Monday, 17 June 2013

Book Review: Unrivaled, by Siri Mitchell

Lucy Kendall always assumed she'd help her father in his candy-making business, creating recipes and aiding him in their shared passion. But after a year traveling in Europe, Lucy returns to 1910 St. Louis to find her father unwell and her mother planning to sell the struggling candy company. Determined to help, Lucy vows to create a candy that will reverse their fortunes. 

St. Louis newcomer Charlie Clarke is determined to help his father dominate the nation's candy industry. Compromise is not an option when the prize is a father's approval, and falling in love with a business rival is a recipe for disaster when only one company can win. Will these two star-crossed lovers let a competition that turns less than friendly sour their dreams?

--image and summary from

Two of my favourite things are candy and Europe, so when I read the summary of this book for the Bethany House Blogger Reviews Program, I jumped on the chance to read it. Unfortunately, this book did not live up to my expectations. I got halfway through it and started skimming, so I read enough to tell me this isn't my type of book.

With the characters, I can usually forgive un-likeable ones if there's enough story to keep my attention. This book was written from two first-person perspectives, those of Lucy and Charlie, so it was very much a character-driven novel. This makes it difficult to keep reading when you sort of loathe one of the characters. I thought Charlie was a cool chap, though his voice seemed not too different from Lucy's. Lucy, however, got on my nerves, with no redeeming qualities to endear me to her. She seemed very selfish and slightly stupid, not asking the right questions or realizing that maybe she was a tad obsessive with the family business. Perhaps she should have been more concerned for her father's health.

What really annoyed me, though, is that apart from his past, Charlie is the good guy here. I can't tell you how many Christian romances make it about the girl getting over herself in order to win the man's love. It's very difficult to find a fresh, original story about a man getting over a character flaw--and not just a dark past that makes him more a victim than a sinner. I'm sure such stories exist out there in the Christian market, but I've yet to come across one. It's not just in the Christian market, either. It seems that the onus is continually on the woman to change, while men just need to escape the environment that shaped them.

Anyways, that rant is over. It's something that has been on my mind for a while now, simply brewing.

Another thing that made me unable to finish this book was that, as well-described as the world was, nothing seemed to happen. I thought there would be more intrigue and danger and rivalry, but there wasn't. It was just Lucy getting herself into trouble.

BUT--this is all just my opinion. I've just gotten into reading Christian historical  so maybe I just haven't gotten into the rhythm yet. Take everything I've written with a grain of salt. The only way to know whether this book is for you is to try it out yourself. No matter what, it is a clean, light read, so there's no harm in giving it a look. 

3 stars!

I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House in exchange for an honest review as part of their Blogger Review Program. Thank you for the opportunity!