I love Elizabeth Camden’s novels with their unique and often personal glimpse of history. The Spice King, first book in her Hope of Glory series left me hungry for the next book and A Gilded Lady certainly did not disappoint. It is such a treat for each of the Delacroix siblings to be featured in a book of their own.
Sister Caroline is the featured sibling in A Gilded Lady. I will admit that I did not like her very much at first but like Nathaniel Trask, I was soon able to see past her outer façade to the loyal and caring person she often kept hidden from the public. Nathaniel was also a bit of a cold fish at first with his stiff, serious demeanor and his dedication to duty. What fun it was to observe the changes in each of them over the course of their relationship. Of course it was inevitable that the two would be thrown together and for some inexplicable reason find the love of their life in each other.
Along with a developing romance, readers are served a wonderful behind the scenes peek into life in the White House during the McKinley Presidency, especially how hard the staff works in order to keep things running smoothly and the difficulties involved in protecting the President and his family. The contrast between security during the McKinley era and the present day was amazing. Of course any book by Camden would not be complete without a bit of danger and/or intrigue to round it out. A Gilded Lady definitely met the criteria with several surprises along the way.
I am an admitted lover of book covers, especially those that are creative and well done. I was particularly impressed by the way the cover designer created the covers to fit together so well. You can get an idea by looking at the covers side by side at http://elizabethcamden.com/books-by-elizabeth-camden/. Then be sure to pick up copies of both books if you can. You will not be disappointed.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author through Bethany House. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Caroline Delacroix is at the pinnacle of Washington high society in her role as secretary to the First Lady of the United States. But beneath the facade of her beauty, glamorous wardrobe, and dazzling personality, she’s hiding a terrible secret. If she cannot untangle a web of foreign espionage, her brother will face execution for treason.
Nathaniel Trask is the newly appointed head of the president’s Secret Service team. He is immediately attracted to Caroline’s quick wit and undeniable charm, but his job leaves no room for distractions. Anarchist plots have led to mounting threats against the president, forcing him to put duty before his growing love for Caroline.
Amid the glamorous pageantry of Gilded Age Washington, DC, Caroline and Nathaniel face danger and heartbreak that shakes them to their core and tests all they know about love and sacrifice.
Read an excerpt here.
Purchase a copy here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Photo Credit: Photo courtesy of Ginger Murray Photography
Elizabeth Camden (www.elizabethcamden.com) is best known for her historical novels set in Gilded Age America, featuring clever heroines and richly layered storylines. Before she was a writer, she was an academic librarian at some of the largest and smallest libraries in America, but her favorite is the continually growing library in her own home. Her novels have won the RITA and Christy Award and have appeared on the CBA bestsellers list. She lives in Orlando, Florida, with her husband, who graciously tolerates her intimidating stockpile of books.
Jen Turano has remained as one of my must read authors since her very first book. I am pretty certain that I have read them all and always recommend them to those who enjoy a bit of humor and suspense with their historical romance.
Once again this author has shared another of her signature tales with readers and once again I reached the final page with great satisfaction. As always, the plot is well paced with lovable, eccentric characters that will steal readers’ hearts. Plenty of witty dialogue that sometimes borders on bickering and some well placed slapstick humor added to my enjoyment. I loved being able to escape our pandemic quarantine for a few hours and spend time with Beatrix, Norman, Theo, Aunt Gladys, and the other fine characters who populate this tale. There are even several cats as well as Mort the mule who steal a few scenes.
Obviously Storing Up Trouble is another boy gets girl story but what fun is to had along the way. It was fun getting to know Beatrix with her kind and giving heart even though she did have a tendency towards mishaps. I also loved Norman who was so very eccentric and self-centered but became aware of his shortcomings through his friendship with Beatrix. And speaking of friendships, I loved Theo and how she blossomed throughout the book, mostly due to the influence of Beatrix and Aunt Gladys.
