I have always loved Jen Turano books . . . I just forgot how much until I read this one. It’s probably been a couple of years since I’ve picked up a Jen Turano book–not for lack of want, but for lack of time to read all the great books out there. Since I had a 3 hour round trip drive to my ACFW chapter meeting, I decided to listen to an audiobook that I also had the print copy of. It’s a good thing I did. Do you remember how I didn’t make the April Reading Challenge? Well you can blame Jen Turano. I ended up reading her book that weekend instead of the one I was supposed to read for the challenge. Oops.
Jen’s books are always packed full of humor, wit, danger, and unique characters. This story brought the levity I needed to a stress-packed month while also giving me the danger, mystery, and crime that I desire. I absolutely cannot wait to continue reading the series. Once a street thief, Gabriella has grown into a respectable woman with a heart of gold and a willingness to do whatever it takes to clear the name of a fellow boardinghouse mate. . . even if it brings her former partner and best friend back into her life. Gabriella isn’t the only whose had a lifestyle change, Nicholas has not only changed his ways, he’s done the impossible and moved into the social circles of the famed Four Hundred. Danger and social differences threaten to break apart the bond they once shared.
Any reader who enjoys banter, humor, adventure, danger, unique characters, and stories of friends to more will love this book.
Genre: Historical Romance, 1886, New York CIty
After a childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. In the middle of breaking into a safe that holds the proof to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella is interrupted by Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.
After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agreed to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.
As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.
What I loved: I am a huge fan of the combination of humor and danger, while still maintaining a realistic relationship strain. The characters were delightful, the crimes exciting, and the Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency an absolute joy to watch grow.
Favorite Character and Why: The pairing of Gabriella and Nicholas is wonderful. I love their connection, the banter, and the romance. However, Daphne stole the show for me–which makes me absolutely delighted that she gets her own book next! Not only is Daphne an author, but she’s also an absolute mess and a hoot!
Who would like this? Any reader who enjoys banter, humor, adventure, danger, unique characters, and stories of friends to more will love this book.
Rating and Why: Five stars. It was such a fun story, one I will certainly be rereading.
Reviewing collections has always been a little different. This is a novella collection I actually read a while ago and forgot to post about, so it’s been sitting in my draft box for months. I enjoyed having a print version in my hands, just because I’m not a huge e-book fan. Each novella is the kick off for a different series and whets your tongue for other reads.
“Three of Christian historical fiction’s beloved authors come together in this romantic and humorous collection of novellas featuring prequels to their latest series. New and loyal fans alike will enjoy these novellas previously released only as ebooks. Connealy’s The Boden Birthright journeys to the Old West, where ranch hand Chance Boden’s determination to be his own boss is challenged by his employer’s pretty daughter. Hunter’s A Lady of Esteem follows a Regency-era young lady whose chance at love and reputation in society are threatened by a nasty rumor. Turano’s At Your Request tells of a young woman who is humbled at her newly lowered status in society when she is reunited with the very man whose proposal she rejected.” – Amazon Blurb
The first novella, The Boden Birthright, kicks off The Cimarron Legacy with the father’s love story and the hint at a secret that threatens the life of Chance and his children during the series that follows.
“After the death of his wife, prosperous businessman Chance Boden heads west along the Santa Fe Trail with his son to escape the powerful control of his in-laws. He has plans to establish his own ranch, but instead he finds work with Frank Chastain, owner of a vast amount of land.
Chance doesn’t want to work for anyone, but Frank’s beautiful daughter, Veronica, gives him reason to delay buying his own holdings. With winter coming, no home in which to live, and Veronica’s offer to care for young Cole while Chance learns the ways of ranching in the desert, Chance has little choice but to accept the Chastains’ offer to stay on.
When Frank is attacked, his last wish is that Chance marry his daughter, but after dealing with his in-laws, Chance doesn’t want anyone coming between him and his son. Then, before Frank dies, his precarious hold on the land he received as part of an old Spanish Land Grant forces him to make a desperate choice to save Veronica’s inheritance–and also gives the men who attacked Frank a reason to come after his legacy.” — Amazon
The second novella A Lady of Esteem introduced me to a new-to-me author, Kristi Ann Hunter. I enjoyed the story and the lovely twists. I am definitely intrigued enough to check out the Hawthorne House series and follow the brothers and sister I met in A Lady of Esteem.
“Miss Amelia Stalwood may live in London at her absent guardian’s townhouse, but she’s never actually met any nobility; instead of aristocrats, her closest friends are servants. Quite by happenstance, she’s introduced to the Hawthorne family and their close family friend, Anthony, the reformed Marquis of Raebourne. They welcome her into their world, but just as she’s beginning to gain some confidence and even suspect that she may have caught Anthony’s eye, she’s blindsided by an unexpected twist in her situation accompanied by nasty rumors. Will she lose her reputation when the world that has only just accepted her turns its back on her, or will she rest in the support of the friends who’ve become like family and the man who’s shared his faith and captured her heart?” – Amazon Blurb
The final story, At Your Request was a bit shorter than I expected it to be and was a cute story typical of Jen Turano fashion. I haven’t yet read the Apart from the Crowd Series, but it was nice to be introduced to the upcoming characters and get a feel for what the stories will be like. ‘
“After her father lost the family’s fortune, Wilhelmina was cast out of the fashionable set and banished to the wallflower section. Taking a position as a social secretary to help support her family, she’s mostly come to terms with her new status. But when her old friend Edgar returns to New York society for the first time since she rejected his marriage proposal, she’s newly ashamed at how far she’s fallen–and how hastily she dismissed him years ago. Her strategy is to avoid a face-to-face encounter at all costs, but he seems to have other plans. Will Edgar take advantage of their now reversed positions and make her regret her refusal, or is there still hope for a friendship between them–or something more?
At Your Request is an e-only novella that gives an exciting introduction to Jen Turano’s new Gilded Age historical romance series, Apart From the Crowd! Includes an extended excerpt of the first full-length novel in the series, Behind the Scenes.” – Amazon
Overall, I really liked the collection for the ability to get introduced to three new series and to have physical copies of books I wouldn’t have had otherwise. All the e-book are free to purchase individually.
*I was provided a copy of this collection by the publisher. The opinion above is my own and not influenced in any way.*”