Inspirational Stories of Love, Faith & Family Set in 19th Century America

Tag: Book Reviews

Book Review, Storing Up Trouble by Jen Turano & a Giveaway!

Storing Up Trouble

by Jen Turano

 

I just finished the very delightful Storing Up Trouble, book #3 in the American Heiresses series, by the fabulous Jen Turano. Jen has been a guest on Romancing History before so if you’d like to learn a bit more about her and her books, click here to see my author interview with her from last September.

Jen has generously offered to giveaway a paper copy of her latest release Storing Up Trouble to one lucky Romancing History guest. See below for the details of the giveaway.

About the Book


Title: Storing Up Trouble
Series Info: American Heiress, Book #3
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Historical Romance
Book Info: (Bethany House Publishers, May 5, 2020, 363 pages


Blurb

When Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s Chicago-bound train ride is interrupted by a heist, Mr. Norman Nesbit, a man of science who believes his research was the target of the heist, comes to her aid. Despite the fact that they immediately butt heads, they join forces to make a quick escape.

Upon her arrival in Chicago, Beatrix is surprised to discover her supposedly querulous Aunt Gladys shares her own suffragette passions. Encouraged by Gladys to leave her sheltered world, Beatrix begins working as a salesclerk at the Marshall Field and Company department store. When she again encounters Norman on a shopping expedition, he is quickly swept up in the havoc she always seems to attract.

But when another attempt is made to part Norman from his research papers, and it becomes clear Beatrix’s safety is also at risk, they soon discover the curious way feelings can grow between two very different people in the midst of chaos.

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My Thoughts

Beatrix. Beatrix. Beatrix. She’s been a favorite secondary character of mine throughout the entire American Heiresses series and I can’t deny she’s a simply delightful heroine! Her straight forward, yet optimistic ways endear her to the reader. And, any woman who packs a pistol purse and saves her man during a train heist is Aces in my book!

That brings us to the hero, one Mr. Norman Nesbit. I must admit, this sweet awkward man stole my heart early on. While gifted with intelligence a plenty, Norman struggles with normal every day social graces. And while Beatrix originally is a bit of a thorn in his side, their banter sparks an attraction to her his scientific formulas just can’t explain and he slowly realizes how her influence has made him aware that he’s been more concerned with his own research than people—a situation he determines to rectify.

One of my favorite aspects of Storing Up Trouble was learning about life as a sales girl in a Gilded Age department store. When Beatrix is forced to visit her Aunt Gladys, she is required to get a job at Marshall Field & Company so she can relate to the problems of the working class. Determined to keep her identity as part of the New York Four Hundred under wraps, the Chicago elite make many improper assumptions about Beatrix and she realizes for the first time just how unfair life can be for those not born to a life of privilege.

Turano delights the reader with a trifecta of well-developed characters, lush historical details, and rich, vivid settings. Those familiar with Turano’s writing know they’re in for a comedic romp through the Gilded Age and Storing Up Trouble delivers not only laugh out loud scenes but a sweet romance as well.

I received a copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to leave a positive review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.


Favorite Quotes

“Just because he frequently annoys me doesn’t mean I’m not fond of the man.”

“Every time he tried to settle into a relaxing bout of mathematical equations or attempt to draw a diagram of an improved electrical motor, thoughts of Beatrix interrupted his work.”

“Men tend to react better to unexpected news when they’re not suffering from hunger pains.”

“You’ve never had trouble sleeping before, even when you’re on a train, which means . . . you’ve met a man, and one who is giving you trouble if I’m not mistaken.”

“Friends and family made life enjoyable, a notion he’d only begun considering after becoming acquainted with Beatrix.”


Spiritual Takeaway

One of my favorite aspects of Storing Up Trouble is the witty banter between Beatrix and Norman. These two get underneath each other’s skin as it were and remind me of the Biblical proverb, “As iron sharpens iron so one person sharpens another.” (Proverbs 27:17) Isn’t that just the truth? It is often when our actions and motives are questioned by those around us that we see our own failings more clearly. Norman, a brilliant scientist, comes to the realization that he doesn’t really know his own family because he spends all of his time in the pursuit of knowledge. It is only when he meets Beatrix that his eyes are opened and he begins in earnest to make amends to those around him. When others can hardly believe the changes in him, he credits the “new Norman” to Beatrix’s influence.

Storing Up Trouble also spoke to the old maxim, “don’t judge a book by its cover.” Because Beatrix kept her identity as an American heiress and member of the elite New York Four Hundred a secret, incorrect assumptions were made about her by most everyone she encountered that she was either struggling financially or an ill-bred member of the working class or both. Despite her ill-treatment at times, Beatrix makes a stand for justice and reminds those around her that the true value of a person doesn’t lie in their wealth or social statues but in the unique person God made them to be despite their circumstances.


