Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Flirtation Walk

Flirtation Walk 
Published March 1st 2016
 by Bethany House Publishers  
4 Stars 


At West Point, Only True Love Should Lead You to Flirtation Walk
Lucinda Pennyworth, the daughter of a con man, is trying her best to leave her father's sordid past behind her. When he dies unexpectedly, she takes the opportunity to move to West Point to live with her aunt, ready to take on a new life and determined to marry a respectable man, a West Point cadet, to impress her relatives.
Seth Westcott, a cadet at the academy, is proud to be at the top of his senior class. But when his mother dies and his sister loses their inheritance to a swindler, Seth wants nothing more than to head west to track down the con man. But the army will only send the cadets at the bottom of the class to the frontier . . . which leaves Seth with some tough choices.

When a woman trying her best to be good meets a man determined to be anything but, can there be hope for love, or will two lonely hearts be condemned to casual flirtation?

Q&A with the Author:

What inspired you to write this story?
While I was researching a different book, I discovered that the cadet who graduated last at West Point used to receive a dollar from all the other cadets in the class. I also learned that holding on to that position often required genius rather than stupidity. To graduate last in the class, grades and comportment had to be low, but not so low that a cadet would be dismissed. You’d have to study just enough to squeak by, but not quite so much that you’d do too well. In fact, you’d have to be quite smart in how you went about it. It made me wonder what it would take for a cadet who was at the top of his class to sink to the bottom and whether it could be done in just one semester. I decided to create a heroine with the opposite trajectory, one who was working her way from the bottom of society to the top.
You have some personal experience with military academies
I do! My husband is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs. Through the years, I’ve had the privilege of meeting many of his classmates as well as graduates from the other service academies. I also worked at the Air Force Academy as a civilian. 
 What was the most surprising thing you learned during your research?
This is the third time I’ve featured the military in my stories. The first two times were in contemporary settings. In researching the history of West Point for this book, I was struck by just how little the life of a cadet has changed through the centuries.
What is the significance of the title?
 Flirtation Walk is a path along the northeastern edge of the West Point military reservation that overlooks the Hudson River. It has a reputation as West Point’s “Lover’s Lane” and is just as popular now as it was in the nineteenth century. It’s strictly off limits to visitors, however; in order to walk that lovely path, you have to be escorted by a cadet.

Is a story set at the West Point of the 1850s still relevant today?
I think so. I hope so! At its foundation, this story is about two people who are trying
their very best to portray themselves as being different than they truly are. Most of us do
the same thing every day. We try to seem better, kinder, less judgmental than we
really are. Or we relax the morals we grew up with to try to fit in with those around us.
To quote my heroine’s father, we assume that “seeming is the same as being.” But in both
cases, the wider community misses out on who we are and the unique talents and
abilities we bring to our world. 
Available for Purchase:

My Thoughts:

Siri Mitchell takes us back to 1855 in this story to a little town, Buttermilk Falls, which is located close to West Point.  She brings us an engaging plot and strong characters.  
We are introduced to Lucinda Pennyworth and Seth Westcott.  Lucinda is a character that tugged on my heartstrings.  Being raised primarily by her father after the death of her mother she receives the devastating news that her father has passed away, shes suddenly faced with the prospect of being all alone.  She needs a connection and suddenly finds herself searching for her mother's family which takes her to the small town of Buttermilk Falls.  She is in hopes they will take her in until she can figure out what to do next.  Unfortunately what she finds is definitely not what she expected.  Her aunt immediately welcomed her, but her uncle harbors deep feelings about her father and is not as accepting.  As information comes to light she has to face that her father was not the person she thought he was and their relationship was superficial at best.  
Seth was a first captain in the Military Academy of Corps of Cadets, in other words he was high ranking in the cadets at West Point.  Seth has had a rough summer and he's not processing it very well.  He was raised in a small town out west and knew when he left for West Point that he was theirs for the durration, but he thought they would understand his personal tragedy and  be lenient. At the start of summer he received word his mother had passed away leaving his young sister, Elizabeth, alone.  He requested a leave to go home to handle the sale of his farm and escort Elizabeth to Kentucky, but it was deniedHe had hoped she was on her way to Kentucky until he received a letter notifying him that she had not only been swindled of their money, but was in Fort Laramie without protection and working for room and board. 
This is a sweet story that tells of two people who are trying to change who they are.  I liked Lucinda and felt there was much more to her character than presented at first.  She kept saying she was trying to change, but I think she was showing her true self.  She had a lot to overcome and sift through.  Seth has always put others first and that was something he couldn't completely loose.  Thier friendship developed and was conveyed in a very genuine way. There's twists and turns that make you cheer for Seth and Lucinda to have a happily ever after. Of course that will involve not only forgiveness, but also trust.  
I would recommend this to anyone who loves a clean, feel good romance.  
*I received this book from the publisher   as part of their blooger review program.  I was not required to write a positive review.  All thoughts and opinions are my own. 

Meet the Author:

Siri Mitchell 

Siri Mitchell has written nearly a dozen novels, three of which were named Christy Award finalists. A graduate of the University of Washington with a business degree, she has worked in many levels of government and lived on three continents. She and her family currently reside in the D.C. metro area.

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