Book Review: Unrivaled
Author: Siri Mitchell
Review by Grace Olson
“Love, true love, is what brings us together today.” You read it in the Impressive Clergyman’s voice, didn’t you? Who has watched The Princess Bride and does not remember this line? Well, just as Buttercup and the nefarious Humperdinck were brought together by (supposedly) true love, we are brought together today by the same idea: love, true love. This time it comes in the form of a novel entitled Unrivaled.
After a tour of Europe, Lucy Kendall is returning to her home in Saint Louis, Missouri with one thought on her mind: candy. After tasting the best of what the Old Country had to offer, Lucy is inspired and ready to try her hand at making a candy so delicious, so unique, so unforgettable that it will surely propel her father’s business from a struggling confectionery into the position of a prominent and successful candy supplier. You see, Lucy’s father is a great employer…he treats his employees like family…but he’s a terrible businessman. When Lucy returns, however, she is shocked to find her father ill and her mother contemplating selling the business, City Confectionery. Striking a deal with her mother, Lucy is given one month to try to come up with a candy that will save their company, but she must, in return, continue to be actively on the St. Louis social scene. A wild card gets thrown into the mix when the son of the man who cheated her father out of his original recipe and business comes to town. Lucy has the hardest time deciding whether to be sweet or sour toward this handsome newcomer. But in her quest to save her father’s floundering business, will she compromise her values and possibly miss out on an unexpected romance?
Charlie Clarke has conflicting emotions as he takes the job his father offers at his candy factory, Standard Manufacturing. This is a golden opportunity to leave behind his somewhat shady past, but when he meets Miss Lucy Kendall, his job becomes significantly more difficult. She’s beautiful, down-to-earth, and infuriating, a combination that proves difficult at best for Charlie to get out of his mind…and his heart.
I was excited to read Unrivaled, as it was the first book I received via the Bethany House Blogger Review Program. Mitchell’s characters kept the plot clipping along at a good speed. The book was written in the first person, which made it easy to get to know both Lucy and Charlie well. I’ve found that when a romance novel is written in first person, it is often only from the young lady’s viewpoint, so it was fun to get into Charlie’s head as well. When Lucy was rude or downright mean-spirited, I wanted to give her a good talking to, but at the same time it was nice to have a character who was real, in that she possessed flaws just like the rest of us.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres, which you may have noticed by now. The large corporation battling the small business was an interesting conflict, as misunderstandings seemed to abound on both sides, at least when it came to Lucy and Charlie.
The romance in the book was well-written, encountering as many seemingly impassable walls as Lucy did in her struggle to make a candy to beat her competitors’ and convince her father that she is capable working in the family business. Lucy has to choose between her mother’s choice of Mr. Alfred Arthur (or is it Arthur Alfred?) and what her heart truly desires.
The spiritual dilemma of the novel, to quote one of the characters, is: “It’s about God, Charles Clarke, and what He’s done. It’s not about you. It’s never been about you. Because you’re not good enough, and you never will be.” This character has a talk with both Lucy and Charlie and both have to realize that it’s not about what they believe, but about what God believes; what His standard is, not theirs.
About the Author
Biography from Siri Mitchell’s website. Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi. Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder. ~ To learn more about her and the other books she has written, visit her web page: http://www.sirimitchell.com/index.html
Unrivaled was a good read—and a quick one—as it did not take long for me to become immersed in the story. I’m already planning to check out what other books Mitchell has on the bookshelves. I found the history mixed in with the fiction interesting, especially in regards to the making of the candy. This is another good read for a rainy day, but make sure you’re not on a diet. Or planning on dieting. Or even remotely thinking about watching your weight. Because, believe me, um um that candy sounds good.
I was given a free copy of Unrivaled from Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker House Group, for an honest review. I received no monetary compensation for a favorable review.
Unrivaled is available for check-out, download, or paper copy.