Take a moment to travel back in time. Imagine a lovely heiress who has reached the age where one should seek marital bliss. Ah, let us not be hasty. Of course there is a parental figure aiming for more profit and status than bliss. Where can that be found? With the older, questionable duke or lord naturally. Do not worry, my friend. Our lovely heiress has a bit of gumption and she will not be forced! With a bit of help from a friend, our daring heiress goes into hiding in the last place anyone could possible imagine her. Who would look for the pampered young lady in the country side washing laundry and chasing chickens?
You can stand in front of a shelf at the bookstore or library, browsing the Christian Fiction section, and get a bit cross-eyed at all the similar plot lines and characters. As I settled in to read Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano, I wondered if she would have a new spin on the rich young lady who hides away to avoid marriage.
About the Book:
Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.
Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.
Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.
Genre: Christian Historical Fiction;Gilded Age
Release Date: January 1, 2019
Publisher: Bethany House
My Thoughts on Flights of Fancy:
Isadora is an American heiress who has lived a very pampered life. When faced with a possible marriage to an older, questionable man, Isadora decides to run away to the countryside and work as a housekeeper. After disheartening attempts in finding a placement, details fall into place that have her serving as housekeeper for Ian MacKenzie’s adopted parents.
It does not take long for Izzy’s shortcomings as a housekeeper are made known. How could a pampered heiress know how to wash laundry or well, boil water? Toss in a few orphans, a cow that wants to be indoors and chicken or two, well there might be a few laughs!
But wait! Ian has worked his way from poverty to successful business man. He doesn’t have time to be attracted to this odd housekeeper. He needs to marry someone from New York high society so he will be fully accepted by those gentlemen he works with. He has the money but needs the name. Ah, the plot thickens!
I truly hate when reviewers spoil the plot. Truly. No worries of a plot reveal here. What you really want to know is if this book is worth being placed on your TBR pile, am I right? Let’s see if I can help.
I gave Flights of Fancy three out of five stars. While some may view that as a low or ho-hum rating, please know it is not. A three star rating means that I enjoyed this book but I would not likely read it again. I found it a bit slow in the beginning and had to push myself to keep reading. It did pick up about a fourth of the way in. I do enjoy Turano’s humor and dialogue in her books; they always make me smile.
I appreciate that Turano did not make Isadora’s character shocked and astonished at every aspect of housekeeping. While she has been pampered and spoiled, it had just been the life that Isadora knew. She had never been faced with any other option. How she lived was what was expected of an heiress. When Izzie was faced with the duties of a housekeeper and taking care of oneself, she jumped in wholeheartedly.
The plot was a bit predictable. There was a certain point in the plot that I was expecting and was a bit surprised at how quickly it was resolved. In comparison to other books by Turano, it seemed the interactions between Izzy and Ian were lacking. It did offer humorous situations and the beauty of family (however they come together).
If you enjoy lighthearted, funny reads with a historic backdrop, then definitely add Flights of Fancy to your TBR pile. And if you haven’t read anything by Turano before, you might want to grab a few. She is always entertaining.
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.
Q & A With Jen Turano
“Flights of Fancy” is the first book in the American Heiress Series. What inspired you to write this series?
The inspiration for this entire series started off with a What If? All of my proposals for new series start off that way, and this time it was – What if Consuelo Vanderbilt had balked when her mother insisted she marry the Duke of Marlborough – and then that led to – What if she’d run away until her mother came to her senses? Just like that, an entire series was born – a bit of a different take on American heiresses because in all three books, my heiresses might decide to go a tad…rogue. We start off with Miss Isadora Delafield – who does run off to avoid marriage to a duke, then we get to meet Miss Poppy Garrison, who is an unexpected heiress but who can’t quite seem to get a handle on the expected social decorum of the day, and then the final book revolves around Miss Beatrix Waterbury – who gets banished to Chicago after she annoys her mother one too many times, and once there, well, gets up to a bit of mischief.
How do you come up with the names of your characters?
I find most of my names as I research the New York Four-Hundred, although I normally take a first name here, a last name there so I’m not stepping on any toes by writing about an actual historical figure – except for some of the main figures in New York society back then, such as Mr. Ward McAllister – who was the social arbiter of the day, or Mrs. William Astor, who was the queen of that society. What I don’t do is simply make up names, no matter how outrageous they may appear. And, no matter how I may love a certain name, if the character decides it doesn’t suit them, that’s it, it’s out and I’m back to the drawing board.
How do you picture your character? Do you use Pinterest, magazines, movies?
Odd as this may seem, I don’t use pictures for my characters. They start off in my mind as a blurry figure, and then, they develop from there – I like to keep my descriptions of them somewhat vague on the pages so that the reader can imagine them exactly the way they’d like them to be.
What are some of your favorite resources for historical research?
I’ve been building up a research library over the past few years and now have over 200 books dedicated to the Gilded Age. My favorites are – “A Season of Splendor” by Greg King, “Society as I Have Found It” by Ward McAllister, “The Gilded Age in New York – 1870-1910” by Esther Crain, and “ ‘King Lehr’ and the Gilded Age” by Elizabeth Drexel Lehr.
The setting for “Flights of Fancy” is a bit of a departure for you since it’s set in and outside of Pittsburgh. Any reason for that?
My mom was born in Pittsburgh, and unfortunately, her father, a prominent attorney back in the day, died when she was only four. I thought it would be cool to set a story in Pittsburgh, which would then allow me to really dive into some research. And get this – while I was doing that research, I found this obscure journal called “Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In that journal was a bit about my great-grandfather, Fred, his wife, Susie, my grandfather, and his brother and sister, but I’d never heard about this brother, who apparently died quite young. One of the most fabulous research tidbits I’ve uncovered to date.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just recently turned in the content edits for the second book in this series, “Diamond in the Rough,” and I’ve also turned in a novella about the Harvey Girls that will be coming out in a novella collection in Fall, 2019. With those out of the way, I’m now starting the third and final book in the American Heiress series, Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s story, but I’m having a bit of a struggle with the hero at the moment – he was supposed to be Edward, but he doesn’t want to be an Edward – I think he wants to be Norman – but, time will tell on that one – don’t hold me to the name – it’ll depend on if he changes his mind or not – pesky characters.
You seem to enjoy adding animals in many of your stories. Will we find any animals in “Flights of Fancy?”
Since Miss Isadora Delafield ends up on a farm, I do believe you will find a few animals, such as an adorable cow by the name of Buttercup, a few goats that seem to have a great liking for laundry, and…there might be some chickens.
Thanks for stopping by today, everyone! Always enjoy visiting with all of you – in fact, that’s the best part of my job!
All the best,
~ Jen ~
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D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 14
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14
All-of-a-kind Mom, January 15
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Stories By Gina, January 15
God’s Little Bookworm, January 16
The Meanderings of a Bookworm, January 16
Splashes of Joy, January 16
Janices book reviews, January 16
Happily Managing A Household of Boys, January 17
Mary Hake, January 17
Maureen’s Musings, January 17
Bibliophile Reviews, January 17
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, January 18
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Simple Harvest Reads, January 18 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 19
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Locks, Hooks and Books, January 22
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Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 22
Raining Butterfly Kisses, January 23
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A Rup Life, January 23
Bigreadersite, January 23
To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a grand prize of a trunk filled with all of Jen’s full-length novels released to date!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter. https://promosimple.com/ps/d8d1/flights-of-fancy-celebration-tour-giveaway
**Disclosure: I received a copy of this book for the purpose of review. All opinions and thoughts stated are my own. Affiliate links may be used. They in no way affect your shopping/browsing experience.