Out of the Ordinary
Bethany House Publishers, 2017
Miss Gertrude Cadwalader is an ordinary girl who works as the paid companion to a most unusual society matron. Mrs. Davenport’s propensity for taking things that don’t belong to her and requiring Gertrude to return them causes no end of stress to their relationship. This is only made worse by the fact that she is often obliged to wear ridiculous fashions to satisfy her employer’s love of design.
Known for his fortune and gentlemanly conduct, Harrison Sinclair has recently been declared a most eligible bachelor by high society. But Harrison resists the efforts of his friends and family to find him a wife, content to work on the family business and keep an eye on his precocious sisters. Still, he finds himself drawn to kind, lovely Gertrude, though she doesn’t seem interested in anything more than friendship.
Even though she is forced to admit to herself that she holds Harrison in very high esteem, Gertrude knows that someone as handsome and well-placed in society as he could never want an ordinary girl like her for a wife. But persistent friends and fortuitous circumstances begin to make them both wonder if there might be a future for them as a couple after all – until a misunderstanding separates them decidedly. Will an out of the ordinary scheme help Harrison win back Gertrude’s heart or is it too late for grand romantic gestures?
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Shenanigans. That’s the best word I can think of to sum up this story. Out of the Ordinary is filled misadventures and ‘skullduggery’, as the characters call it. The story opens with an exasperated Gertrude searching for her companion Mrs. Davenport on board a ship during an engagement party. One gets the impression that there is something peculiar going on, and that this sort of circumstance has occurred before, which is great for pulling you into the story. Within the first few pages you’ll find mishaps of all kinds, as well as black mail and new friendships.
That theme continues throughout the book, following Gertrude as she tries to minimize the damage her employer can do, as well as get to the bottom of why she behaves the way she does. In the meantime she does her best to convince herself that she is not interested in the handsome and charming Harrison Sinclair and that he doesn’t look at her any special way either, despite the observations of her friends. Harrison is portrayed as a man who is familiar with women, having a mother and three sisters, but is still at a loss for how the female mind works. This perpetuates the same misunderstanding on his part that Gertrude suffers from – he cares for her but believes she only wants to be friends.
Out of the Ordinary was entertaining from the first page, although I have to admit it seemed a little predictable to begin with. However things picked up around the midway mark when you begin to learn a little more about Gertrude’s past and start to get a few hints about Mrs. Davenport’s motivations. And then when I hit chapter twenty-three I began to be just downright delighted by the hijinks that ensued.
Overall Out of the Ordinary is a very fun book with many entertaining and endearing characters, and the ultimate message of forgiveness is sweet and sincere. Apparently this is book two in a series, which I didn’t realize when I started reading it. But I liked it and will probably check out the other books in the series in the future.