Book: Behind the Scenes
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Inspirational Historical Romance
Release Date: April, 2017
Miss Permilia Griswold may have been given the opportunity of a debut into New York high society, but no one warned her she wasn’t guaranteed to “take.” After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, she’s finally putting her status on the fringes of society to good use by penning anonymous society gossip columns under the pseudonym “Miss Quill.”
Mr. Asher Rutherford has managed to maintain his status as a reputable gentleman of society despite opening his own department store. While pretending it’s simply a lark to fill his time, he has quite legitimate reasons for needing to make his store the most successful in the country.
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. . . .
About the Author
Jen Turano, author of nine books and two novellas, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.
"I do apologize, Stepmother, but I fear I have no choice but to abandon my manners because this is a matter of life and death."
Jen Turano’s Behind the Scenes is a must read—and I’m not even an avid fan of historical fiction. From the first page, her words tugged me into the 1800’s high society and what it would be as a wallflower. Poor Permilia Griswold is exactly that, but it doesn’t stop her from being herself. Meanwhile Asher Rutherford is the definition of a respectable gentlemen (and eligible bachelor.)
As a wallflower myself, I related to Permilia on a deeper level. In many ways, she’s misunderstood, but she’s passionate, caring, and quirky. I love that she is in no way boring, which sometimes people misconstrue wallflowers as uninteresting. In truth, the whole cast of characters will charm your hearts (except for the antagonists.) From Permilia to Asher, a pair of wacky sisters, the rest of the wallflowers, and even the other members of high society.
The historical aspects rang true to me (all though I am no history buff), but I absolutely fell in love with the dialogue.
"You're an idiot. But even though you are an idiot, I do hope you'll consider what I've said and proceed forward with at least a modicum of caution. I would so hate to read in those articles you apparently believe are not for ladies that you've met with a nasty demise."
The beautiful way of speaking captures your attention. There is a little bit of info-dumping in the dialogue, but the gossip-style fashion known in the high society seems like a genuine reflection of the time.
Never has a historical novel caused me to laugh so much. The quirky cast of characters, societal norms, and polite digs at each other’s flaws make for a humorous read. There’s also the added elements of suspense and swoon-worthy romance. Turano captures the romantic tension between Permilia and Asher perfectly.
In fact, I have every intention of reading this book again in the very near future. Once isn’t enough. The beginning is a little slow, but if you stick with it through the first fifty pages, you will be riveted with a plot of humor, romance, and intrigue.
Rating: 5+ Stars, can't get enough
I was given a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.
Time—once you start, you won’t want to stop
Caffeine—to keep you up late at night
A friend—to act out the dialogue with a snooty accent (if you like that kind of thing.)
Other Books in this Series: An Apart from the Crowd Novella
Currently free on Amazon for your Kindle
Guest Post from 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.