Wednesday, February 15, 2023

A Match in the Making

 A Match in the Making

by Jen Turano

My Thoughts:

Jen Turano has once again provided a book full of historical fun and romance. She drops us into the center of the shenanigans of The 400, some of America's wealthiest families during their summer vacations which are anything but relaxing. Balls, parties, and even beach outings are barely disguised activities for finding a suitable mate.

This new series introduces some fun and some annoying new characters -- women who are seeking a different life and those who are only seeking rich husbands. Add some adorable and undisciplined children and the scene is ripe for mishap and adventure.

Turano has a brilliant ability to bring interesting and flawed characters to life in a way that has you rooting for characters who quickly become friends. I can't wait for the second book in this series!

About the Book (from the back cover):

Miss Gwendolyn Brinley accepted a temporary paid companion position for the Newport summer season, believing it would be a lark to spend the summer in America’s most exclusive town. She suddenly finds her summer turning anything but amusing when her employer expects her to take over responsibilities as an assistant matchmaker. Tasked with the daunting prospect of attaining advantageous matches for her clients, Gwendolyn soon finds herself in the company of Mr. Walter Townsend, the catch of the Season, but a gentleman Gwendolyn finds beyond annoying.

Walter is reluctantly in search of a wife for the sake of his unruly motherless children. What he wasn’t expecting was Miss Brinley, who turns his quest for a new wife into a complete and utter debacle.

The more time they spend together throughout the Newport Season, the harder it is for Gwendolyn to find Walter a wife when she realizes his perfect match might be . . . her.

USA Today bestselling author Jen Turano’s trademark wit, sweet romance, and hilarious mischief will keep you turning the pages of this lively Gilded Age tale.

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. Readers may find her
at or on Twitter at JenTurano @JenTurano.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Proving Our Love

 Today's Verse: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NIV)

As I walk by the television, there is yet another commercial for outrageously expensive gifts. I don't watch much tv, but over the past few weeks I've seen ads for many presents that cost in the hundreds and thousands of dollars. "Show her your love; buy diamonds." "Doesn't he deserve the best (a car ad)." And many more that show children with more toys than they could possibly play even makes a 'toy angel' with all of them.

Why is it that we give each other gifts on Jesus' birthday? Shouldn't we be giving HIM gifts?

Then it hit me...God gave us the gift of salvation because He loved us. He gave us the moon, the stars, and Heaven to show how much he adored us. And now we make feeble attempts to show others how much we love them by giving gifts.

Over the years the gifts have become more of an obligation than a demonstration of love. We want to give our kids the latest, biggest, and best. Each year is supposed to be a magical, memorable celebration. I wonder if my kids even remember what they received last year? Most of us don't even know why we do's just what you do at this time of year.

I'm thankful that I still have time to rethink this holiday season. We've purchased several gifts, and will continue to do so within the budget we've set, but I want to consciously think of ways to show people love, not just shower them with gifts.

I pray that we all may feel the love of God as we go through this holiday season, and that we can find tangible ways to show that love to others.

Originally posted in 2006

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Poor Reflections

Verse of the Day - 1 Corinthians 13:12 Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. (NIV)

If you were to talk on the phone with a police artist, could you describe yourself well enough that he or she could draw you? No fair looking in a mirror or at a picture of yourself. Quick, think about your face and try to describe it. It's easy to get the main features, eye color, hair color, skin tone, but it's actually pretty difficult to provide specific details beyond that. Most likely we would exaggerate some features (those we especially like or dislike) and ignore others. 

Even if you could help the artist create a stunning likeness, it is only the external parts that would be shown, not who you really are. No drawing, not even a photograph, can portray the real you. One of my favorite exercises in leadership development training is to have each participant introduce himself or herself to another person. The room buzzes with conversations about where people work, what their jobs are, personal hobbies and interests, and family descriptions. Then I ask the participants to describe themselves without talking about job, family, or hobbies. There is usually a dead silence - we don't really know who we are without the trappings of everyday life. 

