Thursday, September 14, 2017

An Inconvenient Beauty - Review

An Inconvenient Beauty (Hawthorne House, # 4)

By: Kristi Ann Hunter

Published: September 5th 2017 by Bethany House Publishers

384 pages

Genre: Christian, Historical Fiction

Source: Publisher via NetGalley (Thank you!!)

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Goodreads description--Award-Winning Regency Romance Author on the Rise

Griffith, Duke of Riverton, likes order, logic, and control, and he naturally applies this rational approach to his search for a bride. He's certain Miss Frederica St. Claire is the perfect wife for him, but while Frederica is strangely elusive, he can't seem to stop running into her stunningly beautiful cousin, Miss Isabella Breckenridge.

Isabella should be enjoying her society debut, but with her family in difficult circumstances, her uncle will only help them if she'll use her beauty to assist him in his political aims. Already uncomfortable with this agreement, the more she comes to know Griffith, the more she wishes to be free of her unfortunate obligation.

Will Griffith and Isabella be able to set aside their pride and face their fears in time to find their own happily-ever-after?

You guys, I've been in a huge book slump. I only read two books last month total. One was a re-read and one wasn't fiction. However, I knew the release date was coming up for An Inconvenient Beauty, and I just had this feeling that this would be a perfect read to help me out of my slump. I ended up seeing this on NetGalley for review, but somehow I missed when it was initially uploaded so I was concerned that I might have missed my opportunity to request it. I was ultimately approved to read and review An Inconvenient Beauty and I started it immediately. And just like I suspected, I had no problems blowing through it.

I was excited to read Griffith's story as he's been a central figure in the previous books in the series. Griffith has been everyone's rock. He's the one everyone else comes to for advice. Normally I would have been kind of put off by Griffith's idea that he could approach finding a wife logically. His family has a tradition of marrying for love despite the customs of the time to marry for practicality. But Griffith thinks he can do both. Considering he watched Trent (his younger brother) go from resenting his own marriage and wife to being deeply in love in An Uncommon Courtship (which was actually the first book in this series that I read), it kind of made sense that he would think that much of his ability to love his future wife would be a conscious decision.

Griffith's in kind of a unique situation. Because he's a duke, most everyone he meets wants something from him. Men want him on their side for political maneuvers and favors. Mothers want to marry him off to their daughters. The daughters also want to secure his hand. And even though he loves his family immensely, he's trying to keep them from meddling and giving him a hard time through the process of finding a wife. This makes trusting others and their motivations a bit difficult. And Griffith takes his responsibilities as Duke of Riverton very seriously. To make this worse, Griffith's made a habit of not dancing at social events except with his family so to dance with anyone outside of his mother and sisters would be equivalent to announcing his engagement or at the very least announcing his intention to court a particular lady. So Griffith attempts to go about his courting in other ways.

I was a little confused in the beginning about what was going on with Isabella. What you need to know is that she's half Scottish. Her mother was English aristocracy but cut all ties when she fell in love with a Scottish sheep farmer. Unfortunately an accident has left her father unable to take care of the farm. Isabella's uncle sees an opportunity to take advantage of her beauty and her family's poor financial situation to exploit her for his purposes. Isabella is to attract as many suitors as possible in order to help her uncle promote his political agenda. Yet, the Duke of Riverton is the one person she's not supposed to attract as his attentions to her would scare away too many other suitors.

Since Griffith has set his eyes upon Isabella's cousin, Fredericka, and Isabella has been told not to encourage the duke, these two have an opportunity to get to know each other without actually wanting anything from the other. Griffith's decision to court Freddie throws Isabella and Griffith into each other's company frequently. Especially when Freddie seems to keep escaping Griffith's attempts.

Now that I've told you too much of the story itself...I really enjoyed this one. I'm not sure I can say that this was my favorite in the series, but it wasn't my least favorite either. I was hooked into seeing if these two could figure out how they really feel for each other and work around the obstacles in their path. There can often be conflicts that are so simple to overcome yet the couple splits over something simple. This wasn't really the case. Things weren't exactly simple and where in other books I get frustrated because the couple just won't communicate with each other, in An Inconvenient Beauty I could respect Isabella for not just going to Griffith to solve all of her problems.

Favorite quotes:

-Amazing how one decision could drive a person so far from where they thought they'd never stray.

-Sometimes truth hurt. And Isabella was glad Freddie was willing to tell her the truth even as she resented the uttering of it.

An Inconvenient Beauty was exactly what I needed. The Christian aspects in the background as well as the culture of the time period kept me from being annoyed with the things that have been bothering me with modern day literature. Both of those things also ensured the story would be clear of language and sex scenes. And Kristi Ann Hunter has proven to pull me in and hook me into the story and characters. An Inconvenient Beauty was no different. I also appreciated and enjoyed the historical aspects that were used in this story to actually further the plot and not just there for decoration. An Inconvenient Beauty gets 4 Stars. Have you read An Inconvenient Beauty? What did you think? Let me know!