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An Unlikely Suitor [Kindle Edition]

Nancy Moser
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Lucy Scarpelli, an Italian dressmaker from New York, befriends socialite Rowena Langdon as she's making her summer wardrobe. It's an unlikely friendship, but one that Rowena encourages by inviting Lucy to the family mansion in Newport, Rhode Island. Grateful for Lucy's skill in creating clothes that hide her physical injury, Rowena encourages Lucy to dream of a better future. One day Lucy encounters an intriguing man on the Cliff Walk, and love begins to blossom. Yet Lucy resists, for what man will accept her family responsibilities? Rowena also deals with love as she faces a worrisome arranged marriage to a wealthy heir. And Lucy's teenage sister, Sofia, takes up with a man of dubious character. All three women struggle as their lives, and those of each unlikely suitor, become intertwined in a web of secrets and sacrifice. Will any of them find true happiness?

Editorial Reviews


Starred review from "Booklist":  American Library Association (excerpt): 
"Christy Award-winning Moser excels at vivid historical settings (here including pictorial examples of nineteenth century fashion) and compelling stories featuring resilient, uncompromising heroines." -- Elizabeth Ponder

4.5 stars from "Romantic Times Magazine":  "Moser knows how to mix love and friendship across class lines. Fans of fashion and romance will want this for their keeper shelves."

An Unlikely Suitor was named to Booklist's "Top 10 Romance Novels of 2011"

From the Author

While writing An Unlikely Suitor, I drew on my roots...I grew up in a sewing household. My mother made clothes for herself and three daughters. I didn't have a store-bought dress until I was in high school. Prom dresses, wool coats, and even our wedding dresses were sewn by my mother. My sister remembers her prom date having to wait while Mom finished sewing her a matching wrap for her dress. Mom is the one who taught us to do our own designing too. It wasn't unusual to take the sleeves from one pattern, the skirt from another, and the collar from a third. My first two jobs were as a clerk in a fabric store and my first big purchase was buying myself a Pfaff sewing machine--which I still use forty years later.
     That background explains my interest in dressmakers of the Gilded Age (the last few decades of the 19th century.) Yet sewing a dress nowadays is nothing compared to creating one of the intricate dresses of that era. It's the difference between making a cake from a boxed mix and adding a canister of ready-made frosting, or creating a four-tier wedding cake from scratch, with fondant frosting, lacework, Marzipan flowers, and edible pearls and beads.
     Yet the seamstresses of 1895 were not that different from seamstresses today. Both learned from experience and were taught-by-doing--my preferred way to learn anything. I admire the Scarpelli women in my novel for their work ethic, and I reveled in being able to move them from a dingy sweatshop, to a fancy dress emporium, to the halls of Newport's finest homes, where they were set free to fully use their talents.
     I love stories about immigrants who came to America. Their pluck, courage, and determination inspire me. Where did your ancestors come from? What made them leave their homeland behind, to take a chance, to start over? What are their stories of failure and success? Of dreams abandoned and achieved?
     Fortunes were made in America; lost, and made again. Some were huge and boggled the mind. Consider the "cottages" of the rich in Newport. The Breakers, which is the location of the climax of An Unlikely Suitor, has 65,000 square feet of living space. The average size of an American home today is 2,300 square feet, which means twenty-eight houses could fit into this single-family "cottage." 
     What an exciting place for two poor seamstresses and a crippled heiress to find love. And friendship. And purpose. And yet, the grand mansions in Newport weren't the real setting for Lucy, Sofia, and Rowena to experience their revelations and growth. Newport's Cliff Walk, that path edging the mansions and the ocean, inspired like no creation of man could ever do. Go ask the sunrise . . . 
Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

Psalm 139: 7-10
     Today I urge you to take a few minutes from your busy life and go outside. Seek a place of the Creator's design where His hand will hold you fast and guide you toward love, friendship, and your unique purpose.

