Friday, April 12, 2013

"Unrivaled" Review

Lucy Kendall always dreamed of helping her father in the family’s candy-making business. She and her father both have a passion for creating recipes for candy that are beyond compare. When Lucy returns to St. Louis in the fall of 1910 after a year-long tour of Europe, she discovers that her father has been struggling with his health and that her mother plans to sell the company. Against the advice of her mother and without her father’s knowledge, Lucy sets out to make the best candy St. Louis has ever tasted.
After discovering that her son has been involved in some questionable business practices, Charlie Clarke’s mother sends him to St. Louis to work for the father who abandoned him years before. Upon arriving and discovering that his father is king of the candy industry, Charlie must navigate the baffling world of the St. Louis elite. It doesn’t help that the girl who has caught his eye is the daughter of his father’s rival.
As the competition intensifies, Lucy and Charlie’s attraction to each other deepens as well. Are they willing to risk everything for the dream of being the best?
To begin with, it took me a while to wrap my head around the fact that the ‘candy war’ presented in this book was such a big deal. To me it seemed trivial. I had to remind myself that candy during this time period was somewhat of a luxury – one that was becoming more and more a part of the popular culture – and that big companies and advertising was coming into its own. It actually sort of reminded me of the Coke/Pepsi wars of the 1980s, except on a smaller scale.
The events that occurred in this novel, however, sometimes seemed as silly as those cola wars so many years ago. At times I grew weary of Lucy’s immaturity as she tried anything and everything in order to save the business. What was supposed to be portrayed as passion came off as desperation. This made for good story-telling and plot movement, but as far as personal growth, I felt it was a bit weak. It seemed as if Lucy ultimately recognized that she needed to put her complete faith in God, but I would have liked for that area of the novel to have been explored more throughout instead of just at the end. Charlie’s growth over the course of the novel was a bit better. His inner struggles felt more realistic, and his actions were a bit more understandable.
As for the romance between Lucy and Charlie, it was nice and sweet (I had to throw that in there somewhere…), and that was about it. The progression of that part of the story was somewhat disjointed, but it was enjoyable.
In this novel, the reader is given both sides of the story (Lucy’s and Charlie’s) but each side is written in first person. At first I thought that this would be really confusing, but the author was somehow able to keep each voice distinct so that I never got confused. The writing is sometimes laugh-out-loud hilarious, which is always fun.
The historical aspect of this story was spot on. It was fun to fall into the world of candy making and to see inside a candy factory in the early part of the 20th Century. It was really interesting to see just how much time and effort and thought went into developing just one kind of candy.
Even though I felt the spiritual aspects of this novel didn’t quite go deep enough and that the romance was somewhat shallow, it was still a fun read. I actually kind of felt like I needed a break from some of the heavier stuff that I have been reading lately, so this book came at just the right time for me.
Unrivaled is a light historical romance that takes the world of sweet treats to a whole new level.
I will give Unrivaled … 3 BookWorms.


by Siri Mitchell
Bethany House Publishers
Release date: March 1, 2013

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Bethany House Publishers. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this is accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: "Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising."

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