Intrigue and romance abound among 19th-century Newport's elite! Socialite Rowena Langdon invites Italian dressmaker Lucy Scarpelli to create her summer wardrobe. While Rowena faces an arranged marriage, Lucy meets an intriguing man on the Cliff Walk. And Lucy's sister takes up with a man of dubious character. Will they find happiness with their unlikely suitors? 400 pages, softcover from Bethany.
Average Customer Rating:
(21 Reviews) 21
Rating Snapshot(21 reviews)
20 out of 2195%customers would recommend this product to a friend.
Customer Reviews for An Unlikely Suitor
Review 1 for An Unlikely Suitor
All right but . . .
Date:June 23, 2012
After having read the five-star reviews, this book was a disappointment! Knowing this author was a Christie Award winner really peaked my interest in reading her work for the first time! It was okay but is considerably less than I expected! It wasn't as spiritually deep as I was prepared for and the themes shallow. To me it is is disjointed in hopping from character to character without smooth transition! I was prepared for more! I could recommend this book but not enthusiastically!
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Review 2 for An Unlikely Suitor
Date:March 7, 2012
I really like the author and the time period that she writes from. I have read several of her books and I share my books with two other ladies that live on a low income. They also loved this book.
Nancy Moser has penned a truly enjoyable read, a tale rich with unconventional characters trying to make their way in a society with clear dividing lines between the haves and have-nots. In Lucy Scarpelli, Moser has created a character that will inspire women of all ages as she refuses to let circumstances define her future and instead lives with courage and determination. She is rendered in sharp contrast to high-born Rowena, who seems destined to follow the path others have set for her, but who manages to grow throughout the story in a way that contributes to a satisfying conclusion. The characters were beautifully developed and their unique stories skillfully woven together.
Moser writes with beautiful prose, and yet the amount of detail was just right as the book flew by and was difficult to put down, with some unexpected surprises. I have to admit that I never grow tired of reading historical novels of people born to poverty who, through their determination and God's grace, manage to rise above their humble beginnings. And, though I would not seek out a purely romantic novel, I enjoyed watching these characters find love in unexpected places and in spite of social mores that forbade that love. I do wonder if, in reality, love really would have conquered all, including greed or the promise of financial security, as is portrayed in this novel. But I am a sucker for a happy ending, so I chose to put aside such cynical thoughts and just enjoy the story that Moser so expertly tells!
I highly recommend this novel for those who enjoy historical fiction. I always look forward to reading a book by Nancy Moser, and this one is absolutely another winner. 4.5 out of 5 stars.
My sincerest thanks to the publisher, Bethany House, who provided a copy of this book for the purposes of this unbiased review.
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Review 5 for An Unlikely Suitor
Excellent read for vacation!
Date:August 29, 2011
Location:Mt. Pleasant, TX
A few months ago I received a copy of An Unlikely Suitor, a novel by Nancy Moser. Unfortunately, due to circumstances, I was just able to read this book this week. I wish I had been able to read it sooner!
In An Unlikely Suitor, Ms. Moser takes the reader back to another time and place. While she expertly creates a picture of the poor of New York City in the late 1800s, she also recreates the magic of Newport, RI during the same time. The beginnings of three couples were beautifully woven together seamlessly. The author brought both the society of the time and the fashions of the time to life!
This book was very easy to read and a very enjoyable read to escape reality for a while. I read it while on vacation with my family in the mountains and felt it was a perfect vacation get-away. This is a great book for everyone from teens to more mature audiences who love historical romance.
In “An Unlikely Suitor” by Nancy Moser, we meet the Scarpelli family. Lucy lives with her mother and younger sister, Sofia, in New York. Lucy soon finds that her family will be homeless if she does not find a new job and place to live. Luckily, she finds both when she meets the owner of a dress shop. The three women become seamstresses in the fancy dress shop. When Lucy meets Rowena Langdon, the two become friends even though they are from two very different social classes. Rowena finds a way to bring Lucy to Newport for the summer and while she is there, Lucy falls in love but she knows he is from a rich family and wonders why he would want to marry her. Lucy’s family soon follows her to Newport to help create gowns for a costume ball. Sofia also finds herself attracted to a man but he is Rowena’s brother. While Lucy is falling in love, Rowena is dreading her arranged marriage because she is in love with someone her parents would not approve. Will the three women follow their hearts or the rules of society? I received a free copy of this book to review from Bethany House.
