Wednesday, July 9, 2014

My Review: A Match of Wits

A Match of Wits, Jen Turano's newest book, is a wonderful summer read!  It is the fourth book in her Ladies of Distinction series and follows Agatha Watson and Zayne Beckett, who were in the previous books!
After his departure from New York two years ago to meet up with his almost-fiancée, Zayne Beckett is the last person Agatha Watson wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Quite pathetically bedraggled, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and sent back East to his family. Although she no longer has feelings for him, Agatha realizes, by hook or by crook, she'll have to be the one to get the obstinate man home.

Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere and is prepared to drag his heels all the way home... until he finds himself slipping back into the familiar banter of his former friendship with Agatha. Once they arrive in New York, Zayne realizes Agatha's determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies, and he hopes to repay her help with some help of his own. When she rebuffs all his attempts to prove himself a knight in shining armor, the lengths to which they'll go to win this battle of wills lead to some memorable antics.

Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth--until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?

About the Author:
Jen Turano, author of three books and one novella, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles.  She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado.  Learn more at
(Description from Amazon, italics mine.  Author bio from CBD and cover photo from Deeper Shopping.  All rights reserved.)
My Review: 5 stars
Another one for the keeper shelf!
A Match of Wits is the fourth book in Jen Turano’s Ladies of Distinction series. I was so excited for Agatha and Zayne to finally get their book! I have adored them since A Change of Fortune and fell more in love with each successive book. I couldn’t wait to see them finally get their “happily ever after” and am very happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed in the least. This book was wonderful!
With her now trademark humor, Ms. Turano weaves a hilarious and touching story of two friends finally finding true love. I love how each book in the series can stand alone, but that Ms. Turano also neatly ties them together. The dialogue, as usual, was wonderful, as were the descriptions. She had me laughing from the very beginning. I could just picture every scene, and poor Zayne, he never stood a chance against Agatha and her unfortunate accidents. I actually felt bad for him, at first, then I was trying too hard to stifle my laughter to be sympathetic. Anyone who has read her books knows, it’s almost impossible to not laugh out loud! This book picks up two years after A Talent for Trouble ends and Agatha has been sent West in search of stories and to hopefully keep her out of trouble - though trouble seems to follow her, or maybe she attracts it, I’m not sure which. Either way, it adds up to a wonderful adventure with an intriguing mystery thrown in for good measure. 
Agatha Watson, as you have probably already figured out, is the heroine in this book. She has been one of my favorite characters since book one, so I loved getting to know her even better. She is witty, strong, determined, compassionate, and willing to do anything to help a friend. She also has a strong faith in God and is determined to help anyone and everything that crosses her path. I loved Matilda, a traveling companion she collects along the way. 
Zayne Beckett has had a hard time the last two years and when he runs across Agatha, he’s less than enthused with her plan to “help” him. Especially since it includes returning to New York and leaving his rather lucrative business venture. But when that venture goes up in flames, literally, at Agatha’s hand (accidentally, of course), he ends up agreeing to return. I also loved Zayne, of course. He is as strong and determined as Agatha, but also sweet, kind, and a little dense when it comes to women. He wants to be Agatha’s knight in shining armor, but learns that isn’t necessary. I loved this quote, “ . . . she’d never expected him to be her knight in shining armor. Well, maybe she expected it just a bit, but she was perfectly content for them to share that armor.” - Zayne Beckett, page 329. I thought that summed up both of them, rather well.
Another thing I distinctly enjoyed was Agatha and Zayne’s relationship. They have been friends for years and it shows in how they treat each other. I loved their banter and how they didn’t really have any qualms about saying exactly what the other needed to hear, whether they actually wanted to hear it or not. It also makes it a little awkward for Zayne, since he’s only ever thought of Agatha as a friend, but now he’s struggling with feelings he doesn’t understand. But that was also endearing. I actually really liked the fact that he was so inept in dealing with women. It made him seem more realistic than all the heroes who seem to know exactly what to say and do.
The secondary characters were excellent as well. I loved Mr. Blackheart and Drusilla, Agatha’s overworked protectors. They add just the right amount of common sense to Agatha’s escapades, while also going along with her. I really enjoyed Mr. Blackheart’s advice and caring to both Agatha and Zayne. They both play matchmaker, with interesting results. Piper is back, too, which was great! She is her usual precocious self, while dishing out equal helpings of sass and advice to Zayne.
I also really appreciated the spiritual side of the book. It isn’t overly obvious, but rather weaves throughout the story. In each of Jen’s books, I’m always very impressed with how she presents it. It’s subtle in that the characters don’t typically have extensive conversations about God or the Bible, but she always leads the characters right to the point where they meet God and learn something new about Him. Her books always have a very meaningful message that touches the heart.
I honestly cannot think of anything of anything I didn’t care for in this book, which is a rarity for me. I immensely enjoyed everything. From the dialogue, to the descriptions, to the characters, to their relationships, to even the ending - which almost made me cry - it was wonderful! I loved how she ended the book, which is intended to be the last one in the series (I’m hoping for a novella or two). She brought back the ladies from each of the previous books, even Charlotte from the novella Gentleman of her Dreams, and tied everything together very sweetly. I’m sorry to see the series end, though I’m very excited to meet the characters she comes up with next!
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.   

Are you a fan of novels set in the Gilded Age?  Have you ready any of Jen Turano's books?  If so, do you have a favorite character?

Thank you for stopping by!  I hope you enjoyed my review!  If you're interested in learning more about the book, or perhaps purchasing copy, here are a few links to get you started. 


Barnes & Noble

Christian Book

Also, if you haven't read any of Jen's books and would like to try them out, she has a novella, Gentleman of Her Dreams for FREE on all eBook formats.



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