I could elaborate more but this is one book readers will want to read for themselves. It would be so difficult to avoid spoilers if I continue. Do yourself a favor and pick up a copy ASAP.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author and Bethany House Publishers. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s Chicago-bound train ride is interrupted by a heist, Mr. Norman Nesbit, a man of science who believes his research was the target of the heist, comes to her aid. Despite the fact that they immediately butt heads, they join forces to make a quick escape.
Upon her arrival in Chicago, Beatrix is surprised to discover her supposedly querulous Aunt Gladys shares her own suffragette passions. Encouraged by Gladys to leave her sheltered world, Beatrix begins working as a salesclerk at the Marshall Field and Company department store. When she again encounters Norman on a shopping expedition, he is quickly swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract.
But when another attempt is made to part Norman from his research papers, and it becomes clear Beatrix’s safety is also at risk, they soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.
Read an excerpt here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO. She can be found on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com. She is represented by the Natasha Kern Literary Agency.
I was ready for a light-hearted book when I opened Diamond in the Rough and its opening line let me know quickly that I had the right book. I can always count on any book by Jen Turano to provide me with plenty of giggles and maybe even a restrained belly laugh or two and this book was no exception. As usual, this book takes place mostly among the high society of that era.
With a leading lady who cares little for the demands of high society and who seems to be followed by trouble with a capital T, and a starched, impeccable, and proper English hero, readers can be assured that Diamond in the Rough is a recipe for disaster blended with lots of fun. I loved Poppy whose good intentions sometimes tripped her up but her good humor kept her likeable. It was such fun watching Reginald fall under Poppy’s spell and lose some of his starchiness. I also loved some of the secondary characters, especially wimpy Murray whose entire persona changed due to his association with Poppy and Reginald.
Loved, loved, loved this book! As long as the author will keep writing them, I will most assuredly keep reading them!
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author through Bethany House Publishers. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
When Miss Poppy Garrison accepts her grandmother’s offer of financial help for her family in exchange for Poppy joining the New York social Season, she quickly realizes she is far less equipped to mingle with the New York Four Hundred than even she knew. As she becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, becoming the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs her to be looks more impossible by the day.
Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, is in New York to help his cousin find an American heiress who can help save his family’s estate. But when his very proper British manners lead Poppy’s grandmother to request he teach etiquette to Poppy, he quickly finds himself in for much more than he bargained for.
And while they couldn’t be more opposite, Reginald and Poppy just might find they have more to teach each other than they ever could have expected.
Read an excerpt HERE.
Purchase a copy HERE.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jen Turano, the USA Today bestselling author of eleven 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 frequently find that novellas may feel just a bit rushed with critical details missing in order for the author to complete her story in the limited amount of space. I never felt that way while reading Enchanting Nicholette, in fact when I reached the end it was with the same satisfaction as when reading a full-length novel. What a treat to discover what happened to Nicholette after losing her husband on their wedding day!
As always, I found the author’s plot to be well developed with vivid descriptions and wonderful characters. I could almost imagine myself there among them as they walked through the park or spent time at a dinner party. A perfect balance of witty dialogue, romantic interludes, and a touch of mystery, Enchanting Nicholette ended much too quickly and left me wanting more (I never want books by this author to end!). I eagerly anticipate what Dawn Crandall will offer her readers next.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by the author. A favorable review was not required. All views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
In this captivating novella by Dawn Crandall, Nicholette Everstone is already a widow at the age of twenty-two: her husband was murdered on their wedding day. She has just returned to Boston after two years of mourning in Europe. Although her husband was loving, the marriage was an arranged one, and Nicholette would like to wed again–this time for love…and to someone safe.
As she acclimates to life in Back Bay again, Nicholette meets someone she can’t help but fall for. But when she learns of the danger and sacrifices Cal Hawthorne takes on for the safety of others, will her heart be strong enough to keep her fears of “what if” at bay?