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Review 7 for An Unlikely Suitor
A nice light read
Date:July 21, 2011
Book Review: An Unlikely Suitor
Author: Nancy Moser
This book is an enjoyable read. Ms. Moser has done an excellent job of portraying the time period and the social norms as well as the clothing and people’s place in society.
Where the novel fell short was in the resolution of the story. The solutions came to easily without us really seeing the repercussions of the choices made by the characters. I was disappointed by the fact that the reaader never really finds out what happens to the one truly bad guy in the story.
I like that the characters turned to God in their times of distress and need, but yet felt that there was not enough emphasis placed on the resolution of their prayers and what part God may or may not have played.
Overall a fun read if you are looking for something light and quick.
All for the Glory of God,
I recieved a free copy from Bethany House Publishers .
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Review 8 for An Unlikely Suitor
An Unlikely Pleasure
Date:July 21, 2011
Location:Newport News, VA
After receiving An Unlikely Suitor to review, I opened the front cover expecting to become bored a small way into the book. It was nothing against the author, I was just not expecting to enjoy the work of historical fiction. However, the main character, Lucy Scarpelli, quickly took my attention. Each new character & scenario continued to pull me deeper into the storyline. At the end, leaving me wanting more.
Spend a season in glamorous 1895 Newport in this compelling tale of friendship, devotion, and sacrificial love.
New York dressmaker Lucy Scarpelli befriends socialite Rowena Langdon as she's designing her 1895 summer wardrobe. Grateful for Lucy's skill in creating fashions that hide her physical injury, Rowena invites Lucy to the family mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, encouraging the unusual friendship.
One day Lucy encounters an intriguing man on the Cliff Walk, and love begins to blossom. Yet Lucy resists, for what Newport man would want to marry an Italian dressmaker working to support her family?
Rowena faces an arranged marriage to a wealthy heir she doesn't love, but dare a crippled girl hope for anything better?
As the lives of three young woman--and their unlikely suitors--become entangled in a web of secrets and sacrifice, will the season end with any of them finding true happiness?
Nancy Moser is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. She easily transports the reader back in time to another era, an era that we tend to think as kinder and gentler. Nancy Moser reintroduces the Scarpelli family whom we met in Masquerade; this isn't a sequel, but their own story...
The Scarpellis, Lea, Lucy, and Sophia need to move from their long time home, because it is slated to be torn down. While her mother, Lea, and Sophia attend church, Lucy looks for a new home for them. She not only finds an apartment she is very pleased with, she finds them all new jobs, as well. Lucy and Sophia will be working at Madame Moreau's Fashion Emporium as seamstresses and their mother, Lea, a hat maker. Wonderful jobs compared to the sweatshops they were used to.
When the Langdons visit the shop for the fittings of their new wardrobe for their summer in Newport, Rhode Island. Lucy is called on to record Rowena Langdon's measurements for her new dresses. Rowena has an awkward stance that takes special effort to disguise. Lucy decides to risk her job to create dresses for her. Rowena is especially pleased with the result of the first dress, and requests Lucy to continue to work on the rest of her wardrobe; which in turn becomes an unusual friendship between Lucy and Rowena--a commoner and wealthy heiress.
Rowena, wanting to continue her friendship with Lucy, causes damage of a number of her and her mothers' dresses in order to convince her mother to allow her to send for Lucy, so she can repair them. Mrs. Langdon relents to Rowena's request and Lucy is sent for, and she enters the world of the wealthy as a Lady's maid to Rowena.
