Unrivaled by Siri Mitchell

To be honest, I was pretty disappointed with Unrivaled. It was a decent story, but I’ve really enjoyed several other Siri Mitchell books, and this one was a bit of a let down. The premise was promising—a young woman returns from Europe, bound and determined to save her father’s declining candy company from the competition’s underhanded business practices, and a young man just in from Chicago starts life over by working with his long-absent father to stomp out their candy-making competition.

But the story just didn’t deliver. It wasn’t a page-turner. The plot was predictable—not only the romantic storyline, but also the fate of the two candy companies. And the characters felt inconsistent. For example, Charlie is really hard on his father for walking out on their family, leaving Charlie to take care of his mother and sisters. But after Charlie leaves for St. Louis, their well-being is only mentioned once­­—he sends part of his paychecks to them, but he doesn’t seem concerned. This and other inconsistencies make it hard to like the characters.

Also, several story threads were left untied. It bothered me how easily Charlie got off after being arrested for a murder he didn’t commit. Everyone seemed convinced he did it—it was even printed in the papers—but “Honest Andy” was able to bail him out of jail and send him off with no difficulty. It felt like it should’ve been a little more complicated than that, especially if people in St. Louis (where he was headed) were reading about him in the newspaper.

I finished the last chapter of Unrivaled feeling like I’d just finished reading a decent second draft—like a little more polishing and one more draft would make the story really shine. If you’re looking for great historical fiction, try one of Siri Mitchell’s other books.

*I received a copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for my review. My opinion of this book is my own and was not influenced by the publisher or the author.