From Heiress to Housekeeper

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?
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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:

Flights-of-Fancy-194x300Miss 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

Jen TuranoNamed 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 ~

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, January 10

Among the Reads, January 10

Through the Fire, January 10

To Everything A Season, January 10

Reflections From My Bookshelves, January 11

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, January 11

Blogging With Carol, January 11

Southern Gal loves to Read, January 11

Back Porch Reads, January 12

KarenSueHadley, January 12

Godly Book Reviews, January 12

Daysong Refections, January 12

Livin Lit, January 13

The Christian Fiction Girl, January 13

The Becca Files, January 13

Texas Book-aholic, January 13

Rebekah’s Quill, January 14

Blossoms and Blessings, January 14

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, January 14

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, January 14

All-of-a-kind Mom, January 15

Just the Write Escape, January 15

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

Baker Kella, January 18

Simple Harvest Reads, January 18 (Guest post from Mindy Houng)

Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, January 19

Captive Dreams Window, January 19

Robin is Bookish, January 19

Carpe Diem, January 19

Have A Wonderful Day, January 20

Life with the Tribe, January 20

Inklings and Notions, January 20

Rachel’s Back Talk, January 21

Inspiration Clothesline, January 21

amandainpa, January 21

A Baker’s Perspective, January 21

Locks, Hooks and Books, January 22

Pause for Tales, January 22

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, January 22

Raining Butterfly Kisses, January 23

Live Love Read, January 23

A Rup Life, January 23

Bigreadersite, January 23

 

GIVEAWAY!!!!

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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.

A Book Unread (And a Giveaway!)

A book unread? Well, yes, more than one book has left my home unread. There are too many worthy books in this world and I have high standards for what I read! However, An Hour Unspent by Roseanna White was not a book unread.

An Hour UnspentOne of my greatest delights is to discover an author that I can trust to take me on a journey. Sometimes those journeys are fun or adventurous. Many are bittersweet and lovely. Often a journey is painful and heart-wrenching. Roseanna White has taken me on a delightful journey in her Shadows Over England series. The latest in this series is An Hour Unspent where we (finally!) learn Barclay’s story. My friends, I have been dying to hear his story since I read the first book.

Once London’s top thief, Barclay Pearce has turned his back on his life of crime and now uses his skills for a nation at war. But not until he rescues a clockmaker’s daughter from a mugging does he begin to wonder what his future might hold.

Evelina Manning has constantly fought for independence but she certainly never meant for it to inspire her fiancé to end the engagement and enlist in the army. When the intriguing man who saved her returns to the Manning residence to study clockwork repair with her father, she can’t help being interested. But she soon learns that nothing with Barclay Pearce is as simple as it seems.

As 1915 England plunges ever deeper into war, the work of an ingenious clockmaker may give England an unbeatable military edge—and Germany realizes it as well. Evelina’s father soon finds his whole family in danger—and it may just take a reformed thief to steal the time they need to escape it.

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My Journey with Barclay:

When I finished the second book in the Shadows Over England series, my first thought was “I hope she tells Barclay’s story.” How could his story be left untold? We see glimpses of him moving in the background in these earlier books. He is always there looking after his siblings; making sure they are safe and well. You can almost sense his heart, his character. Someone who is faithful and loyal, who will do whatever it takes to care for his family, and someone who is searching and longing.

With An Hour Unspent we find ourselves with a Barclay who has turned away from a life of thievery. Well, illegal thievery. Now his skills and talents are being used for his country and to fight a war. Barclay’s change has been full and complete. Even when faced with an assignment, he seeks to handle it with integrity. This is a key point for me. An Hour Unspent is Christian Fiction. How an author uses a character’s story to share the gospel can be a quick turnoff. There is a delicate balance at times in showing how a character has been transformed. Barclay’s story was believable and trustworthy because of how White portrayed those moments of decision. How he would handle his assignment to steal if necessary? How would he handle when the past slammed into his future? How would he respond when rejected?

“Barclay Pearce. He’d always thought it his invisibility that made him successful. But she was right. It wasn’t the invisibility at all – it was that he knew who he was under it.”

