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A Rather Charming Invitation Paperback – Bargain Price, February 2, 2010

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Paperback, Bargain Price, February 2, 2010
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

American heiress Penny Nichols is supposed to be planning her nuptials to dashing barrister Jeremy Laidley in this pleasant if underplotted installment to Belmond's Rather series (A Rather Curious Engagement), but she keeps dithering. Complications quickly arise when Penny and Jeremy visit her aunt Leonora and uncle Phillipe, who offer them use of a family heirloom at the wedding—a valuable antique bridal tapestry—and their chateau for the ceremony. But while the happy couple is away trying to convince Jeremy's overbearing British grandmother that the French wedding they are planning will meet her exacting standards, the tapestry is stolen, and Penny and Jeremy put on their detective caps. Family secrets involving Penny's French and Jeremy's English relatives are revealed, but the couple's investigation into the missing tapestry isn't handled very well, with obvious details overlooked until the plot requires the simpatico duo to piece things together. Series fans may find this outing agreeable if slow; the uninitiated will have a hard time sussing out the backstory and should read the earlier books first. (Feb.)
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"C.A. Belmond's entertaining duo of Penny Nichols and Jeremy Laidley are back in the spotlight in her novel, A Rather Charming Invitation. A wonderful cozy mystery that weaves together pictures of relationships among a variety of couples while Penny ponders the life-changing ceremony that she is about to participate in. Beautifully lyrical descriptions of multiple European locales are juxtaposed with the painstaking search for clues in the tapestry, which in turn gives rise to vivid descriptions of the past lives of those whom the tapestry has touched. Trains and clocks provide additional threads which embellish the story and enrich the glimpses of affluent society in this charmingly lighthearted mystery that also provides a look at the intricacies of planning a wedding that often become a lesson in strategic diplomacy."
-Night Owl Review (A Featured "Top Pick")

"A Rather Charming Invitation is written in such a fascinating way, with characters that will both charm and entertain. It is a book that you don't want to miss!"
-ChickLit Club

"Imagine you are able to bounce between your homes in England and the South of France, to enjoy all there is to see and do without worrying about the cost, and with the one you love by your side. Hard to imagine? Not with Penny and Jeremy as inspiration. They are good people prepared to make the most of their inheritances with natural good taste and innate kindliness. ...Writing well in the first person from a singular point of view must be difficult-it's so often awkward-but Ms. Belmond pulls it off beautifully. And with fascinating glimpses of Europe past and present, and a gentle romance between a likable pair, she has produced an enchanting read. I highly recommend A Rather Charming Invitation for its combination of charm, livliness, and suspense.

If you were lucky enough to have read A Rather Lovely Inheritance, [the first novel in the "Rather" series] you would have met American Penny Nichols on the French Riviera... [and] that meeting led to A Rather Curious Engagement, the second delightful installment in Penny and Jeremy's adventures. You needn't have read the earlier titles to enjoy A Rather Charming Invitation, but they are both treasures.
-Romance Reviews Today

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 433 pages
  • Publisher: NAL Trade; 1 edition (February 2, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0451229088
  • ISBN-13: 978-0451229083
  • Product Dimensions: 5.4 x 1 x 8.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #876,789 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

C.A. Belmond is a novelist, scriptwriter, lyricist, and poet. Awarded the Edward Albee Foundation Fellowship and a Pushcart Editors' Book Award nomination, Belmond's author website is: www.cabelmond.com.

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Carolyn Steele Agosta on February 21, 2010
Format: Paperback
C.A. Belmond writes another luxe mystery for readers who want a wonderful escape interlude. Seriously, I feel I should read this while reclining on an elegant art deco chaise lounge like you might find on a movie set for Carole Lombard or Myrna Loy. Truly escapist literature that takes you from the London Bloomington-area style salons to the French Riviera aboard an antique roadster or a one-of-a-kind train journey. In fact, I actually read this during one of the dreariest February winter weeks in recent memory and really enjoyed not only the journey that Penny takes from one PLACE to another, but also the journey her fears travel while deciding if marriage is the culmination or the end of romantic love. It made me remember my own sense of concern - not whether my husband (of 35 years now!) might not be right for me, but whether marriage itself was a doomed character.

