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An Unlikely Suitor by [Moser, Nancy]
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4.4 out of 5 stars 73 customer reviews

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Length: 400 pages Word Wise: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Editorial Reviews

Review

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)
  • Publication Date: May 1, 2011
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B004WOS174
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #207,040 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Paperback
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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