Other Books in the American Heiresses Series


Flights of Fancy, American Heiresses Book #1

Flights of Fancy (American Heiresses Book #1) by [Jen Turano]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.

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Diamond in the Rough, American Heiresses Book #2

Diamond in the Rough (American Heiresses Book #2) by [Jen Turano]To save her family from financial ruin, Miss Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season in exchange for her grandmother settling a family loan that has unexpectedly come due. Ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of mingling within the New York Four Hundred, Poppy becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, doomed to suffer a grand societal failure instead of being deemed the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs for her to become.

Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, has been forced to travel to America to help his cousin, Charles Wynn, Earl of Lonsdale, find an American heiress to wed in order to shore up his family estate that is in desperate need of funds. Reginald himself has no interest in finding an heiress to marry, but when Poppy’s grandmother asks him to give etiquette lessons to Poppy, he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.

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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 www.jenturano.com or on Facebook and Twitter.


Giveaway**

THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED

CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR WINNER — CATHY!

Jen has graciously agreed to give away one paper copy of Storing Up Trouble to one lucky Romancing History guest. To enter, please leave a comment below and tell us which of Jen’s delightfully quirky heroines is your favorite and why?

 

 **Giveaway open to US Residents only and ends at midnight on Sunday, 5/24/20.

Book Review–Legacy of Mercy

Book Review & Giveaway

Legacy of Mercy

by Lynn Austin

 

 

About the Book


Legacy of Mercy
(Waves of Mercy #2)
By Lynn Austin
Christian Historical Romance
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 400 Pages
October 2nd 2018 by Bethany House Publishers

She Knew Her New Life Would Not Be Easy,
But Nothing Could Prepare Her For What Waits Ahead

Having returned to Chicago, young socialite Anna Nicholson can’t seem to focus on her upcoming marriage. The new information she’s learned about her birth mother continues to pull at her, and she hires Pinkerton detectives to help her find the truth. But as she meets people who once knew her mother and hears stories about the past, Anna soon discovers that some secrets are better left hidden.

At the same time, unflattering stories about Anna are leaked by someone who would love to see her disgraced and her engagement broken. And as Anna tries to share her faith with her society friends, she understands that her choice to seek God’s purpose for her life isn’t as simple as she had hoped.

When things are at their darkest, Anna knows she can turn to her grandmother, Geesje de Jonge, back in Holland, Michigan. Geesje’s been helping new Dutch immigrants, including a teen with a haunted past, adjust to America. She only hopes that her wisdom can help all these young people through the turmoil they face.

My Thoughts


Many of you will find this hard to believe, but this is my first Lynn Austin book! I was very excited to read this author and the story did not disappoint. Since this is book two in the series, I thought it stood alone very well and the author gave you all the necessary information to not feel like you were missing important details. That being said, I’ve already picked up book one, Waves of Mercy, and do plan to read that one as well.

I think Austin’s gift is writing wonderful, multi-faceted characters with great depth that draw you right into their story. The heroine, Anna Nicholson, comes from a world of wealth and privilege, but undeniably feels God’s call on her life to serve him. As the story unfolds, Anna’s faith blossoms. She is torn between William, a man she cares about and is expected to marry, and Derk, the man she loves. I especially enjoyed the way Austin drew fine distinctions between the two men and Anna’s choices without demonizing either of them.

Tante Geejse, Anna’s biological grandmother is not only the rock of the book, but of her family and community as well. Kind, compassionate and filled with faith, Geejse reminded me of my own precious grandmother Criste. She welcomes Cornelia, a young immigrant girl with a tragic past, into her home. Cornelia has faced unthinkable heartache yet was forced to bury it deep inside instead of dealing with the pain. But slowly Geesje helps her to confront her past, grieve her losses, and find hope in God for her future. Although Geesje occasionally borders on the preachy side, you’re willing to overlook it especially when she’s confronting Cornnelia’s overbearing grandfather.

Austin doesn’t shy away from some difficult topics either– attempted suicide, sexual and physical abuse, and teen pregnancy. Though handled in a tasteful manner without any graphic details, this degree of realism may be distressing for some younger readers.

As both a reader and writer of historical romance, I have high expectations when it comes to historical accuracy. Austin effortlessly weaves historical details that bring the Gilded Age to life before your eyes—butlers and maid servants, societal expectations and the importance of keeping up appearances. The author paints a beautiful comparison between the heroine’s life of privilege and her grandmother’s modest lifestyle among the Dutch immigrants in the small town of Holland, Michigan. Austin’s vivid descriptions of the stately mansions in Chicago’s Lakeshore district as well as the run down inner city tenements immerse you in the time period, and will leave you lifting your pinky as you sip your tea or feeling the need to wipe the grime and soot from your skin.

