This is a sweet story.
Yes, it tells about two rivalling families making candy to the point where you start to drool reading the descriptions—or was that just me?—but it also tells about overcoming past mistakes and accepting second chances. Forgiveness. Things Christian fiction revolves around.
I know, it’s shocking, but sometimes I try to read out of my comfort zone and anything to do with religious fiction is way, way out of my comfort zone. Sometimes it pays off, other times it doesn’t, but look at that blurb:
Lucy Kendall always assumed she'd help her father in his candy-making business, creating recipes and aiding him in their shared passion.
A young woman wanting to go into business with her father and to make little bites of heaven? Yes, please.
But after a year traveling in Europe, Lucy returns to 1910 St. Louis to find her father unwell and her mother planning to sell the struggling candy company. Determined to help, Lucy vows to create a candy that will reverse their fortunes.
So here’s the conflict. Not only is her father unwell, Lucy lives at a time when when women in business were frowned upon. At least if you were of a certain social class it was a no no. There are also other more personal obstacles than figuring out the recipe for the next best candy or how to sell it. She has the spirit but is it enough to succeed?
St. Louis newcomer Charlie Clarke is determined to help his father dominate the nation's candy industry.
I was surprised to see that Unrivaled was told from two alternating point of views and that of the two, I liked Charlie’s voice better. In a way it was indistinguishable from Lucy’s voice, but his actions didn’t make me sympathise with the “bad parent” or want to pull my hair out like Lucy’s did.
Compromise is not an option when the prize is a father's approval, and falling in love with a business rival is a recipe for disaster when only one company can win.
I don’t think this is quite true. For someone who isn’t willing to compromise Charlie goes along with his parents’ plans and lets his life be turned upside down without a word of protest. Nor is his father’s approval the top most thing on his mind. Charlie’s more interested in learning why he left in the first place.
The rivalry itself was quite fun. Lucy especially did a few callous things to sabotage her competitor.
Will these two star-crossed lovers let a competition that turns less than friendly sour their dreams?
If you can’t guess the answer to that, let me introduce you to Agatha Christie, an author who’ll blow your mind. But in all seriousness, as long as we’re talking about the future in candy making their dreams look to be quite safe even if not in a way they imagined. As for the romance riddled with insta-love, the outlook isn’t as bright. I wasn’t exactly moved by the sweetness of that side of the novel, but that’s better for my teeth anyway.
It is a sweet story and I’m glad I read it but I’m ready to go back to darker themes.
I received an Advanced Readers Copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley.
Pages: 400 (ebook)
Publisher: Bethany House Publishers
ISBN: 9780764207976 (paperback)
Published: March 1st 2013