Siri Mitchell continues earning her place on my Must Read list, as "Flirtation Walk" is both thought-provoking and thoroughly entertaining.
Lucinda Pennyworth has been raised by her con man father and has been very well-trained to get people to do what she wants them to do. When her father's death leaves her alone in the world, Lucinda decides to see if her mother's long-estranged family will take her in. Her uncle is a professor at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, and Lucinda has never known people who are so good and proper. Suddenly her plans of finding a man to marry seem petty and shallow, and Lucinda finds herself contemplating right, wrong, consequences, and God's role in this world.
It's the beginning of Seth Westcott's last year as a cadet, and he has earned his place of honor at the top of his class. With less than a year until his graduation and likely placement within the Corps of Engineers, his goals seem within reach. He begins to rethink things when tragedy strikes his family in Nebraska and the Army won't let him out of class long enough to take care of his orphaned sister, who confesses through a letter that their family inheritance had been swindled away from her. Seth decides that if the Army won't give him leave to pursue justice for his sister, he'll have to find a way to be placed in the cavalry so he will be sent out west where he can protect his sister and keep an eye out for the scoundrel who stole their money.
The only problem with Seth's plan is that cavalry placements go to those who don't qualify for other more skilled positions in the Army. Thankfully for Seth, he's friends with some of the men holding that now-coveted place at the bottom of the class, otherwise known as Immortals, and they are more than willing to help him learn how to not study, rack up demerits, and go on exploits that flirt with the line of dismissal from West Point. But Seth can't quite let himself turn completely into a dissolute disappointment. He struck me very much as an ISTJ, which I am quite familiar with as that is my own personality type. Picturing myself trying to willfully break rules when it's not in my programming made Seth's attempts all the more humorous because I could well imagine his personal struggle.
Seth and Lucinda are drawn to each other even as their lives seem to be headed in opposite directions: Lucinda as a reformed con man's assistant and Seth as an Immortal-in-training. I found both sides of this story to be extremely well-written, and I was thrilled with Mitchell's return to using alternate first-person points of view, as she does such a good job with that. I couldn't stop talking about how much I enjoyed this book while I was reading it, and I would highly recommend it to all historical fiction fans.
I received my copy of the book from the publisher in exchange for this honest review. All opinions are my own.