Wednesday, July 9, 2014

A Match of Wits By Jen Turano Book Review

Ladies of Distinction // Book #4
By Jen Turano
{Review by Bethany}
Source: Review book provided by the publisher
Publisher: Bethany House
Number of Pages: 345
ISBN: 0764211277
Publication Date: July 1st, 2014
My Rating: 2.5 out of 5 stars
// Book Synopsis //
{Taken from Good Reads}
"After his departure from New York two years ago to meet up with his almost-fiancee, Zayne Beckett is the last person Agatha Watson wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Quite pathetically bedraggled, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and sent back East to his family. Although she no longer has feelings for him, Agatha realizes--by hook or by crook--she'll have to be the one to get the obstinate man home.
Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere and is prepared to drag his heels all the way home . . . until he finds himself slipping back into the familiar banter of his former friendship with Agatha. Once they arrive in New York, Zayne realizes Agatha's determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies, and he hopes to repay her help with some help of his own. When she rebuffs all his attempts to prove himself a knight in shining armor, the lengths to which they'll go to win this battle of wills lead to some memorable antics.
Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth--until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?"
// Bethany's Book Review //
Prior to reading A Match of Wits, I had read the first book in the Ladies of Distinction series, A Change of Fortune which I borrowed from the library. I also read her novella Gentleman of Her Dreams (A HUGE favorite!). While I don't think that A Match of Wits was the right book for me, I still enjoyed it as a nice one-time read that was very humorous and light.
 A Match of Wits was a very funny book that had me laughing out loud! It was both funny and witty, and I loved that aspect of Jen's writing style. The opening sentence was very intriguing, and grabbed my attention from the very beginning. However I felt like that attention was short lived. While Jen does have a very humorous writing style, I felt like when there wasn't a "big scene" involving a lot of action, that the rest of it, making for a large majority of the novel, seemed rather shallow. When there was a big scene, the book would grab my attention, but the rest of the book felt slow and stretched out and the story-line at those times felt simple. If it weren't for the witty characters and funny scenes involving the beloved pig Matilda who created several humorous parts, then I probably would have not liked this novel at all.
 Aside from the main portion of the story feeling shallow and stretched out to me, there were a few other things that really disappointed me. The writer would often add aspects to the novel and characters that I felt were border-line inappropriate. While it never did get inappropriate, I felt like it was just about to go over the edge and it really disappointed me to find these things in a professed Christian novel, as it gives the wrong signal to non-believers. 
 For example, often the author would lead the male character's silent thoughts to how he was physically attracted to the female lead, and right as he would be about to admit the physical aspect to the attraction and what he felt when around the female, he'd stop - though still leading your thoughts to finish his. Also, the idea of brothels was brought up often and in a nonchalant way as if it were perfectly normal, and a respectable thing-which is not the case.
 Also, the main female lead was often too spunky for her own good, and the author describes her "hiking up her skirt" several times-so much so that I noticed how often such an action had come up. Just like the brothel being dealt with a nonchalant attitude, the same attitude was adopted with the female lifting up her skirts-it was described in a way that made it sound like a perfectly appropriate thing to do around men, and in public. 
 Finally, there was one scene where the main character was taking a bubble bath when a man walked into the bathroom and made no hurry to leave. I was hoping that scene would be quick and dealt with quickly, but the man lingered and didn't at all act as if she was undressed and that he should leave immediately. I just felt like all these scenes in the story were dealt with in the wrong manner. While I normally don't get annoyed with small bits like this in a novel, I found that this was a very big theme in the book and it kept me from being able to enjoy the story. While nothing was ever explicit, I felt like the manner and attitude shouldn't have been so light in such situations.
Sadly, this just wasn't the book for me. While I did enjoy the witty aspect of the story I felt like it was too light and the only thing that I actually did like in the novel. I think the overall "feel" of the book just wasn't my style. I was really hoping I'd enjoy this novel, but sadly is wasn't for me.
DISCLAIMER: I received a complementary copy of A Match of Wits from the publisher for the sole purpose of this review. I was not paid to write this review, and all thoughts expressed in the review are my own, completely honest and unbiased.

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