Out of the Ordinary, by Jen Turano

book coverPublisher’s Overview:

Working as a paid companion may be quite commonplace, but Miss Gertrude Cadwalader’s eccentric employer makes her job unpredictable, to say the least. She finds herself carrying out an array of highly unusual tasks, including wearing peculiar outfits and returning items the woman pilfered. But when the wealthy Mrs. Sinclair catches Gertrude sneaking around the Sinclair yacht with some of the missing items in her possession, she immediately jumps to the wrong conclusion.

Shipping magnate Harrison Sinclair is caught in the middle of a misunderstanding between his mother and Gertrude, but he can’t help coming to his friend’s defense. Even as he hopes their friendship might become something more, Harrison is unprepared for the outlandish escapades that seem to follow the lovely, anything-but-ordinary Gertrude at every turn.

First Thoughts:

I jump at any Jen Turano book. They’re almost always a fun read!

My Take:

I almost always enjoy a novel by Jen Turano. You know what you’re going to get: a lighthearted book that might include a difficult subject, which contains subtle humour, quirky characters, and an even subtler social commentary on the Gilded Age. Out of the Ordinary continues the series about social “wallflowers” Permilia, Gertrude, and Temperance. These women aren’t really welcome at social events, but are still expected to attend due to family and other connections. Everything is explained in the first book in the Apart From the Crowd series, Behind the Scenes, so I do suggest you read that. That was Permilia’s story, and now the focus has switched to Gertrude.

To be honest, there’s little I can say about Out of the Ordinary that I’ve not said about Jen Turano’s other novels. Yes, there’s a slight formulaic feel to them but “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it,” as the saying goes. If Turano was to change her style, I’d probably be one of many fans who’d be disappointed. Harrison’s sisters were a welcome addition and I’d love to see them star in their own series. Turano’s writing is also clever: she manages to sneak in a Star Wars reference without it sounding at all anachronistic. There is a plot resolution that feels slightly contrived, but everybody deserves a happy ending, so why not?

If you love fun historical novels that aren’t full of romantic cliché (this one even has references to those sorts of books!), then I heartily recommend any of Jen Turano’s books including this one. But do read them in order, including any prequels, so that you can maximize your enjoyment of this singular author.

Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of Out of the Ordinary, which I received for my honest review.

Have you read Out of the Ordinary? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.


Author Q and A

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 07 November 2017

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Bethany House’s Website   Jen Turano’s Website   Coney Island’s Manhattan Beach Resort

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com


Behind the Scenes, by Jen Turano

book cover Behind the ScenesPublisher’s Overview:

After spending the last six years banished to the wallflower section of the ballroom, Miss Permilia Griswold has finally figured out a way to pass the time at all the New York high-society events she attends. Under the pseudonym “Miss Quill,” she is the author of society gossip columns filled with tidbits only an insider in society–albeit one on the fringes–would know. 

When she overhears a threat against Mr. Asher Rutherford, the owner of one of the most up-and-coming department stores in the city, she’s determined to warn him. But the irritatingly handsome man doesn’t believe her, leaving her no choice but to take matters into her own hands. What she doesn’t anticipate is that she’ll end up putting herself at risk in the process–or that she and Mr. Rutherford, a man with secrets of his own, just might end up joining forces after all.

First Thoughts:

I’ve enjoyed every book I’ve read by Jen Turano. It was a no-brainer, therefore, to request to review this title when Bethany House made it available. Plus, I’d already read the free prequel novella.

My Take:

You always know what you’re going to get with a Jen Turano novel. It’s usually set in New York City during the Gilded Age (or, on occasion, Newport, Rhode Island) and includes a bunch of quirky characters of various ages and social status, sometimes interacting with real life figures of that era. There’s mystery and intrigue wrapped up in a comedy of errors and, of course, there’s romance. The writing is light but also contains semi-formal language. Turano’s characters are almost always introduced for the first time as either Miss or Mister. Polite society should always perform proper introductions, after all. Despite this apparent formula, however, Turano always delivers a fresh and delightful story.

Behind the Scenes starts at the notorious Vanderbilt costume ball of 1883, and over 100 pages of plot development are set there. Run a search for this event online and you’ll find plenty of photographs of society’s elite in various forms of fancy dress, some of which Turano describes. This was a time of excess and main character Permilia is often scolded in the book by her stepmother for her seemingly frugal ways. Despite the humor, incredulous costumes and hair-raising escapades through Central Park, however, there’s a serious note about the changing nature of celebrity gossip and how charming society columns became the front page exposes of today. Miss Quill’s writings harken back to a more innocent time.

Behind the Scenes kicks off Turano’s newest series, titled Apart From the Crowd. Early on in this novel, there’s a reference to events and characters in a series e-prequel novella. It’s worth reading if you can because it does introduce Permilia and Asher. It’s called At Your Request and I believe it’s permanently free. Meanwhile, I’m eagerly looking forward to the next release, which apparently features a wealthy society matron who appears to take a liking to other people’s property…

Thank you to Bethany House for my complimentary copy of Behind the Scenes, which I received in exchange for my honest review.

Have you read Behind the Scenes? Do you plan to read it? Let me know your thoughts.


Author Q & A

Publisher: Bethany House (a division of Baker Publishing)

Publication Date: 18 April 2017

Page Count: 352

Read more on:   Jen Turano’s Website   Bethany House’s Website

Purchase on:   Amazon   Barnes & Noble   Books-a-million   Christianbook.com

Best Books of the Month: April

Enjoy this look at some of my favourite books from April of previous years. Maybe you’ll find something new to read 🙂

book cover2012

Song of My Heart – Kim Vogel Sawyer

The Last Plea Bargain – Randy Singer

book cover2013

It Happened at the Fair – Deeanne Gist

The Heiress of Winterwood – Sarah E. Ladd

Love at Any Cost – Julie Lessman

The Icecutter’s Daughter – Tracie Peterson

Firefly Island – Lisa Wingate

book cover2014

Sing For Me – Karen Halvorsen Schreck

A Broken Kind of Beautiful – Katie Ganshert

A Sensible Arrangement – Tracie Peterson

book cover2015

Spy of Richmond – Jocelyn Green

The Tomb: A Novel of Martha – Stephanie Landsem

Double Cross – DiAnn Mills

After a Fashion – Jen Turano

book cover2016

Breaking Free – Jennifer Slattery

Land of Silence – Tessa Afshar

Song of Silence – Cynthia Ruchti