Read the first chapter here.
Read the “Almost Kiss” excerpt here.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Dawn Crandall’s debut Gilded Age Victorian romance, “The Hesitant Heiress,” was a 2015 ACFW Carol award finalist in the debut category and received the 2015 Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence, the 2015 Write Touch Reader’s Choice Award and the 2015 Romancing the Novel Reader’s Choice Award. Her follow-up novel, “The Bound Heart,” received the 2016 Laurel Award from Clash of the Titles. Dawn earned a BA in Christian Education from Taylor University. She’s been balancing books and babies lately as her two sons were both born as the four books of her Everstone Chronicles series were being released from Whitaker House from 2014 to 2016. Dawn lives with her husband and two young sons on a hobby farm in her hometown in northeast Indiana.
I always love getting to read a new novel by Jen Turano. I enjoy her sense of humor plus the way her heroines are generally not accepted by the high society set. That just makes the character all the more interesting to me, especially when she is as feisty and kind-hearted as Permilia Griswold. And oh, the names! Turano has a real gift for choosing unusual names for many of her characters, often names I have never heard before. Such fun!
Now motherless Permilia had spent much of her life following her father from one mining interest to another so she had not learned all the fine skills society demanded of young women. Her ineptitude earned her a position and reputation as a wallflower at society events. Not particularly interested in making a match, Permilia used her near invisibility to good use in her anonymous gossip columns. Everything changed when she overheard a sinister conversation threatening Asher Rutherford’s life. When he refused to believe her, Permilia took it upon herself to protect him – and that is where the hilarity ensued!
Although the story got off to a somewhat slow start due to all the necessary details about the Vanderbilt ball, it picked up its pace later with plenty of action and romance, laced with a bit of danger and suspense, and as always, several delightfully laugh-out-loud moments. Of course there was a surprise or two in store. Most importantly I was quite pleased to see a couple of not-so-nice characters receive their due comeuppance.
All in all, “Behind the Scenes” was another fun read that kept me engaged throughout its entirety. I am looking forward to this author’s next offering.
I voluntarily reviewed a copy of this book provided by Celebrate Lit. A favorable review was not required and all views expressed are my own.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
Click to purchase
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.
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
April 28: Fiction, Faith, and Fun
April 28: Just the Write Escape
April 29: Bookworm Mama
April 29: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
April 29: Books. Books. AND More Books.
April 29: Karen Sue Hadley
April 30: Lighthouse Academy
April 30: Radiant Light
April 30: Bigreadersite
April 30: Lane Hill House
May 1: Faithfully Bookish
May 1: Counting Pinecones
May 1: Blogging With Carol
May 1: Moments Dipped in Ink
May 2: inklings and notions
May 2: Blossoms and Blessings
May 2: Book Bites, Bee Stings, and Butterfly Kisses
May 2: Neverending Stories
May 3: For The Love of Books
May 3: Singing Librarian Books
May 3: Book by Book
May 3: Pause for Tales
May 4: A Baker’s Perspective
May 4: Chas Ray’s Book Nerd Corner
May 4: cherylbbookblog
May 4: Rachel Scott McDaniel
May 5: With a Joyful Noise
May 5: Baker Kella
May 5: A Reader’s Brain
May 5: Southern Gal Loves to Read
May 6: A Greater Yes
May 6: Christian Bookaholic
May 6: Connie’s History Classroom
May 6: Splashes of Joy
May 6: Just Commonly
May 7: A Simple Life, really?!
May 7: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
May 7: Daysong Reflections
May 7: The Power of Words
May 8: Ashley’s Bookshelf
May 8: Eat, Read,Teach, Blog
May 8: Giveaway Lady
May 8: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
May 9: Bibliophile Reviews
May 9: History, Mystery & Faith
May 9: I Hope You Dance
May 9: Simpleharvestreads
May 10: His Grace is Sufficient
May 10: History, Hope, Laughter & Happily-ever-after
May 10: Raining Butterfly Kisses
May 10: Reader’s Cozy Corner
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!