I enjoyed this story. It was fun to read and enter into the worlds of the Scarpellis and the Langdons. To get to know them, to learn of their dreams and fears. To see that we are not as different as, some would like us to think. To know that God gifts each of us with unique talents and abilities. And especially to know that God has special plans for each of us, and if we will submit to His will we be more contented, than if we rely on our own self-sufficiency.
Another thing I liked about the book is the inclusion of historical notes, pictures of some of the fashions that are described in the story, and discussion questions for reading groups and book clubs.
** An Unlikely Suitor by Nancy Moser was provided for me free by Bethany House in exchange for my honest review.
What a great book for your summer reading! This book is an easy, romantic read that is just pure entertainment. From the very beginning, I really liked Lucy's spirit and her drive to take care of her family. Because Lucy had such "spunk" and talent, I found that I wanted her to succeed so much with the wealthy upper class that it made me really stop and think about how people were treated based on their social status. I was also shocked at the revelation of the "unlikely suitor". I cannot reveal more about that. . . you have to read the book to find out the rest of the story. Great book!
Remember Nancy Moser’s release prior to this one, Masquerade? Well, An Unlikely Suitor, while a stand-alone title, revolves around the lives of the Scarpelli family – the Italian immigrants who took Lottie in after she was robbed. This isn’t a sequel though. Lucy and Sofia Scarpelli are two of the three young women who find themselves with unlikely suitors but Lottie and Dora are not involved in this story line – making this a go-along stand-alone novel.
Lucy Scarpelli finds herself elevated from her job in a garment sweatshop to that of an assistant in a prestigious dressmaking shop. When the opportunity arises to help a disfigured, wealthy young woman – Rowena Langdon – with her fashion difficulties she finds herself in an unexpected friendship.
This friendship leads to her arrival in Newport – a vacation haven for the wealthy of New York during the Gilded Age. Needing reinforcements for the commissioning of costumes for a costume ball, Lucy sends for her little sister Sofia and her mother Lea to bring supplies and their able hands. Soon, Rowena, Lucy, and Sofia find themselves in a tangled web of mystery and unexpected romance that defies the boundaries of class and nationality.
Though I found the romantic storylines in An Unlikely Suitor somewhat more realistic than those in Masquerade, there were still issues in this novel for me. The gap between Protestants and Catholics was not touched upon at all, though this was more often an even greater concern than wealth and class. Lucy’s beau behaves in a very questionable manner, and honestly – it was resolved just a bit too easily for me. I think it would be more realistic to expect trust issues after such a revelation as his.
Sofia is only fifteen during the story yet she is sneaking away alone on romantic outings although everyone recognizes that she is not prepared to marry. I take great issue with this – not only would it be highly inappropriate during the time period depicted but I would also be distraught if my own daughters were behaving in such a way. This behavior is largely sanctioned and brushed off however, as this fifteen-year-old finds her ‘soul-mate’.
I feel like a nitpicker, but all of these elements really diminished my enjoyment of this novel. I think I’ll pass on Moser’s future dress-making/romance type novels and wait for her to dive into another series of loosely related novels before I pick up her writing again.
"An Unlikely Suitor" is the fictional story of the Scarpelli women. Italian immigrants living in New York, mother and daughters barely make ends meet working as seamstresses in a sweat shop. When oldest daughter, Lucy, finds them a better apartment and work situation, everything starts to change. And when she befriends wealthy socialite Rowena Langdon, the Scarpelli women find themselves transported to a whole new world.
This story shows the stark contrasts between rich and poor as they existed in the late 1800’s. It also shows what can happen when people ignore those lines in favor of friendship, loyalty, and love. Full of secrets, surprises, and complications of all sorts, An Unlikely Suitor is a fascinating story.
Unique to this book, as far as I’ve seen, is a chapter by chapter summary telling what’s fact and what’s fiction along with pictures of some of the fashions of the day with their descriptions from the book printed once again underneath. Fans of this era will enjoy this bonus! Thank you, Bethany House Publishers, for sending a complimentary copy of this book for my honest review.