This is a fun book. Lighthearted, romantic, makes-you-wish-you-could-be-there reading which follows two equally enjoyable novels with the same characters. If you haven't read the first two books yet, READ THEM. And Ms. Belmond, do keep writing! So many novels today are just DREARY, they have no fun, and the characters aren't anyone with whom I'd care to spend my time. I really like Penny's optimistic attitude toward people and I love vicariously experiencing her lovely, curious, and charming adventures.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Deb on February 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
A Rather Charming Invitation begins with Penny and Jeremy planning their wedding and soon twists and turns through family history and mysteries.

Penny and Jeremy travel through England, France and Monaco trying to solve the crime and you, the reader, get to travel along. Everything is described in such wonderful detail that I felt like I was right there with them.

Just when I thought I had it figured out it would take another turn. There was enough intrigue to always keep me guessing and keep me reading (me: "yes, I know it's 1 a.m., but Penny and Jeremy are being held hostage on a boat and I have to make sure they are ok" Husband: "groan"---rolls over and tries to go back to sleep). I can't help it, who needs sleep when there is a great book to read.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys wonderful characters and a page turning mystery.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Tina Pavlik VINE VOICE on April 23, 2010
Format: Paperback
What a most delightful and charming read. I love the twists and turns that keep the reader guessing as to the outcome of the story. I was engaged from the beginning to the end in this thrilling yarn. Penny and Jeremy are such a likeable pair with a great future ahead of them. The secondary characters, at times, remind me of a bunch of misfits that come along in many household families. C.A. Belmond pens a down to earth good book that makes the heart sing with joy. A Rather Charming Invitation keeps the reader engaged. It is without a doubt a wonderful book to grab a chair, put the feet up and just sit back and enjoy every single delightful page while taking a journey with the characters. - Linda L.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gillian A on March 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
I would have given 'A Rather Lovely Inheritance' 5 stars - it is the ultimate feel-good book, with lively characters, exciting story and lovely trips to France. In my estimation 'A Rather Curious Engagement', also good, deserved 4 stars.

The latest in the series, 'A Rather Charming Invitation' was a tad disappointing. The first half of the book is very slow with nothing really happening other than meeting strings of relatives, most of whom are cliched caricatures or just tedious. The two central characters, Penny and Jeremy, while delightful in the first two books, here seem more like an old married couple than about-to-be-marrieds. And their wealth, exciting in the earlier books, is starting to become boring - everything is just too easy. Finally however, an heirloom tapestry is stolen and things start picking up.

I did really enjoy the last part of the book and no doubt, when the next one comes out I shall read that too.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Harriet Klausner #1 HALL OF FAME on February 4, 2010
Format: Paperback
American heiress Penny Nichols and her fiancé London barrister Jeremy Laidley are planning their wedding when her French cousin Honorine arrives in England. They need to return her young relative to her parents in Mougins, France. There her Aunt Leonora and Uncle Phillipe offer the use of an ancient bridal tapestry and their chateau for their wedding vows.

However, Jeremy's very British grandmother wants the ceremony in England so the couple has to convince her to cross the Channel. As they struggle to persuade his family's matriarch that her specific demands will be met in France, the tapestry is stolen. Jeremy and Penny return to France to investigate who robbed her family's valuable heirloom.

The third Rather tale (see A Rather Lovely Inheritance and A Rather Curious Engagement) is an engaging contemporary that contains several mysteries re their respective families' secrets and obviously the missing tapestry. The story line starts slow yet is insightful as Penny is a nervous wreck and it picks up once the heirloom is stolen. Although the whodunit has too many holes, fans of the Rather charming saga will enjoy the latest entry wondering if Penny needs to wear rubber underwear when she says oui.

Harriet Klausner
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