::Spoiler Alert:: Rated: 4 stars
Ariana Forsythe is a nineteen year old, intelligent, beautiful and spiritual young woman, who believes that the Lord is calling her to marry a clergyman. So when the rector of her church takes an interest in her, she welcomes his attentions. Mrs. Forsythe cautions her husband on what her second daughter is planning, but when Mr. Forsythe confronts the sixty-some-year-old clergyman, it leads to a fight. To prevent an unwelcome attachment, they accept Mr. Forsythe’s sister offer of bringing one of their daughters out for a season. And so Ariana is immediately thrown into London society, a place where fashionable dresses are a must, invitations are "everything" and the only thing that occupies a single young woman’s thoughts is making a fortunate match. While Ariana plays along with her Aunt Bentley’s every command, she doesn’t succumb to the vindictiveness of that the other young ladies suffer from. Through out the book, she retains her innocence despite the world that surrounds her.
She soon makes the acquaintance of Mr. Phillip Mornay, a single, eligible, rich young man known as the "Paragon." While he sets the standard for society’s men, he doesn’t actually conform to society. In fact he rarely attends social functions, offends where he goes and actually wields the power of leading others to shun those who do not meet his standards. Ariana is one of those who innocently crosses him, but he is more drawn to her than he is offended. A rumor spreads that they have an understanding and instead of leaving her to fight on her own, Phillip comes to her defense. Despite their differences, gradually they fall in love but her faith in Christ divides them.
Without giving away too much of the plot, I’ll end my outline there. To me, "Before the Season Ends" was reminiscent of "Pride and Prejudice," except that the hero and heroine generally like each other. The characters are unique; Ariana is young and innocent, a very believable and realistic character. I think it’s every young woman’s dream to have a kind of fairy godmother kind of relative that purchases you a whole new wardrobe and gives you the experience of a lifetime. Really, this is a Cinderella sort of story. What I liked most about Ariana (aside from her beautiful name) is that as the story progressed, her faith in Christ deepens as well. She refused to allow anyone to sway her to do anything contrary to her faith. Phillip is another favorite too. Although he is disagreeable and controlling at times, you can’t help but like him and once you hear of his past, you sympathize with him.
While "Before the Season Ends" is cute and imaginative, I wouldn’t call it life altering. But I would recommend it for anyone who is looking for a lighthearted read.
I, for one, can’t wait until "The House in Grosvenor Square," which comes out in April of 2009.