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?
Here’s a story of a bad young woman determined to become good and a good young man trying to be bad. Lucinda sees her father’s death as an opportunity to put the past behind her. Seth, on the other hand, needs to lower his grades if he’s to be sent to the frontier with the cavalry in order to track down the man who conned his sister. The chapters of Flirtation Walk alternate between their perspectives as the plot unfolds.
Flirtation Walk is a curious name for a romance novel set in 1855, but I didn’t know that it’s actually the name of a trail on the West Point campus. It’s also off limits to everyone except cadets and their guests. Once I discovered all that, the title became very appropriate. There are some aspects of the plot I found very predictable. Two suspicions I had early on were confirmed and I suppose the outcome was never really in doubt. Despite the obviousness, however, my heart still sunk when a face from Lucinda’s past showed up.
There’s an interesting bunch of characters. I did think Lucinda came across as a schemer at first, seemingly following in her father’s footsteps. She began to change only after learning some hard truths about her parents. And I really didn’t like the idea of Seth deliberately failing. At an institution where honor is everything, what he did felt dishonorable. One particular escapade probably should’ve resulted in immediate expulsion. But other characters more than made up for the failings of these two. I adored Lucinda’s cousins, including the rebellious Milly. Seth’s fellow cadets come from a range of backgrounds, have various skill sets, and have different personalities which make them either likable or obnoxious. Look out for a scene with a future Civil War general as well.
I’d have liked it if Flirtation Walk had been the start of a new series. It might’ve been bittersweet, however, since Seth and his friends would’ve been on opposite sides in the Civil War. Would they have come together again after the war ended? Sadly, the author’s note at the end confirms that there are currently no plans for more books featuring these characters. However, if you sign up for Siri Mitchell’s email newsletter, you can get access to a short piece set around the graduation of Seth and his friends in 1856.
Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of Flirtation Walk, which I received in exchange for my honest review.
Have you read Flirtation Walk? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.
Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)
Publication Date: 01 March 2016
Page Count: 384