Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Jen Turano's "Behind the Scenes" - high jinks and hilarity

Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd, #1)
In the midst of Alva Vanderbilt's society event of the century, Miss Permilia Griswold, a wallflower, has no plans but to take notes for her secret job as Miss Quill, a society columnist. However, little at the ball goes right for her, and in the course of helping a friend, she overhears a death threat against the highly eligible Asher Rutherford. When Asher doesn't take the threat seriously, Permilia takes matters into her own hands to keep him safe.

You know it's a good book when people come asking why you're laughing. Mostly it's the author's turn of phrase and ability to stick characters in crazy situations (the dumbwaiter scene is great), but this time the historical fancy dress ball of Alva Vanderbilt was sufficiently bizarre as to provide details full of humor on their own. Like costumes made with taxidermied cat heads and tails, or battery operated electric lights in the dress (in 1883, when electrical safety was not quite as much a thing).

I'm always so glad that the author uses recurring characters (or gives them their own book)--be they main characters or supporting, Turano excels at writing quirky, lovable characters. Permilia is fun, especially after getting a taste of her personality in "At Your Request," but I can't wait to read more about Gertrude and her highly suspect employer, Miss Davenport, in the next book.

vanderbiltball
Mora. Miss Kate Fearing Strong
(later Mrs. Arthur Welman). 1883.
Museum of the City of New York.
F2012.58.1460.
If you're in need of a laugh, look no farther. The book doesn't take itself too seriously, but it's not without heart.

Thank you Bethany House for providing a free book. I was not required to write a positive review, and all opinions are my own.

Apart from the Crowd
0.5: "At Your Request"
1. Behind the Scenes
2. Out of the Ordinary

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