The writing of Jen Turano is a true treat for readers. Her words sparkle on the page. Her heroines are fantastic, feisty females who are strong-willed, high-spirited, and hilarious. The heroes, fine fellows to be sure, never expected to be enchanted by such women, but they soon realize what lucky fellows they are indeed. Add much mischief and merry mayhem to the mix, plus a heaping dose of faith. Blend it all together for a wonderfully entertaining serving of inspiring historical romance.
"A CLASS OF THEIR OWN" SERIES
PLAYING THE PART by Jen Turano
"One of the funniest voices in the inspirational genre."--Booklist
Lucetta Plum is an actress on the rise in New York City, but is forced to abandon her starring role when a fan's interest turns threatening. Lucinda's widowed friend, Abigail Hart, is delighted at the opportunity to meddle in Lucetta's life and promptly whisks her away to her grandson's estate to hide out.
Bram Haverstein may appear to simply be a somewhat eccentric gentleman of means, but a mysterious career and a secret fascination with a certain actress mean there's much more to him than society knows.
Lucetta, who has no interest in Abigail's matchmaking machinations, has the best intentions of remaining cordial but coolly distant to Bram. But when she can't ignore the strange and mysterious things going on in his house, it'll take more than good intentions to keep her from trying to discover who Bram is behind the part he plays.
MY REVIEW: Awesome author Jen Turano scores another solid hit with "Playing the Part", Book 3 in her "A Class of Their Own Series". Thanks to her less than parental stepfather, Nigel Wolfe, young actress Lucetta Plum must abandon her rising career on the New York City stage and flee from his disastrous gambling debts. Lucetta's friend, Abigail Hart, finds refuge for Lucetta at the estate of Abigail's grandson, Bram Haverstein. An immediate sparky attraction ensues between Lucetta and Bram, but which of them is the better actor? Each of them is playing a role, and all around them strange occurrences and quirky characters, including a misogynist goat named Geoffrey, swirl with ever-compounding mystery. Behind the masquerade, a real romance is being written, but with all the obstacles to overcome, will the ending be one of lasting love and happiness? Ms. Turano effortlessly mixes humor, romance, mystery, and faith into a perfectly-blended and entertaining read. As a storyteller, Jen Turano is in a "class of her own". Highly recommended.
Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books
IN GOOD COMPANY by Jen Turano
After growing up as an orphan, Millie Longfellow is determined to become the best nanny the East Coast has ever seen. Unfortunately, her playfulness and enthusiasm aren't always well-received and she finds herself dismissed from yet another position. Everett Mulberry has quite unexpectedly become guardian to three children that scare off every nanny he hires. About to depart for Newport, Rhode Island, for the summer, he's desperate for competent childcare. At wit's end with both Millie and Everett, the employment agency gives them one last chance--with each other. As Millie falls in love with her mischievous charges, Everett focuses on achieving the coveted societal status of the upper echelons. But as he investigates the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the children's parents, will it take the loss of those he loves to learn whose company he truly wants for the rest of his life?
MY REVIEW: Fans of author Jen Turano are "In Good Company" with Book Two in the "A Class of Their Own" series. Millie Longfellow's childhood as an orphan gave her the determination and insight to become a nanny extraordinaire. However, her spirited nature and sense of fun don't mesh with the conventional ideal of a nanny, and after one too many dismissals, her hopes are dimmed for success in her chosen career. Everett Mulberry has unexpectedly become the guardian for three wildly unmanageable children who have run off every nanny sent by the agency. Acquainted with Miss Longfellow, whom he considers to be charming, disastrous, and distinctly unsuitable for caring for his wards, he is forced by circumstances to hire Millie for a summer in Newport, Rhode Island. Since both Millie and Everett are quite verbal in their opinions of each other, Millie is aware of his disdain for her capabilities. However, they are left little choice other than to throw their lot in together, and she soon becomes nanny to his wards. As Millie and the children get to know each other and become fond friends, Everett works toward his goal of societal acceptance and the hand of his chosen lady, Miss Caroline Dixon. His personal investigation into the suspicious deaths of the children's parents brings into sharper focus what really matters in life. Are his ideas and goals for his own happiness beginning to change shape? As his appreciation and admiration for Millie grows, could love be blooming between them? As always, Jen Turano's writing inspires and entertains, and laughter is most definitely good for the romance-lover's soul.
Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books
AFTER A FASHION BY Jen Turano
Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself out of an income. Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and wed. When Oliver witnesses his ex not-quite-fiance cause the hapless Harriet to lose her job, he tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner. Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can't make her fashionable. She'll never truly fit into Oliver's world, but just as she's ready to call off the fake relationship, fancy dinners, and elegant balls, a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.
MY REVIEW: Author Jen Turano begins her new "A Class of Their Own" series with the delightful "After a Fashion". Harriet Peabody knows how to take a leftover or discarded item and make the most of it, turning into something stylish and eye-catching. Her dream is to make life brighter for women like herself, working women of limited resources, by selling "reimagined" gowns and accessories that she has refreshed and refurbished. Toiling away in a millinery shop, working for someone else, is just the means to an end until she is able to achieve her goals. However, the end of her employment comes sooner than expected through the histrionics of a most difficult customer. Oliver Addleshaw is an ambitious businessman whose potential prime partner prefers his associates to settled, married men. When the woman who has thrust herself into Oliver's life with marriage on her own mind is the cause of Harriet losing her job, he offers Harriet a reprieve from her unfortunate circumstances. If she will pose as his fiancée while he makes a favorable impression upon the gentleman with whom he greatly wishes to do business, he will pay her well and provide for her necessities. After Oliver makes her an offer she finds impossible to turn down, their own "partnership" begins, but it's a long, bumpy road to reach the desired destination. Harriet and Oliver cannot refrain from verbal jousting, and the very forthright Harriet frequently stymies the most opinionated Oliver. As the verbal spears soar, the sparks between them fly, and the cut-and-dried business arrangement begins to blur around the edges and takes on more personal overtones. When an unexpected revelation from Harriet's past threatens future happiness, faith and devotion must remain steadfast. Does real love exist amid the war of words between Harriet and Oliver? Is it strong enough to hold fast through all attempts to undermine its strength? I have loved every one Of Jen Turano's books, and "After a Fashion" is my favorite so far. I also highly recommend her "Ladies of Distinction" series.
Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books
"LADIES OF DISTINCTION" SERIES
After his departure from New York two years ago to meet up with his almost-fiancée, Zayne Beckett is the last person Agatha Watson wanted to stumble upon in her travels as a reporter with the New York Tribune. Quite pathetically bedraggled, he clearly needs to be taken in hand and sent back East to his family. Although she no longer has feelings for him, Agatha realizes, by hook or by crook, she'll have to be the one to get the obstinate man home. Zayne has no desire to be taken anywhere and is prepared to drag his heels all the way home... until he finds himself slipping back into the familiar banter of his former friendship with Agatha. Once they arrive in New York, Zayne realizes Agatha's determined nose for news has earned her a few enemies, and he hopes to repay her help with some help of his own. When she rebuffs all his attempts to prove himself a knight in shining armor, the lengths to which they'll go to win this battle of wills lead to some memorable antics. Everyone else may think them a match, but nothing could be further from the truth--until Agatha finds herself in real trouble. Have these two stubborn, too-smart-for-their-own-good people been meant for each other all along?