You take Barclay and place him in England with the backdrop of a World War…well, how could you go wrong? Such a time of hardship, loss, and heartbreak. A time where the world as it was known would make a shift that would change the lives of so many. I have a love of books set during World War II but the Shadows over England series has drawn me quickly into the time period of World War I.  An Hour Unspent not only gives you a glimpse of the progress of the war but you see also into the lives of those working in factories and service.

It takes a talented author to not only write one excellent book but to produce a series that never loses it momentum. Being the third book in a series, An Hour Unspent could have fizzled out. As a reader who was highly anticipating Barclay’s story, I began it cautiously. I was prepared to be disappointed. Needless to say, Barclay’s story did not disappoint!

“When it came down to it, all you ever had forever was what you carried inside. Memories. Faith. Love. “

Should you rush right over to your local Christian book story and grab a copy of An Hour Unspent? Yes, you should! But you need to grab the first two in the series if you haven’t read them. You need to let Barclay’s story build up in the background first. Trust me! You won’t regret it!

Roseanna 2018Roseanna M. White is a bestselling, Christy Award nominated author who has long claimed that words are the air she breathes. When not writing fiction, she’s homeschooling her two kids, editing, designing book covers, and pretending her house will clean itself. Roseanna is the author of a slew of historical novels that span several continents and thousands of years. Spies and war and mayhem always seem to find their way into her books…to offset her real life, which is blessedly ordinary. You can learn more about her and her stories at www.RoseannaMWhite.com.

Want to know more about Roseanna White? Read this Guest Post from Roseanna:

Last year, as I finished up the writing of An Hour Unspent, my great-grandmother passed away at the age of 103. As I sat at her funeral service and listened to the heartfelt memorial raised up to her by her kids and grandkids, I realized anew that this woman had been a matriarch in the truest sense of the word. She’d taught my family for generations how to love the Lord and each other, how to serve the Lord and each other, and how to trust the Lord and each other. Grandma Seward was, in so many ways, the one who instilled in me my idea of what family really is.

That idea—that it’s those knit together by love more than blood, and that faith is the strongest foundation—is what I built my unusual family of thieves upon in the Shadows Over England series. And strange as it is to liken my twenty-something reformed-thief hero to my 103-year-old-grandmother, Barclay Pearce is very much to his family what Maxine Seward was to mine.

The founder. The caregiver. The leader.

I knew as I began the series that I would write about Barclay in book three, and as I got to know him better throughout the series, I grew so excited to share his story! This is a man who led his family first into and then out of a life a crime, always for the right reasons—so he could provide for the children under his care. All he ever wanted to do was give them what he himself had lost. To show them love. To prove to them that they were worth any sacrifice.

It was truly a blessing for me to get to write the story in which Barclay found someone to come alongside him, to appreciate and learn to understand him. To finally share what started him down this path. I loved the idea that only a reformed thief could steal the time another family needed to overcome their own trials.

There are many historical items in the book that were such fun to explore—watchmaking of the era, the suffrage movement in England, technological advancements of the war—but at the heart, this isn’t a story about any of those.

It’s a story about how far people should go for love. I hope you enjoy Barclay’s story as much as I did!

Giveaway

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To celebrate her tour, Roseanna is giving away a grand prize of a signed book, a London mug, and a 48-pack Twinings tea sampler!!

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/d570/an-hour-unspent-celebration-tour-giveaway

Blog Stops

The Avid Reader, October 30

The Power of Words, October 30

Back Porch Reads, October 30

Kat’s Corner Books, October 30

Janice’s Book Reviews, October 30

Where Faith and Books Meet, October 31

Reading Is My SuperPower, October 31

Faithfully Bookish, October 31

Genesis 5020, October 31

Fiction Aficionado, November 1

Among the Reads, November 1

The Lit Addict, November 1

Just the Write Escape, November 1

Multifarious, November 2

Godly Book Reviews, November 2

Real World Bible Study, November 2

Madeline Clark, November 2

Reflections From My Bookshelves, November 3

Christian Bookaholic, November 3

Inspirationally Ever After, November 3

Bookworm Mama, November 3

Bigreadersite, November 3

Blogging With Carol , November 4

D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 4

Life with the Tribe, November 4

The Becca Files, November 4

Kathleen Denly, November 5

Cordially Barbara, November 5

Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 5

Simple Harvest Reads, November 5 (Guest Post from Mindy Houng)

