Early Review: A Match of Wits (Ladies of Distinction #4) by Jen Turano

18651945A Match of Wits

Jen Turano

Genre: Christian Fiction, Romance

Publication Date: July 1, 2014

Publisher: Bethany House

Source: Received from Bethany House for review.

Synopsis: Lively and Humorous Historical Romp from an Acclaimed Author

Two years ago, Zayne Beckett’s departure from New York City to meet up with his almost-fiance caused Agatha Watson no small amount of grief. So he is the last person she wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Looking worse for the wear, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and taken back East to his family. Even though she’s over him, Agatha can’t help feeling sorry for him and realizes she’ll have to be the one to get the stubborn man back home.

Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere. Content to sit and mope over his recent bad fortune and the desertion of his not-quite-fiance, he’s prepared to drag his heels all the way back to New York. That is, until he and Agatha find themselves slipping back into the strangely enjoyable bickering and bantering of their old friendship.

It isn’t until they arrive in New York City that Zayne realizes Agatha’s determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies. When his attempts to repay her for helping him go sadly awry, Agatha proves herself just as stubborn as Zayne. Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth–until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?

My Thoughts

When I first began reading this novel, I remembered little about the last book in the same series, ‘A Talent for Trouble.’ So when the first male character I encountered was Mr. Blackheart, I truly believed that Agatha’s stoic bodyguard would be the hero of the story. Then I went through the novel’s synopsis and realized that it was Zeke, the man who broke Agatha’s heart (keep in mind that I had no memory of these people in the last book), who was going to win her heart, and I got a little pissed off. Just a bit. Then I went back to my review of ‘A Talent for Trouble,’ and saw that I had written these exact words a little more than a year ago:

If there’s another book in this series, I’m hoping that it revolves around Agatha, one of Felicia’s best friends in ‘A Talent for Trouble’. In the book, her long-time crush is getting married to another person, and she’s just getting over it. While I’m hoping that Zayne is the main male lead for her – they seem so perfect t together! – I’ll be fine as long as she finds someone in the next book.

Of course, I can’t really argue with myself, so I settled back into the book, content as a little pig eating chalk (it’s a reference to the story…I’m not actually calling myself a pig). To keep it short, Matilda is an adorable little pig who likes eating chalk and candy from the streets, hates the word ‘pig’, and ‘ham’, and will run snorting out of your home if you serve lamb (or ham). She’s also a great personal bodyguard. Can I have a Matilda please?

The pig wasn’t the only adorable character in the book, however: Zeke and Agatha were cute in their own ways, Zeke because he knew almost absolutely nothing when it came to women, and Agatha because of her tendency to find herself in a troubling situation, as well as her tendency to annoy the heck out of everyone while still be loved by them. As stated in the novel many, MANY times, they really were perfect for each other. The plot was a bit more of a “best friend turns true love” type of story, and while they usually don’t appeal to me in contemporary romances, they work well in historical fiction for some reason. It was also refreshing that the heroine was a wanted woman, as in someone wanted her head. One of the things I found funniest about the novel is the fact that Agatha was her own, and Zeke’s, knight in shining armor. For you feminists out there, you may really enjoy this book since it totally disintegrates the idea that men are the stronger species, and that they must protect their women.

If my memory serves correctly, I enjoyed reading the previous installment in the ‘Ladies of Distinction’ series more than this one, but that may be because the two books are so similar. There are more disguises and more brothels, though this time Zeke doesn’t have to shave off his chest hair. I loved how there were actually two romances in the book: the obvious Zeke & Agatha thing, but it turns out Mr. Blackheart aka Francis gets some romance too. I know I said in the beginning that I wanted Blackheart to get Agatha, but in the end I’m glad he didn’t. I still can’t figure out how old he is, though >.<

‘A Match of Wits’ is a great new addition to the ‘Ladies of Distinction’ series, and reading this book has only convinced me more that I must catch up on the first two books in the series. I’m not sure whether or not this will be the last ‘Ladies of Distinction’ book, but if it’s not, I only hope that the next book will be centered around a plot that differs from this and the last novel. Overall though, fans of the series will be delighted at Agatha’s story, and though the preaching about God was a bit less than normal (Zeke refused to pray to God when it seemed his leg would never work again, then when he was told his leg would heal perfectly, he had no qualms about prayer…not cool, dude), the storyline was almost exactly what I’d expected it to be.

Rating: 3 1/2 little fishies!

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