Playing the Part by Jen Turano is a 352 page book in the Christian historical fiction genre. It is published by Bethany House Publishers and was released on March 1, 2016. To purchase your own copy, click here
I always look forward to reading Jen Turano’s latest book and was thrilled to have a chance to review “Playing the Part”. I just hope I can do this wonderful book justice!
The third book in Turano’s A Class of Their Own series, “Playing the Part” features popular actress Lucetta Plum who finds herself forced to flee New York because of a man determined to make her his own – with or without marriage vows. Disguised and under cover of night, Lucetta and her dear friend Abigail Hart travel to the estate of Abigail’s grandson Bram. That my friend is where the adventure and hilarity really begins!
As Turano’s true fans know from the previous books in this series, Lucetta is just a bit eccentric. Well she has met her match in Bram who has to be at least equally unconventional. From his gothic and somewhat spooky mansion to strange and unexplained happenings within its walls and grounds, Lucetta is uncertain what to think about Bram. Honestly, the man is just too secretive to trust. There is absolutely no way she can fall for Abigail’s matchmaking efforts!
I loved the characters of Lucetta and Bram and it was fun to touch base with characters from the previous books in this series. I also loved the somewhat dark and mysterious story combined with frequent humorous scenes. Jen is uniquely talented in the way she manages to insert humor into a perfectly serious scene and makes it perfectly natural. Dialogue was often witty and I laughed often. Then of course there was the romance. It sometimes took a few detours along the way but the ending was perfectly satisfying.
Once again, I have to say that “Playing the Part” may be my favorite book by Jen yet! Of course I say that every time but my only explanation is that each one gets better and better. If you are not familiar with Jen Turano’s books, you have missed something special. Do yourself a favor and pick up “Playing the Part” or any of her other novels asap.
A digital copy of this book was provided for review by Celebrate Lit.
ABOUT THE BOOK:
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.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Jen Turano is the best-selling, critically acclaimed author ofThe Ladies of Distinction series, and A Class of Their Own series, published through Bethany House Publishers. Her novel, After a Fashion, was chosen as a top pick from Romantic Times, as well as being named a top ten romance of 2015 from Booklist. It is also a nominee for Romantic Times 2015 Reviewers’ Choice Award. Her book, A Most Peculiar Circumstance, was chosen as a top ten romance by Booklist in 2013. Her seventh book, Playing the Part, will release in the spring of 2016, followed by a new four-book series, The Wallflowers. When she’s not writing, Jen spends her time outside of Denver with her husband and neurotic Cattle Dog, enjoying herself as an empty-nester since her son recently abandoned her for the college life. She can be found on Facebook athttps://www.facebook.com/jenturanoauthor/ or visit her on the web at www.jenturano.com. She is represented by Susan Brower of the Natasha Kern Literary Agency. Her books may be found in most fine bookstores, or follow the Baker House Publishing link to find additional places to purchase her work.
Jen is graciously giving away an entire set of this series! Click HERE to enter!
Visit all the blogs on the tour!
March 16: cherylbbookblog
March 16: Book Reviews From an Avid Reader
March 17: Singing Librarian Books
March 17: D’S QUILTS & BOOKS
March 18: Bookworm Mama
March 19: Reading Is My SuperPower
March 19: Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations
March 20: Faith * Love * Books
March 21: A Greater Yes
March 21: Southern Chelle
March 22: Splashes of Joy
March 22: Daysong Reflections
March 23: Bigreadersite
March 23: Texas Book-aholic
March 24: 100 pages per hour
March 25: simpleharvestreads
March 25: Karen Krayons
March 26: Buwurmzzz
March 26: Cassandra M’s Place
March 27: Jeanette’s Thoughts
March 27: The Power of Words
March 28: Two Girls and a Book