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About the Book
When Permilia overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Rutherford, she’s determined to find and warn the man. Disgruntled at a first meeting that goes quite poorly and results in Asher not believing her, she decides to take matters into her own hands, never realizing she’ll end up at risk as well.
As Asher and Permilia are forced to work together and spend time away from the spotlight of society, perhaps there’s more going on behind the scenes than they ever could have anticipated. . . .
I rarely read books set during the Gilded Age, so I was excited to try Behind the Scenes, the new release by Jen Turano. The back cover sounded like something I would enjoy and Ms. Turano is an author I have never read before.
And I am disappointed that I did not enjoy this book, though some parts of it worked for me.
The romance is very low-key but enjoyable. You can see the characters beginning to respect and like each other and it is believable when they fall in love. I can see this couple making it after the end of the book and I don’t always see the couple that way at the end of a romance!
The characters are done well, as both Permilia and Asher are fully realized and have believable positive traits and flaws. Asher is a little more relatable to me because I understand his desire to change after the realization he had become someone he didn’t want to be. Permilia is a little too outlandish for me. Every time she would commit a societal faux pas or insert her way into the action in a way that was often unsafe and over the top, I became embarrassed for her!
The back cover makes it seem like the mystery of who is trying to kill Asher is a big part of the book, but it feels as if that plot thread goes away in the later portion of the book until the reveal. The mystery was convoluted though I was genuinely surprised by who was trying to kill Asher. I’m rarely surprised by a book’s outcome so that was nice!
The characters’ faith felt like an afterthought and I would’ve appreciated more of it. There are a few scenes where the characters talk about learning God’s plan for their life but I just didn’t feel as if the characters truly lived their faith.
The book itself felt light and frothy (even with a murder plot) and I enjoy my stories a little darker and more serious, so I did not enjoy the tone of the book. I’m not sure I would read any of Ms. Turano’s work in the future, simply because of the style.
I give this book 2/5 stars. The characters are nice, the setting is unusual and imagined well, but I just can’t recommend it as I do not appreciate this specific type of humor and found Ms. Turano’s writing extremely wordy—the ball where Permilia finds out about the murder plot takes over half the book! People who enjoy light and frothy romances and do not have an issue with over the top humor and extremely talkative characters will enjoy this book more than I did.
**I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author through CelebrateLit. All opinions are my own.**
About the Author
Interview with Jen Turano
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you personally?
Amusing things happen to me all the time, but I think my favorite was back in college when I was a lifeguard. You see, there’s a lifeguard code – You will be cool at all times, especially when you’re sitting in a lifeguard chair, twirling your whistle exactly so, and, you know…looking cool. So, there I was, in my black lifeguard bathing suit – swinging my whistle. It was an unusually hot day, so I’d angled my umbrella exactly right as I watched the diving-board section. Now, I know this might come as a surprise, but being a lifeguard at the neighborhood pool isn’t exactly thrilling. It’s rare that anything exciting happens, and that particular day was no exception…until a large gust of wind came out of nowhere and the umbrella took it upon itself to close – right over me. And because it was now really gusty, the umbrella then lifted up, taking me with it right off the chair and into the depths of the deep end of the pool. From all accounts, it was quite the sight. First, there I was, swinging my whistle and looking groovy. Then all you could see were my legs flailing about as the umbrella covered the rest of me, and then…I was plummeting toward the pool, hit the water with the umbrella over me, and promptly sank. Obviously I managed to get out of the umbrella, but in the process, part of my bathing suit came off, and…well, that’s a story for another day.
What is your favorite book from your childhood?
“Andrew Henry’s Meadow.” It was actually my little brother’s book, gotten from one of those book of the month clubs, but I loved it. I recently found a copy on an e-site and ordered it, and it’s just as delightful today as it was back in my childhood.
Who does the cooking and cleaning in your house when you are on a deadline?
I don’t actually cook much even when I’m not on deadline, so that’s not really an issue. Al and I do a lot of salads or throw some chicken on the grill. We also have a lot of grocery stores that have wonderful deli and gourmet foods, so we get a lot of things there. As for cleaning, I’m one of those neurotic people who can’t work without everything being in place, so I do a lot of tidying up before I go to bed. And, because I do some of my best thinking when I clean, I’ve been known to abandon my writing when I get stuck and pick up a mop or cleaning rag, which means my house is rarely a disaster since I need to get unstuck a lot.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I do the majority of my writing in my office, although I will occasionally take a pad of paper and a pen outside to handwrite when I get bored of my office or it’s a really nice day and I don’t feel like being trapped inside. It’s not that my office is my favorite place to write, it’s more that my writing is my job and I’m more focused on that writing when I approach it as such.
What is your favorite part of the writing process?
I really like when characters and new story ideas begin to fester. That normally happens when I’m in the midst of another series. By the time I’m done with whatever series I’m working on, the next series is pretty firmly set in my mind, which means I can jump right in as I wait for edits on recently completed work. My absolute favorite part of writing, though, is when I turn in the very final edit on a book and don’t see it again until it comes out in print. Although, I must admit, I’ve never, not once, read one of my books after it has gone to print. Seems rather pointless since I do always know how the book is going to end.
Why did you choose the timeframe or setting this book is written in?
I’ve been wanting to set a book during Alva Vanderbilt’s famous costume ball of March, 1883, for years. Since I decided to slowly travel through the Gilded Age, I just reached 1883 on my plot timeline, so knew I was finally going to get to throw some characters into the very midst of Alva’s ball. It was a blast to write, loved going back to all my books on this particular ball and seeing the pictures, and only wish the Vanderbilt house at 660 Fifth Avenue was still standing so I could visit it in person to visualize the splendors located inside a little more clearly.
What inspires you?
I think like most writers, I simply get inspired by the world around me. I love to people watch, and I love to imagine all sorts of outlandish scenarios as I do that watching. I also get inspired by reading the headlines of the daily papers, and by the research books I read. I also love to look through old photographs of the Gilded Age, and became intrigued with Alva Vanderbilt’s ball when I saw a picture of a young lady, Miss Kate Strong, with a stuffed cat on her head and wearing a choker necklace with the name Puss engraved on it. That was all it took for me to investigate the Vanderbilt ball further, delighted to discover it truly was a ball that only comes along every blue moon.
April 27: Reading Is My SuperPower
April 27: The Scribbler
April 27: Genesis 5020
April 27: These Splendid Sentences
April 28: Back Porch Reads
April 28: Smiling Book Reviews
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April 29: Bookworm Mama
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April 29: Karen Sue Hadley
April 30: Lighthouse Academy
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May 10: His Grace is Sufficient
May 10: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after
May 10: Raining Butterfly Kisses
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To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift Card and the four books: After a Fashion, In Good Company, Playing the Part, Behind the Scenes!! Click below to enter. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
Writer/Editor. Voracious Book Reader. World Traveler. Veteran.