What I’m Reading: A Most Peculiar Circumstance

My friend Mona and I are the president and CEO of a very exclusive club. It’s the Unrefined Grace club. When God made us, He decided we needed a very specific set of talents. In fact, our talents could rival those of Charlie Chaplin, Jim Carrey, or any other physical comedian. What they did for laughs and a paycheck, we do because we can’t help it.

Most people need things to trip over. We simply need air and our own two feet. If we can humiliate ourselves with klutziness, we will do it.

Children everywhere jump on beds. When I did it, I hit my head on the corner of a window sill and ended up in the ER.

Children everywhere jumped on pogo balls back in the late 80s. When I did it, I put my arm through the glass pane of my grandmother’s storm door.

Once, in a dirt clod fight (don’t ask), I got hit over the head with a shovel. It’s a wonder I didn’t end up with a concussion.

And just so you know my talent didn’t end with my childhood, I fell down stairs and put my back out when I was pregnant with my first son. And I also tripped over a stump when pregnant with his brother and dropped him into a flower garden on my way down to the ground.

It’s a wonder I haven’t broken a bone. I’ve never figured out why God gave me this particular skill set. Maybe, like Paul, it’s my thorn in the flesh to keep me humble. Maybe it’s just to provide comic relief. Whatever the reason, I have a gift for being in the center of unfortunate circumstances. But at least my propensity for trouble has only landed my in the ER and not in jail.

The same cannot be said for Miss Arabella Beckett in Jen Turano’s historical romance, A Most Peculiar Circumstance. As if Arabella’s radical beliefs that women should have the right to vote are not enough to make her stand out in society, her well-intentioned attempts to help others make her propensity for finding trouble increase exponentially.

When the story begins, Arabella has helped a naive young lady escape being sold into prostitution. And she’s landed herself in jail with multiple charges. Her only way out is accepting the help of the private investigator her family hired to find her.

Theodore is handsome, but he’s trouble in Arabella’s mind with his archaic beliefs about women. Sparks fly and attraction grows even as they verbally spar with each other though neither will admit it.

Though they drive each other crazy, they can’t seem to be rid of each other. Family ties and Arabella’s uncontrollable ability to land herself in one mess after another keep bringing them together. Along the way, they learn a little about each other, a lot about themselves, and even something about love.

It makes for a story that will at times have you laughing, shaking your head, and rooting for Arabella and Theodore to work out their differences in the end. And it wouldn’t be nearly so much fun without the unfortunate events that seem to follow Arabella everywhere.


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