God’s Little Bookworm, November 6

All-of-a-kind Mom, November 6

Faery Tales Are Real, November 6

Christian Chick’s Thoughts, November 6

Carpe Diem, November 6

Margaret Kazmierczak, November 7

Locks, Hooks and Books, November 7

Christian Author, J.E.Grace, November 7

Blossoms and Blessings , November 7

Maureen’s Musings , November 8

Connie’s History Classroom , November 8

Book by Book, November 8

Just Commonly, November 8

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The Christian Fiction Girl, November 9

Have A Wonderful Day , November 9

With a Joyful Noise, November 9

KarenSueHadley , November 10

Tell Tale Book Reviews, November 10

Babbling Becky L’s Book Impressions, November 10

Baker kella, November 10

Bibliophile Reviews, November 10

Book Bites, Bee Stings, & Butterfly Kisses, November 11

Inklings and Notions , November 11

Two Points of Interest, November 11

Inspiration Clothesline, November 11

A Baker’s Perspective, November 11

Henry Happens, November 12

Texas Book-aholic, November 12

Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 12

 

**Disclaimer – I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for an honest review with Celebrate Lit. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are my own. No compensation was made for this review.

**This post may contain affiliate links. The affiliate links in this post in no way change your online browsing or shopping experience. I earn a small percentage on any purchases made without any cost to you.

Jack (Ballads from the Hearth – Book 1)

One of the perks to having a friend who is an author is the sneak peeks and never having to be without a little something to read. Chautona Havig, author of favorites such as Everard and For Keeps, has a new book that was released TODAY!! (Make sure you don’t miss the Release Party!)

Jack (Ballads from the Hearth) is a bit of a unique tale inspired by a ballad, “Cowboy Jack” and Shakespeare’s, Much Ado About Nothing. Yes. Lonely cowboy meets Shakespeare.

Jack Clausen has faced difficult and harsh circumstances in his life. Circumstances that have driven him to a hard, lonely, quiet life of a cowboy. Jack is content with a life of working hard alongside his horse, Sadie, and the Lord. However, when Jack least expects it, life takes a sharp turn and forces this lonely cowboy to question his life….and his heart.

Hazel Meissner is young woman who finds herself drawn to the quiet cowboy. Jack and Hazel soon find themselves with strong feelings toward one another and are looking toward a future together. Life does not always go as planned and love is not without its challenges. Jack and Hazel find themselves faced with lies, deceit, broken trust, and devastating hurt. Is there any future with Hazel for this lonely cowboy?

While Jack’s and Hazel’s story appears to take center stage in this tale, it doesn’t take the reader long to find another couple that demands attention: Deborah and Dirk. Friends of Jack and Hazel, the duo’s dynamic discourse in insults and bickering is a constant theme through the book. They are quiet the contrast to Jack and Hazel and definitely provide plenty of comic relief.

I must confess that I struggled “liking” the characters in Jack. In different situations, they did not respond as I expected or wanted them to. At times I found myself frustrated. Isn’t that life, though? We see others’ lives playing out before us and we think we know exactly what they should do next or how a certain situation should be handled. Thankfully, I am not in control of those lives before me because I would most definitely miss the beauty of forgiveness, grace, and strength. Thanks for the reminder, Jack.

If you are looking for a light-hearted read with a message of forgiveness flowing underneath, consider adding Jack to your To Read list. It is perfect for a rainy afternoon or a chilly evening by the fire.

Disclaimers: I received a copy of this book, Jack (Ballads from the Hearth, Book 1) in exchange for an honest review.  I was not required to write a positive review, nor was I compensated in any other way. Any opinions I have expressed are fully my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with FTC Regulations.