If we don't know ourselves well, how can we possibly understand God and His majesty? So many things happen on earth that we can't comprehend. That doesn't mean they are wrong, it just shows how little we are capable of grasping about the workings of the world. Yet God sees it all. He knows us perfectly, and His plan is brilliant if you know all the details. When I don't understand why something is happening in my life, I try to remember that I don't even fully know myself (too bad I don't do that before I struggle for days with wonder and worry). It's not my job to understand, just to obey. 

I'm thankful that our God is all knowing and in control. With the added knowledge that He wins in the end it is easier to accept things that don't make sense to me. I'm really looking forward to seeing the details of His big picture when I get to Heaven! 

Originally posted in 2006

Wednesday, February 09, 2022

To Disguise the Truth

 To Disguise the Truth

by Jen Turano

This book is the conclusion to the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency series by Turano, and I am sad to see it end! The women in these books became like friends. I love the quirky situations they get themselves into and the widely diverse personalities they have. In this book the owner of the boarding house where the women live is the main focus. Up to this point Eunice Holbrook has been hiding under widows veils, feigning the loss of her husband for well past the point required by society. We finally learn more about her, and she is quite the character! I love the way she finally displays her physical prowess and ability to defend herself from almost any attacker. The other women from the series play key roles in this book, so it's best if you read them first (but trust me, you'll love them).

While the book is light hearted in general, Turano brings up some difficult issues -- family dysfunction and the horrible way people (especially women) were treated if there was even a slight suspicion of mental illness (which could mean so many more things in the 1880's than it does today).

In Turano's signature style, she brings the series to a conclusion with a lot of humor, surprise, and romance!


When a man arrives at the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, anxious to hire them to find a missing heiress, Eunice Holbrooke realizes her past has finally caught up with her...and that she may no longer be able to hide under the disguise that has kept her safe for so long. 

Arthur Livingston's goal in life is to make his mark on the world as a mining industrialist, but after the man who could help him achieve his goal is murdered, Arthur feels compelled to seek justice for the family--but he's left with more questions than answers after the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency refuses to take on his case.

Desperate to conceal her real identity and avoid the irritatingly handsome Arthur, Eunice takes on a different case that requires her to go deep undercover and entangles her in one troublesome situation after another. When other secrets come to light, Eunice has no choice but to confront her past, hopeful that it will set her free but knowing it could very well place her life -- and the lives of those she loves -- in jeopardy.


Jen Turano, a USA Today bestselling author, has written five historical romance series. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing a copy of this book. The review is totally my own.

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

To Write a Wrong

 To Write a Wrong


Jen Turano


I have yet to read a book by Jen Turano that I didn't love, and the latest release of The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency series, To Write a Wrong, did not disappoint. The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency was formed by four women who live in a boarding house in order to help a dear friend who was accused of theft. Of course, in the 1880's women were not considered smart enough to do such a thing, so there is immediately a conflict that has to be resolved. These women are definitely up for the challenge.

The third book focuses on Daphne, a very successful mystery writer who has to use a male nom de plume to be accepted by the publishing industry. Unfortunately Daphne has a knack for getting into strange and hilarious situations as she is called upon to solve mysterious murder attempts on a fellow writer, who of course has no idea what she really does for a living. 

Jen Turano has the most amazing ability to create loveable characters and unusual circumstances that are delightful to read. It's no wonder that she's been named "One of the funniest voices in the Inspirational genre" by Booklist. Her mastery of conversation is amazing, and she always keeps me guessing. I highly recommend any of her books, and hope you enjoy them as much as I do. Plus, look at that cover -- it's incredible!

ABOUT THE BOOK (from the back cover)

Miss Daphne Beekman is a mystery writer by day, inquiry agent by night. Known for her ability to puzzle out plots, she prefers working behind the scenes for the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, staying well away from danger. However, Daphne soon finds herself in the thick of an attempted murder case she's determined to solve.

Mr. Herman Henderson is also a mystery writer, but unlike the dashing heroes he pens, he lives a quiet life, determined to avoid the fate of his adventurous parents, who perished on an expedition when he was a child. But when he experiences numerous attempts on his life, he seeks out the service of the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency to uncover the culprit. All too soon, Herman finds himself stepping out of the safe haven of his world and into an adventure he never imagined.

As the list of suspects grows and sinister plots are directed Daphne's way as well, Herman and Daphne must determine who they can trust and if they can risk the greatest adventure of all: love.


