Book Review – “An Unlikely Suitor” by Nancy Moser

“New York dressmaker Lucy Scarpelli befriends socialite Rowena Langdon as she’s designing her summer wardrobe. Grateful for Lucy’s skill in creating fashions that hide her physical injury, Rowena invites Lucy to the family mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, encouraging the unusual friendship. One day Lucy encounters an intriguing young man on the Cliff Walk, and love begins to blossom. Yet Lucy resists, for what Newport man would want to marry and Italian dressmaker working to support her family? Rowena faces an arranged marriage to a wealthy heir she doesn’t love, but dare a crippled girl hope for anything better? And Lucy’s teenage sister, Sofia, falls for a man well above her social class–but is he willing to give up everything to marry a woman below his station? As the lives of three young women—And their unlikely suitors—become entangled in a web of secrets and sacrifice, will the season end with any of them finding true happiness?

I had never read any of Nancy Moser’s books before this one, but I stumbled across it at my church’s library and decided it sounded like it was worth a try. I ended up being very glad that I chose it.

The characters were fascinating. I had never read about the plight of Italian immigrants before, so to read about the the way they were viewed by society during this time was fascinating and sad. I enjoyed the exploration of the lifestyles and struggles of these people, and the dedication to helping each other. Lucy was an interesting character. While she was strong and loyal, we also saw how quick to judge she can be at times. Sofia was another interesting character. Despite her selfishness, I found it difficult to dislike her. She truly struggled with her actions, and was glad to see how she changed through the course of the story. But my favorite character by far was definitely Rowena. Her inner beauty and kind heart made her a character that it was easy to love, and her fears because of her outward appearance made it easier for me to relate to her.

I loved the mysterious “Dante” plot. I never once suspected how that would turn out. I actually had to put the book down and absorb the shock for a few moments after. It was an excellent idea on the part of Mrs. Moser. I also enjoyed Hugh’s character, despite his flaws. I loved the way he and Sofia interacted with each other as well. Sadly, I felt rather detached from the Rowena subplot from the middle of the book on. I felt like we were rushed into the bit with “Morrie” rather quickly.

In fact, that was my biggest problem with the book, how fast everything moved. The characters fell in love far too quickly, especially Sofia and Hugh. I felt it was rather odd for the time period as well, for a relationship to move so quickly. Things never get to physical however.

Negative elements/Inappropriate Content: There is a man in the first part of the book who is crude. The ladies in the dress-shop call him “grabby”. Lucy and Sofia have several encounters with him, and while it never gets overly descriptive, it does describe him groping in places where he shouldn’t. There are also a few innocent kisses, but again, nothing over the top.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars, and recommend it for 14 and up!AnUnlikeySuitor_cover.indd


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