Monday, January 14, 2013

Book Review: The Husband List

The Husband List
Author: Janet Evanovich & Dorien Kelly
Publication Date: January 8, 2013
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Based on the family from the bestselling Love In A Nutshell, the story of an heiress longing to marry for love or not at all

From The New York Times bestselling writing duo Janet Evanovich and Dorien Kelly, comes the story of a young woman’s search for true love. Caroline Maxwell would like nothing more than to join her brother, Eddie, and his friend, Jack Culhane, on their adventures. While Jack and Eddie are off seeing the world, buying up businesses and building wildly successful careers, Caroline's stuck at home frightening off the men her mother hopes will ask for her hand in marriage. When her mother sets her sights on the questionable Lord Bremerton as a possible suitor, Caroline struggles with her instincts and the true nature of her heart. She longs for adventure, passion, love, and most of all . . . Jack Culhane, an unconventional Irish-American bachelor with new money and no title. A completely unacceptable suitor in the eyes of Caroline's mother. But Caroline's dark hair, brilliant eyes and quick wit have Jack understanding just why it is people fall in love and get married.

Set in New York City in 1894, The Husband List is an American gilded age romantic mystery. It evokes memories of the lavish lifestyles and social expectations of the Vanderbilts and Rockefellers—a time when new money from the Americas married Old World social prestige and privilege. Dresses by Worth, transcontinental ocean voyages, lavish parties, a little intrigue, and a lot of romance await in The Husband List.

 “‘If you are to wear a coronet, you must look as though you were born to it,’ Mama said. That and ‘you are this family’s crown jewel’ were two of her mother’s favorite things to say. Caroline found both statements as uncomfortable as the corset currently mashing her innards.” – Hardback copy pg. 4

“Where was a slice of chocolate cake when a girl needed one?” – Hardback Copy pg. 6

“Caroline knew about unrequited love. She knew how she felt nearly breathless – and not from a tight corset – when Jack entered a room. But she would never tell him that. He thought highly enough of himself already.” – Hardback Copy pg. 17

“Courting? If this was courting, Jack would be a bachelor for life.” – Hardback Copy pg. 92

“Male or female, romantics committed rash acts in the name of whatever their particular passion might be.” – Hardback Copy pg. 97

“She knew she would, for she was tired of being subjected to his dramatic silences. He had a way of imposing his will on the room while saying nothing at all. And the more her champagne had worn off, the glummer she’d felt. Only Jack had seemed unaffected by Bremerton’s brooding ways.” – Hardback Copy pg. 121

 I recently started reading the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich and I must say that I have become a huge fan of her writing. I have not read her first novel, also co-written alongside Dorien Kelly, which released this time last year. That novel, Love in a Nutshell, features the same family that we read about in their new novel and allows us to dig deeper into the Culhane and Maxwell lines. This book follows the American heiress, Caroline Maxwell, as her mother purges her into the arms of an unlikely suitor in order to guarantee a marriage for her daughter and a flourishing future for their family name. Caroline, however, wants no part of even the idea of marrying a man outside of loving him. Plus, she has her sights set on a much more down to earth man, and one in which her mother will never approve.

This book was such an easy, breezy read. The writing style is perfect for me as it flows so easily and humor is incorporated within its pages. Even though this is classified as historical fiction, it feels as if it is a light contemporary novel. At times historical fiction can be filled with too many facts and tiny details that it will actually take away from the story line. This novel, however, allows readers to emerge in the times while appreciate the subtly of the action and narrative itself. This novel was definitely a page turner and the characters were easy to follow as well. Evanovich and Kelly incorporated many secondary characters and they were all very likeable. My favorite was possibly Harriet Vandermeulen, who unlike Caroline was glad to be planning a wedding without even the slightest proposal!

Caroline Maxwell was a charming and humorous character. She had some of the best lines in the entire novel and an extremely humorous obsession for chocolate cake. She is the exact opposite of what someone might expect an American heiress to be and this is why I loved her. I can’t stand the mothers of young girls that poke and prude in their daughter’s affairs until they finally have them married off. This was exactly how Caroline’s mother, Agnes, was in the novel and it only made me root for Caroline that much more. I wanted Caroline to take a stand for herself against her bitter mother. Caroline’s relationship with Jack Culhane, her brother’s long-time best friend, was enough to set her mother over the edge and I loved every second of it. Plus, Jack was the perfect match for Caroline and the romance was not too much, but rather just enough!

I would highly recommend anything by Janet Evanovich to any reader that I meet on the street. Dorien Kelly as an accompanying author in this novel is only an added bonus and adds to an already amazing writing style. This book was easy to read and easy to get lost in. I enjoyed every second of it and I know you all will too!

***A copy of this book was generously provided by the publishers at St. Martin’s Press in exchange for my honest and unbiased review***

1 comment:

  1. I am anxious to read this since I won it in a giveaway! Cannot wait. Ironically I read the first few paragraphs of a "Plum" novel since I enjoyed the movie but didn't like the direction it was taking - you like them though?

    Happy to come across another reader who enjoyed this, Chelsey!