Product Details

  • File Size: 913 KB
  • Print Length: 400 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0764207520
  • Publisher: Bethany House Publishers (May 1, 2011)
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004WOS174
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,765 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Unlikly July 3, 2011
My initial reaction: I love the cover - it's beautiful and I think it sets the tone very well for the time period of this novel. I love the idea of this book, with the intertwining lives and social classes. The author also does an excellent job of using historical facts in her novel, from the immigrant culture in New York, to the Vanderbilt's mansion in Newport. She even gives a chapter-by-chapter accounting of which parts were actual fact, which was kind of neat at the end of the book.

What I didn't like about this book? I felt it was overwhelmingly unrealistic. All three women are in love with people out of their social class. And although I love a great "rags to riches" or "love at all cost" stories, this one was a little over the top for me. I found it hard to believe that all three women could be in the same predicament and have them all turn out happy in the end.

I almost couldn't stand Lucy's little sister Sophia. She was beyond spoiled and grated on my nerves every time the story was from her perspective. She spoke out of turn and did things that I do not think ANY respectable working class woman would EVER do in the presence of "society" people - and get away with it. Her character did not seem historically accurate AT ALL.

I will say that I liked all the male characters in this book, but they are not as complicated as the women. =)

All in all, if you like stories for themselves, this is a decent read. If you are bothered by characters not acting like they should in their portrayed time period (like me), I'd pass on this one.

Disclaimer: This book was provided to me free-of-charge by Bethany House Publishers for my honest review. I received no other compensation and all opinions are purely my own.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Unlikely Suitor, An Entertaining Read May 2, 2011
Once again Nancy Moser chooses a unique setting and characters for An Unlikely Suitor. She takes us to the Gilded Age NYC tenements and the grandeur of the summer cottages, really mansions on Newport Island. The author creates unforgettable and flawed characters; I appreciated that. The main character Lucy is especially convincing and engaging. I loved all the descriptions of the clothing, coaches, homes in the story. The only reason I gave this 4 stars instead of 5 is that I had a hard time being convinced of some of the endings of the three romances. This being said, the story of the mores and excesses of society at the time and Lucy's triumph over them made for an entertaining and intriguing read. You won't regret reading this one.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars An Unlikely Suitor August 22, 2011
This book started out as an intriguing story in that it was a little different than many other historical fiction books I've read. It was fun and informative as far as going into subjects like fashions and languages (Italian), however the Italian phrases quickly became overused. Whereas the story as a whole was easy reading and fast paced, there were too many things about it that I found unrealistic and unnecessary.

I was disappointed that the main man in the book was supposed to be a really good and decent guy and yet live a double life with two different women and not really suffer consequences for it. His behavior was inexcusable and I found him unlikable, which you should never think about the main love interest!

There was a totally unnecessary side story going on about about an inappropriate man and his obsession with the factory girls.

The younger sister's character was exaggerated and annoying, and I wouldn't want my daughters reading this book and thinking this you could behave this way and hardly suffer any consequences, which is what I feel happened with Sofia.

Overall, I would have to say I wouldn't recommend this book to another girl unless I felt like she had the maturity to learn from the good lessons sprinkled throughout and recognize that consequences WILL follow in real life from these behaviors even if the book doesn't address it.

I received this book from Bethany House Publishers to read and review.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Starts out good, but ends up a bit dull... May 24, 2013
By Valerie
Format:Kindle Edition
This book was a real conundrum for me. Initially I was quite intrigued by the story and most of the characters...I liked Lucy and enjoyed seeing her provide for her mother and sister, scoring them jobs at a high-class dress shop and finding better living accommodations. Lucy's idea to help Rowena, a client at the dress shop, hide her physical limitations through specially made dresses was really a neat idea and quite interesting to read about. Though they're limited to secretive conversations held in whispers in the back of the dress shop (due to the extreme differences in their social standing), Lucy and Rowena form a quiet friendship that I found rather charming... until about the half-way point in the story, when the whole setting of the book suddenly changes.

For various reasons most of the characters end up leaving New York to spend a few weeks in Newport. This not only changes the setting, but also the personal dynamics between the characters. Rowena tries to pull Lucy further into her high-class world, but in my opinion this just accentuated even more the differences between their social classes, resulting in awkward and strange situations that simply didn't match the tone or feeling of the first half of the story.