MY REVIEW: The "Ladies of Distinction" series, from author Jen Turano, continues with an entertaining "Match of Wits". Intrepid reporter Agatha Watson is traveling throughout the West, searching for stories to send back to her employer, the New York Tribune. She's also been forced to leave New York while threats against her life are being investigated. Agatha doesn't just invite trouble, she actively seeks it out. Accompanying her on her western trek are a bodyguard and a paid companion. On a stop in Colorado, Agatha is shocked to come across Zayne Beckett, the longtime friend who held a very special place in her heart. However, this is not the Zayne she knew--the handsome, charming, society man--this is a dispirited, disheveled, drunken man. She has not seen Zayne for two years--not since he left New York to marry his childhood sweetheart in California. He had taken a piece of Agatha's heart with him when he left. What could have brought him to this state, and how can she help him to find his faith and find himself again? With the full force of her considerable determination, Agatha vows to make Zayne once again a whole man. Zayne can't believe that Agatha has found him, but he knows he is not in the best of shape to be suitable for her company. Nonetheless, he can't help but admire Agatha's spirit and fiery beauty, and the sparks that fly between as they engage in verbal battle are highly enjoyable. If only there weren't so many complications in each of their lives, they might find happiness together. With faith and true love can they somehow find a way to grad hold of a bright and beautiful future? I have greatly enjoyed each book in the "Ladies of Distinction" series, and I highly recommend the wonderful storytelling of author Jen Turano.
Review Copy Gratis Bethany House Books
Miss Felicia Murdock firmly believed her destiny was to become a minister's wife. When the minister on whom she had set her sights marries another lady, Felicia is forced to take a close look at her life and comes to a few uncomfortable conclusions. Determined that something needs to change--and soon--Felicia discovers she is finally ready to spread her wings and embrace life the way she's always wanted.
Grayson Sumner--or Lord Sefton, as he's officially known--has had more than enough of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a normal, respectable New York gentleman. Prompted by some well-meaning friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter a young lady who seems to have become quite adventurous and quite determined to get herself into all sorts of troublesome situations. Intent on remaining independent, Felicia is reluctant to accept Grayson's help, especially as she finds herself developing feelings for him. However, just as Grayson decides he's had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in her life has endangered Felicia. Will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping one another out of trouble?
Miss Arabella Beckett has one driving passion: to help the downtrodden women of America. Naturally, she supports the women's suffrage movement and eagerly attends rallies and lectures across the country. On her travels, she makes a simple offer of assistance to a young woman in need that goes sadly awry and lands both ladies in more trouble than they can manage. An independent sort, Arabella is loath to admit she needs help and certainly doesn't need help from an arrogant, narrow-minded knight in shining armor. Mr. Theodore Wilder, private investigator extraordinaire, is on a mission. A mission that began as a favor to his good friend Hamilton Beckett, but swiftly evolved into a merry chase across the country. By the time he finally tracks down Hamilton's sister, Arabella, he is in a less than pleasant mood. When the lady turns out to have radical ideas and a fiercely independent streak, he soon finds himself at his wit's end. When they return home to New York, circumstances force their paths to continue to cross, but the most peculiar feelings growing between them certainly can't be love. When the trouble Arabella had accidentally stirred up seems to have followed her to New York and threatens her very life, the unlikely couple must face the possibility that they might have landed in the most peculiar circumstance of all: love.
MY REVIEW: The writing of Jen Turano is a true treat for readers. Her words sparkle on the page. Her heroines are fantastic, feisty females who are strong-willed, high-spirited, and hilarious. In "A Most Peculiar Circumstance", Arabella Beckett is a traveling suffragette whose long-suffering family sends a private investigator to locate her and bring her home in time for her brother's wedding. When she disappears, well-known investigator Theodore Wilder finally locates Arabella--bedraggled, bespattered with mud, and behind bars. Theodore is very much set in his opinion that a woman's place is in the home as a wife and mother. Although the two of them immediately stir each other's ire, and a fiery verbal battle ensues, there are banked embers beneath the sparks--an attraction they both try to fight. Fate has plans for Arabella and Theodore, however, and once they return to New York, they continue to be drawn together like magnets to metal. The situation becomes serious when they realize that Arabella didn't leave her troubles behind--she brought them with her. Theodore is much more than a private investigator. He is an agent for the United States government, and he is drawn into uncovering the fiends behind the kidnapping and prostitution ring that Arabella had stumbled upon. While he finds Arabella infuriating, he also finds her intriguing, and she is no less beguiled by him. Can two people who have traveled such opposite trails meet in the middle of the road and head in one direction toward true happiness? Jen Turano's historical romances are written with great heart and humor, and a welcome measure of faith.