An Unlikely Suitor by Nancy Moser is a skillfully blended story of strong family ties, loyalty, trust, true friendship, and deep love. Set against the vibrant backgrounds of 1895 New York City and New England’s Newport seaside, An Unlikely Suitor provides glimpses into both, historical city life and vacationing. Through the lives of sisters Lucy and Sofia Scarpelli, and wealthy heiress, Rowena Langdon, Nancy Moser creates a striking contrast between the lives of lower class Italian immigrants and high society socialites in America’s Gilded Age. I loved the extra information she included at the book’s end! Evidently, the author poured insurmountable research into this story! An Unlikely Suitor expertly weaves together a cast of realistic characters, drawing you deeply into their lives. Lucy Scarpelli is hardworking and faithful almost to a fault, exhibiting strong character and concern for her family. Yet despite her abilities, Lucy must combat her own inner struggles throughout the story. Sofia Scarpelli acts selfishly and immaturely much of the time, yet underneath her spoiled actions was a girl trying to find her way into growing up. Although not all teenagers go about it as Sofia did, I believe this search is something we all face. That made it easier for me to bear Sofia’s behavior. I even ended up empathizing with her a few times. Rowena Langdon is part of a prestigious family, yet she has a heart of gold, never behaving like society’s typical snobs. Alongside her physical handicap, she faces the challenge of being who she really is, even when everyone wants her to be somebody else. As for the plot, I tremendously enjoyed the twist near the end. It kept me furiously flipping pages to see what the outcome would be, and the ending did not disappoint! Although the characters didn’t seem to learn a whole lot about faith, there are still some gentle reminders found in An Unlikely Suitor, such as depending on God, rather than oneself. It was an enjoyable story, and well worth the read. I give it 4 out of 5 stars! I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for my review.
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Review 14 for An Unlikely Suitor
Intriguing story - A page-turner!
Date:June 7, 2011
I was given this book by Bethany House Publishers to review as well as post my review. I am free to give my personal opinion and will receive no financial or otherwise reimbursement.
Set in the summer of 1895, "An Unlikely Suitor" is a interesting blend of characters and circumstances. It is the tale of one family of immigrants finding their way in a young America. Two sisters and a mother are left in New York City as struggling-to-survive seamstresses when the father is killed in a dock accident. There is a strong family bond that is stretched as the two daughters seek to maintain that tie as their individual lives are being forged. Given a strong work ethic necessary to survive the difficulties, they have a church background brought with them from Italy that reminds them that God is over all. References to God and spiritual things are scattered throughout the dialogs. The story has twists and turns when the poor family is intermingled with the wealthy in Newport, Rhode Island. Nancy Moser paints beautiful word pictures of the costuming and interaction of the class segments found in the privileged families. Definitely a page-turner and hard to put down.
I would enthusiastically recommend this book to those who like Romantic Historical fiction. I would have liked to see more spiritual references to give it a 5 Star rating.
They say that grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But some people are okay with their side of the fence already.
Lucy Scarpelli knows her position in society, at the bottom. She is okay with that. She also knows if she doesn't work, her family doesn't eat. And she is okay with that. But she doesn't know what dreams lie on the other side of the fence.
Rowena Langdon knows her position in society, at the top. She is okay with that. She also knows she doesn't have to work; the servants meet her needs. And she is okay with that. But she doesn't know how good life could actually be on the other side of the fence.
Sofia Scarpelli, Lucy's younger sister, knows her position in society too. And she is not okay with it at all. She also knows that if she doesn't work, her family goes without. But as the youngest, she isn't too worried about others. She wants what is on the other side of the fence.
Join Lucy as she learns more about her position in society, and watch how it changes. Cringe with Rowena as others obviously overlook her disability and pretend she is someone she isn't. Refrain from scolding Sofia when her persistent attitude gets her into trouble time and time again.
I really enjoyed this book. Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres. An Unlikely Suitor blends the defining line between upper and lower classes in the friendship between Lucy and Rowena. These two would have never been friends if they relied on society alone. They meet when Lucy creates a dress for Rowena that helps hide her disability. And a friendship is born.
