Back from a whirlwind tour in Europe where she dined with some of England’s most prominent and has trunks full of the latest fashions, Lucy Kendall can think of nothing better than returning home to her home and father. As a candy maker, Lucy grew up under his teaching and is a dreamer as a result. Upon her arrival, she is told by her mother that her father suffered a heart attack and plans are underway to sell their failing confectionary. Horrified, Lucy refuses to see her father’s business sold to his competition in Warren Clarke – the man who stole her father’s prize taffy recipe, no less! More than mere upset is setting Lucy’s heart aflutter with the arrival of the handsome Charlie. His past is shadowed in mystery and regret yet there is something kind-hearted about him. By the time Lucy finds out that he is actually her competition, it’s too late – Charlie has fallen for Lucy, and for the first time, he wants to be better. For Lucy.
When the book arrived, I had paged through it and was prepared for it to be a book I’d have to force myself through. The setting appealed as a fascinating one (and it was!), it was the discovery of not only one first person prose but two that set me on edge; this is one style I’d never before experienced. Fortunately, the alternating POV’s (every chapter) wasn’t difficult in any means to follow – the book was such an “easy” read, which nearly made up for any character faults. At times, you have to stop and pause to remember whose perspective you are getting which is no great flaw since the writing is simplistically charming.
They say not to judge a book by its cover and yet with Unrivaled, that was the first thing that brought it to my attention – it was simply gorgeous (is Charlie cute or what!?). The colors are inviting as is the composition subtly flirtatious.
After being invited to this blog tour, it made me realize that I’d never read a novel by Siri, then she came highly recommended, which led to further reading and a plot that sounded good. All of this combined prompted me that it was past time to become acquainted with the writings of Siri Mitchell. Upon reading the book, the one thing that struck me was what a unique story-line. The making and selling of candy is not usually such an interesting backdrop and yet this book was – it held my interest the entire time even with its unfortunate snags.
Heroes, no matter the genre or story should be noble. They should be a person we want to aspire to – or at the very least someone whom we “connect” with. Granted, there is a fine line between creating ones who seem “perfection” and those who are a diamond in the rough but nevertheless, a flawed but “good” hero needs to carry the story. With exception to moments of brilliance, Charlie let me down a few too many times. Then there is Lucy. She was a cute, feisty heroine who knew what she wanted – or thought she did. Too many of her “ideas” turned “mean” doing nothing to endear her as she should have been. Her desire to see her father’s company restored messes with her sense of self-pride – an element that is ramped up about three-fourths of the way through, prior to that, it’d been less evident– and it was, unfortunately, cause for regret.
Despite the flaws, Unrivaled was a sweet read. And I mean that honestly. It has personality and held my interest. Sadly, it would be dishonest of me not to share the themes I, as a reader found fault with – including a sudden, far too “convenient” ending and characters who were hard to root for in the final chapters, I don’t know that I’ll be running out to pick up more of Mitchell’s books.
Synopsis: Lucy Kendall returns from a tour of the Continent, her luggage filled with the latest fashions and a mind fired by inspiration. After tasting Europe’s best confections, she’s sure she’ll come up with a recipe that will save her father’s struggling candy business and reverse their fortunes. But she soon discovers that their biggest competitor, the cheat who swindled her father out of his prize recipe, has now hired a promotions manager–a cocky, handsome out-of-towner who gets under Lucy’s skin.
Charlie Clarke’s new role at Standard Manufacturing is the chance of a lifetime. He can put some rough times behind him and reconnect with the father he’s never known. The one thing he never counted on, however, was tenacious Lucy Kendall. She’s making his work life miserable…and making herself impossible for him to forget. – from the publisher
With thanks to Litfuse and the publisher for providing a complimentary copy of this book for reviewing purposes