Review Copy Gratis Author
Lady Eliza Sumner is on a mission. Her fortune was the last thing she had left after losing her father, her fiancé, and her faith. Now, masquerading as Miss Eliza Sumner, governess-at-large, she's determined to find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London. Mr. Hamilton Beckett, much to his chagrin, is the catch of the season, and all the eyes of New York society—all the female ones, at least—are on him. He has no plans to marry again, especially since his hands are full keeping his business afloat while raising his two children alone. Eliza's hapless attempts to regain her fortune unexpectedly put her right in Hamilton's path. The discovery of a common nemesis causes them to join forces and, before she knows it, Eliza has a whole retinue of people helping her. Eliza's determination not to trust anyone weakens when everyone's antics and bumbling efforts to assist her make her wonder if there might be more important things than her fortune and independence. When all of Hamilton's and Eliza's best-laid plans fall by the wayside, it will take a riot of complications for them to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.
MY REVIEW: Delightful mischief and mayhem ensue when a downtrodden and determined heiress leaves her home in England to follow her fate to New York City of 1880. Lady Eliza Sumner struggles to endure the loss of her father and her fiance, but when her fortune is misappropriated, she determines to take matters into her own hands and regain her rightful inheritance. Posing as a governess, complete with an unflattering "makeover", she searches for the scoundrel who stole her family funds. Her quest inadvertently crosses her path with that of Hamilton Beckett, a widower with two small children who is considered to be "the catch" of the social elite. Hamilton's keen eye determines that Eliza is far more than a governess, and eventually they discover that they pursue a mutual enemy. After rescuing Eliza from an ill-advised investigatory incident, Hamilton is struck with the realization that he is meant to keep Eliza in his care. It seems Eliza's predilection for perilous predicaments brings out his best "knight in shining armor" behavior, and he finds that he enjoys his role as guardian. However the increasingly complex circumstances around Eliza's stolen fortune and the mysterious death of Hamilton's first wife cause both Eliza and Hamilton to ponder their own loss of religious faith. As the two of them grow closer, their enemies draw ever near, and the love blooming between them is threatened. Will Eliza regain what has been taken from her, or has she found something even more precious? Will Hamilton overcome painful memories and truly learn to trust his heart again? Has each incident in the chain of events been part of a master plan to bring them together after all? "A Change of Fortune" is a fast-paced, funny and thoughtful historical romance. Very enjoyable. A prequel story, "A Gentleman of Her Dreams", is available as an e-book novella.
Review Copy Gratis Library Thing
When Miss Charlotte Wilson asks God for a husband, she decides He must want her to pursue Mr. Hamilton Beckett, the catch of the season. The only problem? She's never actually met Hamilton. Fortunately, one of her oldest and dearest friends, Mr. Henry St. James—who has returned to New York after a two-year absence—does know Hamilton. Much to Henry's chagrin, Charlotte immediately ropes him into helping her meet Hamilton. However, none of her plans to catch Hamilton's eye go as she expected, and she is even more confused when her old feelings for Henry begin to resurrect themselves. In the midst of the mayhem Charlotte always seems to cause, she wonders if the gentleman of her dreams might be an entirely different man than she thought.
This novella is a companion to A Change of Fortune, Jen Turano's full-length debut novel.
Jen Turano is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. She pursued a career in management for nine years before switching to full-time motherhood after the birth of her son. When she's not writing, Jen can be found watching her teenage son participate in various activities, taking long walks with her husband and dog, socializing with friends, or delving into a good book. She lives in suburban Denver, Colorado. Learn more at www.jenturano.com.