Monday, January 17, 2011

TLC Blog Tour: Love on Assignment

From the publisher:

While Charlotte is focusing on uncovering sordid information on columnist Daniel Wilmot, her heart leads her into uncharted territory.

During the summer of 1900 Charlotte Hale, a native Newporter and secretary for the Rhode Island Reporter, accepts an undercover assignment as temporary governess to Daniel Wilmont's children in order to secretly gather evidence against him. As he helps her rediscover God, Charlotte learns that Daniel is an honorable man. They unexpectedly fall in love despite their different backgrounds and social positions. Charlotte soon realizes she must defend Daniel against the forces set against him-a willful student with a romantic crush and the newspaper editor determined to destroy his reputation.


Love on Assignment is the second offering in the Ladies of Summerhill series by Cara Lynn James. For readers who are eager to plunge into Love on Assignment, you need not read the first (Love on a Dime) to enjoy it: as it works as a standalone novel. But, be warned, your enjoyment of James’ fully-realized world will make you hanker for more.

Currently, in Christian Historical fiction, the governess-master Jane Eyre plot is quite popular. I think this occurs for a number of reasons--- reasons that pertain to Love on Assignment as well as its contemporaries. The Governess plot is a fervent ease into the realm of domesticity. It is, indeed, a palpable setting for a blossoming romance. Charlotte’s undercover work at Daniel Wilmont’s house allows her to assert her status as a near intellectual equal. Moreover, it allows her to fall hard for Daniel’s kids, his life and, finally, for Daniel himself. It is a safe and fun theme in the Christian fiction genre. It is how James' grapples with this familiar plot structure that is most intriguing.

Love on Assignment asserts a stern moral and ethical front: at what point does Charlotte’s story switch from adventure to falsehood? Charlotte is by no means a squeaky-clean heroine and her actions ( no matter what their motive) are reprehensible. It is this conflict that builds the tension underlying Daniel and Charlotte’s played- out courtship.

I enjoyed Cara Lynn James’ setting and I especially enjoyed the second installment in a series where the undercurrent is women making a living by their pens. This excellent follow- up to Love on a Dime sees Charlotte eons ahead of her sex: embracing journalism and fearlessly plunging into a deceptive assignment. James’ also does well to ensure that Charlotte’s grasp of Christianity is propelled by her discoveries of Daniel Wilmont’s rather radical and controversial views. Charlotte wrestles with religion on her own terms and confronts Daniel and her own convictions with a questioning but steady brain. I especially enjoyed how Daniel unraveled so much about Charlotte without her knowing. His patience and persistence ( as well as his bravery in emitting his own views on the world) are exciting and endearing. He was a great hero.

Stylistically, I nod to James’ pitch-perfect dialogue. She expertly rendered the Gilded Age with believable conversation. Every character easily establishes their own voice and asserts their presence in your brain. By the end, they take on lives of their own. This is a skill highly underestimated in fiction and I sincerely appreciated James’ attention to this matter.

If you enjoy Siri Mitchell, Julie Klassen and Lawana Blackwell: this series is definitely for you.

My sincere thanks to TLC for allowing me to take part in this tour.

Visit Cara Lynn James at her website

Stop by "Reviews from the Heart" tomorrow to learn more about Love on Assignment.

Buy Love on Assignment and its predecessor, Love on a Dime from Amazon.

I was provided with both books for review to help in preparation for this tour.


Jessica said...

That cover girl is of interesting ethnic origin for Victorian New England.

LisaMM said...

Great review. I love that she got the dialogue right- that is something I really appreciate in everything I read. Thank you so much for being on the tour.