A Rather Charming Invitation
Charming is the perfect word to describe CA Belmond’s, A Rather Charming Invitation. I fell in love with Penny and Jeremy when the series began, and enjoyed this time out seeing the two prepare for their wedding.
The series has a Chick-lit Meets Nancy Drew feel. However, Penny – our grown-up girl sleuth – has a completely dreamy fiancée who sleuths right along with her. Instead of living in River Heights, Illinois, Penny and Jeremy have homes in London and the south of France. Although set in the present, the entire series has a 1930s feel.
Now officially engaged, Penny and Jeremy have finished remodeling their London home and established their inquiry agency. The first two books in the series focused more on Penny and Jeremy’s mysteries and adventures. While we eventually get a mystery here, the focus is largely on their relationship.
Relatives on both sides of the family are pushing Penny and Jeremy to set a date for their wedding, and to have the ceremony in either England or France, depending on the home of the particular relative. Penny is having problems making any decisions about the wedding, not because she doesn’t want to marry Jeremy, but because she’s more concerned with figuring out what makes a good marriage. She recognizes that it’s not the wedding that matters, it’s the marriage.
The book meanders initially, introducing some new relatives of Penny and Jeremy, including a young relative who ends up moving in with the two. The action moves from London to France as Penny and Jeremy try to please various relatives and figure out where they should have their wedding.
Fans of the series know that eventually, a mystery will occur, it’s just a matter of when and what. The mystery, once it arrives, doesn’t disappoint, involving, as usual, some interesting historical artifacts and not a trace of blood or gore.
There were some truly funny scenes in the book. One, when Penny visits “the best wedding planner in London” had me laughing aloud, causing people to stare at me in a restaurant.
While not a straight romance, there’s no mistaking that Penny and Jeremy are deeply in love. However, it’s a very sweet love. Jeremy gazes at Penny adoringly and kisses her tenderly. It fits with the tone of the series, but will not satisfy anyone who wants steam in their romance. Anything more than kisses occurs completely off-page.
The author has a wonderful feel for settings and brings London, the south of France, Paris, and Zurich to life. I so wanted to go right along with Penny and Jeremy on their travels. However, I don’t believe that someone who hasn’t read the first two books will enjoy this one anywhere near as much as I did. Much of the enjoyment for me was seeing how Penny and Jeremy’s relationship has developed, and revisiting old friends from the first two books.