary for the Rhode Island Reporter, accepts an undercover assignment as temporary governess to Daniel Wilmont's children in order to secretly gather evidence against him. As he helps her rediscover God, Charlotte learns that Daniel is an honorable man.

They unexpectedly fall in love despite their different backgrounds and social positions. Charlotte soon realizes she must defend Daniel against the forces set against him-a willful student with a romantic crush and the newspaper editor determined to destroy his reputation.

The Gilded Age time period is one of my favorite time periods to read about. I can't really explain it but I love the history that happened during that time as well as the fashions of that age. Charlotte's story of working undercover as a governess has been used in other books before but I really liked her spin of the story. She's actually good with the children and with the other members of the household. Even though she's also on the lookout for dirt for her assignment, she takes her job as a governess seriously and does what she can to bring the children and Daniel together. She's very professional about her job and even though there is slight attraction to her employer she does not let it interfere with her job at all. On the other hand, I felt Daniel got a bit over affectionate and caused Charlotte to feel uncomfortable with his actions. Personally if I had been him, I would have checked her references BEFORE hiring her. I felt he was a bit too dependent on his mother for my liking.

While I enjoyed the story, there were some parts of the book that I felt to be a bit preachy. Daniel's excerpts from his newspaper articles were a bit boring to read. In fact I found myself skimming over them whenever they would come up. I'm sure that during the time period and if I was actually a character in the story I might have found them interesting, but as a reader of the book they seemed to just be taking up space in the book. I felt that they read like mini sermons and I don't really like reading those when I read a fiction book.

The other thing about this book is that overall the story is very predictable. That's not to say that it's not enjoyable. It's just one of those books where even though you don't know the details of how it's going to happen, you know what is going to happen in the end. That being said, even though I could see everything happen chapters away, I really enjoyed reading Charlotte and Daniel's story. The nicest part is that there are no stereotypes in this story. Charlotte isn't a busybody trying to get the dirt for her story and Daniel, while being strong in his faith, isn't a turn or burn preacher. This is the second book in the Ladies of Summerhill series but it reads completely as a standalone. Previous characters from the first book make cameo appearances but their previous story doesn't need to be reading in order to understand this one. Overall, an enjoyable read and I look forward to reading the third book in the series.

Love On Assignment by Cara Lynn James is published by Thomas Nelson (2011)

This review copy was provided for a blog tour with TLC Book Tours

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