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. . . .
SERIES: Apart From The Crowd #1
GENRE: Historical Romance, Humor, Suspense
PUBLISHER: Bethany House
RELEASE DATE: April 18, 2017
Other Books In This Series
“Of course there would be an untimely sneeze.”
When Jen Turano is at the helm, you can always count on much laughter. She spotlights the already-extreme quirks of Gilded Age high society and turns them into the most outlandish tongue-in-cheek version of themselves. Her writing is a mix of Georgette Heyer and P.G. Wodehouse but set a bit on its end. From the dialogue (which can slide into a hilarious info-dumping) to the madcap mayhem, the ensuing result is copious amounts of giggles and amusingly endearing characters.
Behind the Scenes is no exception. I mean, when the first few females you meet are named Permilia Griswold, Gertrude Cadwalader, and Temperance Flowerfew, you know you’re in for a good time 😉 The fact that you meet them at a Vanderbilt costume ball with 1200 guests and themed quadrilles – including one that Permilia so delightfully misunderstands (which does not, however, stop her from “dancing” in it) – is just icing on the cake.
And then there’s Asher Rutherford, a self-made businessman who is, of course, rather dashing and perplexedly (to himself, at least) captivated by Permilia. When she overhears a plot to murder Asher, he doesn’t take her seriously… until he’s forced to do so. Which is about the time she’s rescuing him – in costume, of course – from an attempt on his life.
Add in nods to Cinderella, a colorful cast of supporting characters, and some sound kissing? You’ve got yourself a wildly entertaining read!
Bottom Line: Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano is a light, fun romance with a dash of suspense and a bucketful of hilarity! The characters – and the setting – leap off the page, and you’ll find yourself more than once wanting to grab Permilia into a spontaneous hug. Particularly during the Go-As-You-Please quadrille. Although… that hug might be for self-preservation purposes more than anything else 😉 Gilded Age society has never been more entertaining, and I’m already eagerly anticipating the next wildflower in the spotlight!
(I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book which I received from the publisher. All views expressed are only my honest opinion.)
My Rating: 4 stars / Madcap fun!
KissingBook Level: 3 / May forget to breathe on occasion
What is the funniest thing that has ever happened to you personally?
Jen: 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.
Carrie: Hahahahahaha! Oh goodness!
What is your favorite book from your childhood?
Jen: “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.
Carrie: I love that you were able to find a copy and still loved it!
Who does the cooking and cleaning in your house when you are on a deadline?
Jen: 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.
Carrie: I can’t say I’ve ever had the urge to mop. Decluttering, yes. Mopping, not so much.
Where is your favorite place to write?
Jen: 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?
Jen: 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.
Carrie: Now that I think about it, that does make sense lol.
Why did you choose the time frame or setting this book is written in?
Jen: 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.
Carrie: That ball was so fascinating to read about – especially with your humor added to it 🙂
What inspires you?
Jen: 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.
Carrie: The cat costume!!! That was real?? (Clearly I had to go find it) Oh goodness haha!
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.
Other Books by Jen Turano
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!! Enter via the Rafflecopter form below. Be sure to comment on this post before you enter to claim 9 extra entries!
This giveaway is hosted by Celebrate Lit Blog Tours.
Follow along with this tour for a list of blog stops and more chances to win!
What about you? If you could pick a quirky Gilded Age character name for yourself, what would it be?