He Stole the Work She Loved. Will She Let Him Steal Her Heart as Well?
It’s all her uncle’s fault. For years Charlotte Withersby has been free to pursue her love of plants and flowers by assisting her botanist father. But now that she’s reached the old age of twenty-two, an intrusive uncle has convinced her father that Charlotte’s future–the only proper future for a woman–is to be a wife and mother, not a scholar.
Her father is so dependent on her assistance that Charlotte believes he’ll soon change his mind…and then Edward Trimble shows up. A long-time botany correspondent in the South Pacific, Trimble arrives ready to step in as assistant so that Charlotte can step out into proper society–a world that baffles her with its unwritten rules, inexplicable expectations, and confounding fashion.
Things aren’t perfectly smooth between Trimble and her father, so Charlotte hatches a last gasp plan. She’ll pretend such an interest in marriage that the thought of losing her will make her father welcome her back. Only things go quickly awry, and she realizes that the one man who recognizes her intelligence is also the person she’s most angry with: Edward Trimble, her supposed rival. Suddenly juggling more suitors than she knows what to do with, Charlotte is caught in a trap of her own making. Will she have no choice but to leave her beloved flowers behind?
To be honest, this is one of the best stories I have read in a while. It is one of those stories that I could sympathize with and at the same time couldn’t stop laughing at the natural humor the characters, especially the main character, Charlotte (Miss Withersby) possessed. Once the story began I was immediately introduced to Charlotte and her life as a botanist, and it didn’t take long for everything to be turned upside down for her. I admired Charlotte for her boldness to not be afraid to say what was on her mind and to go against the status quo of her time. In fact, there was something about all the main characters (Charlotte, her father, Mr. Trimble, the admiral, and Miss Templeton) that was unique and witty. I instantly loved all the characters and they made for a very entertaining read.
The feel of the book is very lighthearted and playful. Though the issue Charlotte faces at hand is serious and life changing, she approaches it as a game with Miss Templeton as her partner in crime. I like seeing how she tried to assimilate to society and leave behind her life as a botanist, and eventually learning that the only way to be truly happy is to be yourself.
Another thing I took away from this story was learning a little about botany and how life was like for a botanist during the 1800s. Charlotte’s passion in life was botany and that is what her parents did. Being a woman during that time, it was difficult for her to pursue her passion fully and receive credit for her work, as women were expected to marry and raise families—support their husbands’ work if anything else. Charlotte’s unwillingness to let go of botany (it was something she naturally could not pull herself away from—it followed her throughout her immersion into society), only added to the rebellious spirit she had.
I tried to think of any negatives I had about this book, but I couldn’t. It was entertaining from start to finish and there was no point in the story where I felt things were dragging. I have to credit the vivid personalities of the characters for that. They were each truly unique and had their own quirks that made the rememberable. So I would recommend this story to anyone who wants a good laugh and likes characters that have a little (or a lot) or rebelliousness in them.
5 out of 5 stars! As I said before, I couldn’t stop laughing as I read the story and I like the underlying message that spoke to me: To be truly happy you have to be yourself.
***This book was given to me by Bethany House for an honest review.***