In A Matter of Character, by award-winning author Robin Lee Hatcher, the year is 1918 and writing gritty dime novels simply isn't done by a woman. So Daphne McKinley - smart, pretty, talented - publishes her rough-and-tumble books under a male pseudonym. But when a newspaperman enlists her aid in restoring his grandfather's good name, Daphne finds herself re-examining the power of her words and reconsidering the direction of her life.
©2010 Robin Lee Hatcher (P)2010 Zondervan
I liked this book - can't usually go wrong with a Robin Lee Hatcher story. But, the narrator was the worst I've heard since I started listening to audio books. Her wandering accents were bad enough, but the very worst part was her depiction of male characters. At first I laughed at her exaggerated "deep" voices, which sounded like the man was either drunk or drugged. Then, it started to get really annoying. At times her voice even cracked because she was trying to go below her natural register. It was painful to listen to. I enjoy Hatcher's books, but I will never purchase another one performed by this narrator!
I really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know Daphne in this final book of the "Sisters of Bethlehem Springs" series. There was a lot more to her than we saw in the previous two books, and while I liked Gwen and Cleo, Daphne ended up being my favorite of the three heroines, and Daphne and Joshua my favorite of the three couples. I loved how neither of them was perfect, but they were able to help each other grow and develop, especially in their faith. I was drawn in immediately by the conflict between Daphne and Joshua and enjoyed seeing how everything ended up being resolved, with laugh-out-loud moments along the way. My one complaint about the story (and about Robin Lee Hatcher in general) was that it was too short. I would have liked for Robin to flesh out some of the details in the days or weeks she just glossed over, as I think it would have made the ending even more satisfying.
Kathy Garver is still not my favorite narrator, but after three books with her, I've found it easier to ignore her somewhat creepy male voices and sometimes random accents and just enjoy the story. They've become more like a humorous quirk and less like an annoying distraction, to the point where I might even try another book of hers if the story sounds compelling enough.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book and would recommend the series to fans of Christian historical fiction. One thing that I do really like about Robin Lee Hatcher is the way that she portrays the faith of her characters in believable and relatable ways, and I thought this book (and series in general) was a great example of that.
The sisters of Bethlehem Springs... we had Gwen's story and Cleo's story. Who was left to round out the trilogy? I had to laugh at myself when I realized that there was another sister (in-law!) left in Daphne McKinley. Perhaps it should have been obvious, but like that pleasant realization, A Matter of Character managed to surprise me in similar ways throughout the book. I enjoyed Daphne's love of writing and felt Joshua to be a great match for her all the way through the book. Even though I knew what was going to happen at every step of the way, it was fun to see them go through the often-awkward courtship dance: together - apart - together. The bonus at the end that checks in with the other sisters and gives a glimpse into their lives beyond the series is satisfying as well. I look forward to reading more from this author.
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