A Most Unsuitable Match. Stephanie Grace Whitson. 2011. Bethany House. 336 pages.
Kneeling before the tombstone, eighteen-year-old Fannie Rousseau retrieved the scrub brush from the water bucket she'd just settled in the grass. First, she attacked the dried bird droppings on the back side of the stone, then moved on to the deep grooves carving the name Rousseau into the cool gray surface. She'd just finished cleaning out the second s when a familiar voice sounded from across the cemetery.
I just LOVED, LOVED, LOVED Stephanie Grace Whitson's Sixteen Brides which I reviewed last year. So I was super-excited to read her newest novel, A Most Unsuitable Match. And I must say it did not disappoint! It was just as wonderful.
The heroine of this historical romance is Miss Fannie Rousseau of St. Charles, Missouri. The novel opens soon after her mother's death. Though her mother's death is more recent, it is the loss of her father that has broken her heart or spirit. Now with her mother's death, she's being forced to wake up a bit, to realize that she needs to start taking charge of her life, to start managing the house--or managing the staff--and looking into her financial situation. The family lawyer isn't one for talking--or at least not talking honestly and openly with her. His advice has been--for months and months--just get married, when you get married your husband will take care of you and your finances, I'll work with him about your estate. Needless to say, Miss Fannie does NOT want to take his advice. And she doesn't want him to pick out her husband for her.
After a failed burglary attempt, Miss Fannie is urged to gather her mother's jewels to put in a safe under her lawyer's keeping. While going through her mother's things, she discovers a secret. She finds over twenty letters from a woman, Edith LeClerc, and a photograph. It seems her mother has a twin sister. Why didn't her mother ever tell her about her aunt? Why keep something so big a secret? She takes the photograph and the letters to her lawyer, and his advice is whatever you do, don't try to contact her. She may want your money if she finds out her sister is dead. And besides there is probably a good reason your mother wanted nothing to do with her. So leave it alone.
While she went into the lawyer's office wanting to write her aunt a letter at her last known address, she leaves his office almost determined to do something more! What if she were to go looking for her aunt herself....
So Miss Fannie Rousseau and Hannah, her faithful servant, a woman who has almost always been dearer to her than her mother, decide to travel by steamship. On the ship, they meet a young man, Mr. Samuel Beck, and thus this romance begins. He is on a quest as well. He's looking for someone too.
I loved this one. I just LOVED this one. I loved the characters. I loved the story. I though Miss Fannie was just a lovely heroine. And I loved seeing her grow up a bit on her journey. I loved seeing her deepen her faith as she gave up her comfortable life and trusted God to lead her. I loved Sam Beck (or Brother Sam). I loved seeing him grow into his mission and discover his gift for reaching people right where they are with the gospel. And I also loved so many of the characters we meet along the way, Lamar, Doctor Lamotte and his son, Patrick, Honest Abe Valley, etc.
This one is set in 1869/1870.
© 2011 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews