My Man Pendleton
I may get drummed out of the sisterhood, but I must confess that I generally don’t like the heroines of screwball comedies. Too often, they are so dumb and annoying, I wonder how they have lived as long as they have (are you listening, Ally McBeal)? Kit McClellan, the heroine of Elizabeth Bevarly’s My Man Pendleton is funny and goofy and came this close to being a Dharma-ditz, but thank goodness, she never went over the edge.
My Man Pendleton is set in Louisville, Kentucky where the McClellan family owns a bourbon distillery. Mrs. McClellan has recently died, and her will (she controls the family fortunes) states that unless Kit is married within two years, the fortune will go to charities.
When the book begins, there’s only two months left and unless Kit marries, the McClellans are going to be poor and the homeless animals of Louisville are going to be very rich. Mr. McClellan has been hiring and bringing in young executives as potential husbands but Kit has snubbed them all. Enter Pendleton. He is different. He’s not the usual stuffed shirt corporate type. Pendleton is nice, he is honest and besides, he’s really, really cute.
Things get moving when Kit runs away and Mr. McClellan tells Pendleton to go find her (finding Kit is in Pendleton’s job description). Of course he finds her and Kit and Pendleton lead each other on a merry chase. The sexual tension heats up between the two and we begin to see the real Kit – someone who wants to be loved for herself, not her wealth. Pendleton is perfect for Kit. He is a self-made man who has come from a blue-collar background. He does not suffer fools gladly and has enough self-assurance not to be impressed by the McClellan’s wealth.
My Man Pendleton is one of the funniest books I’ve read recently and Elizabeth Bevarly can write some really hilarious scenes. I was especially tickled when Pendleton is at a corporate meeting and is asked for his opinion. He just strings together a bunch of sentences containing every buzz-word and catch-phrase current in business jargon and is greeted with awe and respect by the members of the Board.
There is a sub-plot involving Kit’s brother, Holt, and his romance with Faith Ivory, a member of the Louisville Temperance League. This is a serious sub-plot and, while it has a lot of potential interest, its seriousness clashes with the overall light tone of the rest of the book.
I have enjoyed Elizabeth Bevarly’s category romances very much. She has a deft touch and great sense of humor which she has carried over into her first mainstream book. Lovers of romantic comedy will enjoy meeting (just wait till you find out his first name) Pendleton.