Monday, March 7, 2016

'Flirtation Walk' by Siri Mitchell


Genre: Christian historical, comdedy, romance

West Point History Comes Alive in this Warmhearted Romance

Trying to escape the shambles her con-man father has made of their reputation, Lucinda Curtis arrives in West Point, New York, determined to land a husband from the military academy. Campbell Conklin is first in his class and preparing to embark upon a storied career in the U.S. Army. Lucinda thinks Campbell will make the perfect husband . . . as long as he does not find out about her father.

Seth Westcott also has taken a liking to Lucinda. He's kind, smart . . . and working extremely hard to graduate last. Tradition states that the worst cadets are assigned to the cavalry out west. And west is where Seth must head to track the swindler who stole all of Seth's mother's money. Seth is smart enough to vie for the top spot, but life isn't fair and this is his chance to catch the man who ruined his family. It's too bad Campbell is all shine and no substance, but Lucinda will surely see through all of that, won't she?

This is a comedy plot that takes place around the Civil War era, at the West Point Military Academy and a small nearby town, Buttermilk Falls. Lucinda Pennyworth has been brought up by her con-artist father and taught to be a lady at an expensive finishing school. Now she's heard the report of his death, and decides to throw herself on the mercy of her mother's family. They were victims of his trickery, so he wasn't their favourite person.

Meanwhile, highly esteemed cadet Seth Westcott discovers all his family's money has been swindled by a crook, (no prize for guessing who it was), who he's determined to track down out west. However, only the worst cadets get assignments out there, so he knows he'll have to become a low achiever fast. He enlists the help of some his smart but lazy friends who call themselves 'The Immortals.' They never bother to compete for high grades because all that hard work takes valuable time when they could be having fun.

I kept asking myself whether conscientious Seth really had it in him to slacken off like the Immortals. That would take an entire character change, and if he managed to pull it off, I wasn't sure I'd believe it. It was clear that his studious and neat reflexes were second nature to him, so being a high achiever was actually easier than being a failure. It was a relief when the unfolding of events ended up fairly believable and satisfactory.

Some of Lucinda's predicaments are interesting, as she decides to become a better person and discovers that she's fallen prey to her father's wiles herself, the same as any innocent victims she's helped him swindle over the years. As the point of view switches from to her to Seth each chapter, the story's flow is fairly fast.  

It's a fun read for anyone who likes the sort of witty one-liners that make us laugh, and then sit back and think, 'Hmm, there's a bit of wisdom there.' The dialogue is full of these. There are two villains who are equally easy to want to see brought down, and a few paragons too. They're the sort of larger than life characters who are designed to be either hissed or cheered.

Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for my review copy.

3.5 stars

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