Jen Turano, a USA Today bestselling author, has written five historical romance series. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at

This book was provided for review by Bethany House Publishers. All opinions are my own.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Shadows of the White City

 Shadows of the White City

by Jocelyn Green

My Thoughts:

If you like historical novels, then Jocelyn Green's books should be on your must read list! Green does an amazing amount of research and visits the locations she writes about. Her narrative is so natural that it feels as if the reader is walking down the street in another place and time. Shadows of the White City is no different, and is really more amazing because it is located in Chicago during the 1893 World's Fair.

This Fair was bigger than most because it celebrated the 400th Anniversary of Christopher Columbus's arrival in the new world and took place just 15 years after Chicago was decimated by fire (which you can learn about in the first book in this series, Veiled in Smoke). Sylvie Townsend, a book store owner and adoptive single parent, works as a tour guide at the Fair. Through her visits to the Fairgrounds we get a first hand look at the sights, sounds, tastes, and smells of the event. So many interesting tidbits are shared as Sylvie leads tour groups or visits with her family. The scale and scope of the event is beyond comprehension!

Sylvie's daughter, Rozalia, was saved from life in an orphanage when she was very young, but now a teenager, she wants to understand more about her Polish heritage. Then, without explanation she disappears. Unfortunately many young women were mislead and ended up in brothels at the time with little hope of escape. Sylvie and her boarder, Kristof Bartok, will leave no stone unturned to find out what happened to Rose.

This book is full of adventure and intrigue, and is another book that is hard to put down. It isn't necessary to read Veiled in Smoke first to know what is going on, but I highly recommend it because it's an amazing book! Those who have read it will find some old friends in this one.

About the Book (from the back cover)

The one thing Sylvie Townsend wants most is what she feared she was destined never to have--a family of her own. But taking in Polish immigrant Rose Dabrowski to raise and love quells those fears--until seventeen-year-old Rose goes missing at the World's Fair, and Sylvie's world unravels.

Brushed off by the authorities, Sylvie turns to her boarder, Kristof Bartok, for help. He is Rose's violin instructor and the concertmaster for the Columbian Exposition Orchestra, and his language skills are vital to helping Sylvie navigate the immigrant communities where their search leads.

From the glittering architecture of the fair to the dark houses of Chicago's poorest neighborhoods, they're taken on a search that points to Rose's long-lost family. Is Sylvie willing to let the girl go? And as Kristof and Sylvie grow closer, can she reconcile her craving for control with her yearning to belong?

About the Author

Jocelyn Green is the award-winning and bestselling author of numerous fiction and nonfiction books, including The Mark of the KingA Refuge Assured, and Between Two Shores. Her books have garnered starred reviews from Booklist and Publishers Weekly and have been honored with the Christy Award and the Golden Scroll. Jocelyn lives with her family in Cedar Falls, Iowa. Visit her at

Thank you to Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a copy. All opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 20, 2020

To Steal A Heart

To Steal a Heart

by Jen Turano

The criminals better watch out, there's a new detective agency in town and these women aren't playing around!

Jen Turano has started a new series called the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, and this is her best yet. Set in New York City in the late 1880's, Turano pulls together high society and the every day working class to create mystery, tension, and romance in a way that has the reader on the edge of her seat. I love Jen's books for a lot of reasons -- her research into the time period is amazing, her characters are multi-faceted and realistic, the dialogue she creates leaves you breathless, and she brings a unique sense of comedy to every scene.

Each time I read her books I have a hard time putting them down. She has a brilliant way of drawing the reader in and ending each chapter in such a way that you have to read 'just one more'. I love cheering the characters on as they, with the best of intentions, get themselves into hysterical situations that only make them more endearing. 

There are so many intriguing women living in the boarding house on Bleecker Street that I can't wait for the remaining books in the series. I really want to learn more about each one!

ABOUT THE BOOK (from the back cover)
After spending her childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she'd put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boarding house is unjustly accused of theft. Using her old skills to prove her friend's innocence, Gabriella unexpectedly encounters 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 his as his heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agrees 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.

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. Readers may find her at or or on Twitter @JenTurano.