With endearing characters and a strong, satisfying ending, I give Legacy of Mercy 4 out of 5 stars!

I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishers. I am not required to write positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

Favorite Quotes


“Maybe change is His (God’s) favorite tool to make sure we keep growing closer to Him.” 

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy! As someone who doesn’t like change, this quote gave me plenty to contemplate! I probably need to write that on an index card and stick in on my fridge!

“Over time–and it was a long time–I chose to let go of the resentment and to trust Him (God). Simply trust Him. I don’t need to see exactly how He’s going to weave together all of the broken strands–in my life or anyone else’s. But I know that the finished work will be beautiful.”

Who hasn’t experienced great loss? A loved one. A marriage. A dream. These beautiful words of encouragement reminded me how God is always working behind the scenes for my good.

Spiritual Takeaway


The central overarching theme of God’s love and mercy is recurring throughout the story. As  Austin’s characters face difficult trials and uncertainties, the reader is reminded that God has a plan for our lives and that we can trust Him even when we don’t understand what’s happening or how our problems will be resolved.

Oma Geejse’s servant heart also reminds us to bless others with our time, talents and possessions. God blesses us so that we may be a blessing to others.

Praise for Legacy of Mercy


“Interlacing the past with the present-day lives of Anna and Geesje, Austin compassionately delivers a moving tale of family bonds, tests of faith, and abiding love.”–Booklist starred review

“Austin has crafted an interesting, historically accurate portrait of two profoundly different characters: one looking back at life, the other taking her first faltering steps toward independence.”–Publishers Weekly

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Bethany House

Other Books in the Series


Waves of Mercy
(Waves of Mercy #1)
By Lynn Austin
Christian Historical Romance
Hardcover, Paperback & ebook, 384 Pages
October 4th 2016 by Bethany House Publishers

Haunted by the Unknowns of Their Pasts,
Two Women Search for Answers Along the Shores of Lake Michigan

Chicago socialite Anna Nicholson retreats to the Hotel Ottawa in Holland, Michigan, after breaking her engagement with her wealthy fiancé. Filled with questions about her newfound faith and troubled by a recurring nightmare, Anna finds solace in Derk Vander Veen, a seasonal hotel worker who plans to go into the ministry.

Prompted by a request from her son, Geesje de Jonge begins to sift through memories of emigrating from the Netherlands almost fifty years ago. As she writes them down for the Semi-Centennial anniversary of the town’s settlement, her story takes on a life of its own as she honestly and painfully recalls her regrets, doubts, hardships, and joys. Her story captivates Derk, who sees similarities between Geesje and Anna, and wishes to bring the two together.

Past and present collide as Anna and Geesje seek clarity, but neither expects the revelations that await them.

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Bethany House

Tour Schedule & Giveaway


Legacy of Mercy On Tour with Prism Book Tours

 

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Tour Schedule

October 15th:
Launch
Cover Lover Book Review
An Indie Adventure
Author Kelly D. Scott

October 16th:
Romancing History
Uplifting Reads

October 17th:
The Power of Words
Hearts & Scribbles

October 18th:
Fiction Aficionado
Splashes of Joy

October 19th:
Wishful Endings
Stacking My Book Shelves!
Rockin’ Book Reviews

October 22nd:
Among the Reads
Book by Book

October 23rd:
Jen Around the World
Heidi Reads…

October 24th:
Jorie Loves A Story
Radiant Light

October 25th:
Tell Tale Book Reviews
Locks, Hooks and Books

October 26th:
Reading Is My SuperPower
Remembrancy

Check out the Bookstagram Tour schedule October 22 – 26 here!

 

Tour Giveaway

One Grand Prize Winner will receive Waves of Mercy and Legacy of Mercy by Lynn Austin and tulip notecards.

Two additional winners will receive Waves and Mercy and Legacy of Mercy.

For US winners only—international readers may enter, but a $35 gift card will be substituted for their prize if they are chosen as winners.

Ends October 26, 2018

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About the Author


For many years, Lynn Austin nurtured a desire to write but frequent travels and the demands of her growing family postponed her career. When her husband’s work took Lynn to Bogota, Colombia, for two years, she used the B.A. she’d earned at Hope College and Southern Connecticut State University to work as a teacher. After returning to the U.S., the Austins moved to Anderson, Indiana, Thunder Bay, Ontario, and later to Winnipeg, Manitoba.

It was during the long Canadian winters at home with her children that Lynn made progress on her dream to write, carving out a few hours of writing time each day while her children napped. Lynn credits her early experience of learning to write amid the chaos of family life for her ability to be a productive writer while making sure her family remains her top priority.

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