I generally don't like to give 3 star or lower ratings, but in this case I just can't help it. Ideally the Newport setting should've been the best part of the book, as it's where the main characters meet their romantic matches, but oddly I found it rather bland. Towards the end there is a twist involving one of the girls' suitors, which no doubt was meant to be "shocking", but several chapters prior I had started to get an inkling of what was coming...
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Good love stories without being x-rated. And a touch of the bible. Felt as though this could have really happened.
Published 2 months ago by Heide Aguirre
5.0 out of 5 stars Sweet but gritty! Good book!!!
This was a great book. The unlikely suitor will surprise you as you're thinking its one.
That's all I'm going to say about that.
Great story lines, great writing. Read more
Published 2 months ago by Joleen
1.0 out of 5 stars Amaturish Writing and HIDDEN Christian/Religious Agenda
Not good, for two main reasons: 1) author has a hidden Christian agenda that does not surface until about 75% of the way through the book and then...Watch out! Read more
Published 3 months ago by Paul
4.0 out of 5 stars I like it
I liked this book. I like other books by this author better but it was good.
Published 3 months ago by B. Willaims
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Wonderful story! Couldn't put it down!
Published 5 months ago by ladybugteacher
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent book. I definitely recommended it.
I read a book by Nancy Moser many years ago at a book store in TN on our travels.
I found this book very good and it moved very quickly without a lot of details. Read more
Published 12 months ago by Karen S. Edge
4.0 out of 5 stars A good read for those who love a good love story
Even though this book got off to a slow start for me, I did enjoy it in the end. You do need to keep in mind that it is fiction and you can get past a lot of the quirks in this... Read more
Published 12 months ago by Wendy
5.0 out of 5 stars Tasteful with lovely twists.
I liked the twists near the end, though I'd already came to the same conclusions, except for a couple. Read more
Published 15 months ago by T. K. E. Lemley
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Read!
Like every Nancy Moser book I have read, this one gets your interest and keeps it throughout the story! I was sorry for it to end! Any woman would enjoy it!
Published 19 months ago by Marge
4.0 out of 5 stars A unique blend of history in a wonderful inspirational romance
If you are a reader that really enjoys a variety of historical settings, this book is for you. Taking place in the gilded era, the novel starts out in a couple of different... Read more
Published 19 months ago by DL Kamstra
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More About the Author

Nancy Moser is the award-winning author of over twenty novels that focus on the characters discovering their unique purpose. Her genres include both contemporary and historical stories.

Nancy's newest book is "The Journey of Josephine Cain". It follows the adventures of a D.C. socialite as she gets involved with the building of the Transcontinental Railroad right after the Civil War. Prim and proper meets rough and rowdy.

Her 2011 release "An Unlikely Suitor" was named to Booklist's "Top 10 Romance Novels of 2011". Both "An Unlikely Suitor" and "Masquerade" are set in the Gilded Age of New York City (see a book trailer for "Masquerade" below.) Released last fall was a Christmas/Quilt antholgy,"A Patchwork Christmas", containing three novellas by Moser, Stephanie Grace Whitson, and Judith Miller.

Moser's contemporary books are known for their big-cast utilization of multiple points-of-view and intricate plotting. Some titles are "John 3: 16", "The Sister Circle", "The Good Nearby", and "The Invitation."

Her historical bio-novels allow real women-of-history to share their life stories: "Just Jane" (Jane Austen), "Mozart's Sister" (Nannerl Mozart), "Washington's Lady" (Martha Washington) and "How Do I Love Thee?" (Elizabeth Barrett Browning.)

Her time-travel novel, "Time Lottery", won a Christy Award and "Washington's Lady" was a finalist.

Nancy and her husband Mark live in the Midwest. She's earned a degree in architecture, traveled extensively in Europe, and has performed in numerous theaters, symphonies, and choirs. She gives "God's Gifts Workshops" around the country, helping women identify their gifts as they celebrate their sisterhood. She paints canes voraciously, kills all her houseplants, and can wire an electrical fixture without getting shocked. She is a fan of anything antique--humans included.

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