Miss Arabella Beckett has one driving passion: to help the downtrodden women of America. Naturally, she supports the women’s suffrage movement and eagerly attends rallies and lectures across the country. On her travels, she makes a simple offer of assistance to a young woman in need that goes sadly awry and lands both ladies in more trouble than they can manage. An independent sort, Arabella is loath to admit she needs help and certainly doesn’t need help from an arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor.
Mr. Theodore Wilder, private investigator extraordinaire, is on a mission. A mission that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett, but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country. By the time he finally tracks down Hamilton’s sister, Arabella, he is in a less than pleasant mood. When the lady turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he soon finds himself at his wit’s end.
When they return home to New York, circumstances force their paths to continue to cross, but the most peculiar feelings growing between them certainly can’t be love. When the trouble Arabella had accidentally stirred up seems to have followed her to New York and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they might have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love.
Jen Turano is back with her sophomore novel and another recalcitrant heroine who undertakes audacious missions in support of the Suffrage Movement and championing the downtrodden. A force to be reckoned with, Arabella Beckett is an entitled, yet well-intentioned, young lady who is either naive or indifferent to the perilous dangers of her reckless behaviour. Commissioned to bring back the Beckett prodigal from her nation wide speaking circuit, private investigator Theodore Wilder’s is given one of the most frustrating tasks of his career. With a life philosophy that is the antithesis to Arabella’s and an equally obstinate disposition, these two spark like a flint against tinder. Arabella’s continual and ludicrous antics fan the flames of tension between the couple that is underscored by a mutual attraction and restrained passion.
A Most Peculiar Circumstance endeavours to be as entertaining as its predecessor but falls short with moments of forced humour and and implausible situations. Comedic devices that are used with restraint have more impact, but I felt the author placed too much importance on the surplus of sarcasm and banter and outlandish circumstances. Arabella and Beckett’s first encounter within the first chapter sets the tone for the whole book and has the potential to be a witty interaction; however, it was stretched out far too long with the main characters antagonizing each other and circling Arabella’s reason for being incarcerated. Predictable and conveniently connected villains damper the promising suspenseful sub-plot.
There were certainly endearing and funny moments and many other readers adored this book, but I did not connect with the characters or plot. I still have high hopes for the next two instalments in this series and that I will enjoy them as much as the first book.