--------------------------------- I received this book free from the publisher through the Bethany House book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
I just finished the book and did enjoy it immensely. I enjoyed going back in time with the main character to live in basically another culture. The heroine is an Italian immigrant who moves from working in the sweat shops (to help support her family) to working as a designer in a custom dress shop. She befriends a socialite with a disability. The new friendship leads to life change for both women and their families.
I love rags to riches stories and did enjoy the historical references to architecture and dress. I loved how the author included real places, events, and people into the story. You can actually look up some of the addresses she wrote about in the book. Also, she included many Italian and French comments (and translated them), which were neat to read.
I also enjoyed more spiritual depth in this author's work (my first to read of hers) compared to other historical romance fiction authors. The characters' dependence and reference to the Creator was scattered throughout the novel, though I still believe I would have enjoyed more spiritual depth and certainly there was room for it in this story.
If you love clean historical romance novels, you will not go wrong with this author. I loved the book and would definitely recommend her work to my friends!!
I received a free copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review.
I have found a new author that I love! Nancy Moser's An Unlikely Suitor was an excellent historical fiction read. The book follows the Scarpelli women as they go from the poorest circumstances to the most lavish. They are seamstresses who befriend an heiress and spend the season in Newport, Rhode Island. It is a tale that weaves romance, friendship, and a trust in God into a page-turner. I loved and identified with many of the characters on more than one level. And in addition to the main themes that I listed above, there were a lot of other sub-themes woven into each of the characters, and there was even a bit of a twist thrown in at the end.
I was fully enamored with Moser's writing and storytelling and I will definitely look for more of her books. I loved this book!
I received a complimentary copy of this book and was not required to write a positive review.
I have decided that if the book is written by Nancy Moser then I need to read it. She never fails to write a unique story with fascinating perspectives and the best part... everything isn't always tied up in a neat bow at the end, but it is always satisfying. "Unlikely Suitor" doesn't fail. Here we delve into the lives of Lucy and her younger sister Sofia and then Lucy's unlikely friend Rowena. As their lives are intertwined we start to see love come to each of them in the most unusual ways. I loved seeing how everything unfolded and while I knew I was in for a twist I wasn't quite sure how Nancy Moser would pull it off, but she did. This book was enjoyable and quite the page turner, I read it in a day - fantastic!
My first Nancy Moser book -- but by no means my last!
This is the kind of historical novel you just want to settle into and savor. Moser has done her research and has crafted a stunning tale that takes place during the Gilded Age. Her vivid descriptions (especially the lush fashion details) create a genuine feel for the era.
The author takes on class boundaries which I found fascinating even though at times it appalled and enraged me. I think what struck me the most is that the wealthy who are so determined to keep the lower classes in their place are, in actual fact, no more than a generation away from having been poor immigrants looking for a new start in America. You would think that they would remember their parents' struggles and would have learned from them. Instead they seemed to want to create a distance from their past and they did that by class distinction. This made An Unlikely Suitor an emotional read for me. It's a spellbinding story that follows the lives of three young women as they struggle to find their place in a changing world -- and someone to love them for who they are not what they represent. This is a definite book for your keeper shelf.
"Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc. Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group".
I truly enjoyed An Unlikely Suitor. It had a very similar subject matter and feel as the book I read recently by Siri Mitchell, A Heart Most Worthy.
Although I connected most with Lucy, who as the oldest daughter feels the heavy weight of responsibility to care for her widowed mother and younger sister, I could also empathize with Rowena and Sofia and their many feelings of both inadequacies and selfishness.
Nancy Moser artfully describes the wide gulfs between rich and poor, immaturity and maturity, love and betrayal in this turn of the century tale of three young ladies trying to find happiness.
I love looking through old Sears and Roebucks catalogs, so I especially enjoyed the pictures and descriptions in the back of the book of some of the clothing worn by the girls. This glimpse into the author's inspiration was unexpected and lovely!
*I was provided a free review copy from Bethany House through CFBA. All thoughts expressed are my own. No other compensation was given for my review.*