Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell

Lucy Kendall, a beautiful, privileged young woman, returns from a whirlwind year in Europe with her aunt and uncle. She feels the trip has changed her life, but nothing like what transpires when she returns to her home in St. Louis, Missouri. She finds during her absence her father has suffered a heart attack and is bedfast, all her peers have married except one, and her mother wants to sell their candy business, City Confectionery.
During her trip she gathered the most luscious candies she could find, planning to use them to create the best candy recipe ever to save her father’s struggling business. She begs her mother to give her a chance. Her mother gives her one month to work nothing short of a miracle. The catch is she must fulfill her obligations in society as debutante which is further complicated by being elected as Queen of Love and Beauty.
Charlie’s Clarke’s life was the exact opposite of Lucy’s, abandoned by his father at a very young age, living in poverty and becoming involved in crime to support his mother and siblings. He is sent to live with his very wealthy father whom he has not seen in 15 years. His father just happens to be the owner of Standard Manufacturing, the nemesis and competitor that is driving Lucy’s family out of business. Story also has it that Mr. Clarke conned Lucy’s dad out of his original recipe for Royal Taffy, the number one selling candy of the time! With bitterness toward his father, and the social shock suddenly being thrown into high society, Charlie is struggling this is own issues.
As if making all the public appearances and working on her candy recipe isn’t enough, things get even more complicated for Lucy when she meets Charlie (not knowing who he is) and finds herself falling in love with him. Charlie’s feelings match hers. That is until Lucy finds out whom he really is!
Lucy goes into full blown attack mode to save their company. Charlie not wanting to comply but desiring his father’s praise, does everything he can to stop her every effort. The ensuing battle is hilarious, with each one trying to outmaneuver the other. All along, they are fighting the strong attraction for one another and growing more frustrated by the moment.
While this book is a wonderfully entertaining, filled with romance and a lots of humor; it offers much more. Historically I was able to see a blossoming, and rapidly changing era. Ms. Mitchell allowed me to see the early 20th century through the eyes of both the wealthy and the poor. It held a surprising reminder of the great gulf that lay between the two social groups during that time. The conditions in the factories and the child labor was appalling enough without realzing how some business owners had no compassion or concern for their workers, especially the children.
As the story unfolds I saw Lucy and Charlie mature and grow as young adults; each one being forced to harshly examine their self. They faced their character flaws and faults, but most importantly desired to change. Lucy was a beautiful example of how we can become so focused on our desires we can sacrifice our values and end up making impulsive and sinful choices all in the name of ‘winning”. Charlie reveals that our past does not define who we are in the present, and we must not only seek God’s forgiveness but also forgive ourselves.
You will laugh, cry and even feel angry at the escapades of Lucy and Charlie. The book is 391 pages but you will find it difficult to put it down, and when you come to the end, you will be wishing for more! A very good book.
I received this book free from Bethany House Publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

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