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Each book in the Ladies of Distinction series by Jen Turano revolves around a set of friends in high society New York in the late 1800's. Book four finally gives the much awaited story of Agatha--a quirky, constantly in trouble, impetuous, adventures, gifted journalist, and kindhearted young lady. From near the beginning of the series, we the readers were privy of the fact that Agatha was in love with Zayne...brother of her dear friend Arabella (her story is in book #2). This book FINALLY tells Agatha and Zayne's story!
Agatha is in trouble. Now a published journalist (though under a nom de plume) in the New York Tribune, her articles on the less than desirable aspects of the city and her move to reform and bring light to these issues, has made her situation rather dicey. Someone is out to get her. In an effort to keep her safe, the newspaper (and her family) have sent her on a reporting tour of the country along with a dear friend as a companion (who is actually a gun toting former spy!) and a bodyguard (who refuses to tell anyone his first name).
While on her journey, not only does she acquire a pet pig named Matilda who goes pyscho if anyone mentions eating ham or calls her a P-I-G, but she bumps into the man who broke her heart (without knowing)--Zayne Beckett. Zayne disappeared a few years earlier from New York society to meet up with his almost-fiance. He is supposed to be a happily married man...so what is he doing in Colorado looking like death warmed over, a cripple, drunk as a skunk and owning a gold mine? Agatha decides to make Zayne her new pet project to get him back in New York reunited with his family--something he stubbornly refuses to do!
From the time they meet, the sparks begin to fly between them as Agatha fights to keep her heart in tact and Zayne determines to find her a husband who will keep her out of any more scrapes! Both fail miserably and it's a wild ride for the reader to see if they can keep fighting their attraction for each other...and what about the death threat on Agatha? And what IS Agatha going to do with a pet pig in New York?
L-O-V-E! I was afraid my eager anticipation of A Match of Wits would cast too much expectations...but it did not! A Match of Wits is a hilarious wild ride from the first paragraph to the last! I thoroughly enjoyed seeing the world through Agatha and Zayne's eyes...though I have to admit my favorite character was Matilda the pig! LOL!
I think there was great focus on their back story, as well as excellent build up of the secondary characters. I appreciated the references and cameos of the characters from the 3 (or 4 if you count the prequel novella) previous books in the series.
Can you read this as a stand alone? Hmm. Yes, but you will miss much of the "behind the scenes" things that are referenced. I recommend going back to the beginning with the short novella (Free Kindle Download!) and working your way through the books. You won't be disappointed!
I was sad to see the end of the book...but I'm REALLY hoping that there will be something in the future focusing on Agatha's friend (and one-time companion) Druscilla! She intrigues me very much and I think Jen Turano seriously tantalized her readers with her and Mr. Blackheart.
How Would I Rate This Book?
It's an excellent read and if you are like me, you will not be able to keep yourself from chuckling. Of all the books in the series, I would put this one as my second favorite--only a smidgen behind A Talent for Trouble. But it's a close one because I enjoyed them both immensely. It's not too often that a series gets better as it continues, but the Ladies of Distinction series by Jen Turano most certainly does!
If you are a fan of Historical Inspirational Fiction, or a fan of best selling author Jen Turano, you need to take the time to find A Match of Wits because it's really a book that will make you smile!
I would love it if you checked out my review of A Talent for Trouble --book #3 in the series-- or any of my other book reviews! You can always find them filed under Fresh from the Bookshelf!
I hope that you will pop back by later this week! I hope to have my answers to this week's Chats on the Farmhouse Porch questions from Everyday Ruralty, as well as my Random 5 for Friday...and if I can get it written up--I just might have a great burger recipe for you to try as part of my continuing Fresh from the Kitchen collection!
[Disclaimer: I received free product from Baker Publishing Group in exchange for my honest review. I was not require to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. I am sharing only the opinions of myself and my family. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.]