About the Book
Title: Flights of Fancy
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Gilded Age
Release date: January 1, 2019
Publisher: Bethany House
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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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.
Guest Post from Jen: A Q+A
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 ~
My favorite aspect to Jen Turano’s novels is her awesome sense of humor. I adore the witty banter and the slapstick in Flights of Fancy. This book is filled with excellently hilarious, laugh-out-loud scenes. I actually read about half of this story out loud to my husband so we could laugh together. The hilarity alone makes Flights of Fancy a must-read for 2019!
Turano’s message in this novel that God puts us all on specific paths for very specific reasons really resonated with me. Many, many times in my life I have struggled with my path. I have often worried that I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. All that worry ever did for me was make me hate my job and life in general. When I learned to change my attitude, when I realized a real relationship with Jesus, I learned that God makes NO mistakes and that I am exactly where He wants me to be. I admire Izzie’s courage to step out into God’s plan for her even though she has zero clue where that path will take her. In my experience, trusting God’s path takes time. I found Izzie to be intrepid in the sense that she just goes with it. Watching Izzie try new things that took her out of her comfort zone, consider new ideas, see things from others’ perspectives, and grow in her relationship with God really made Izzie an admirable character. This is definitely a novel I will save for when my daughter is old enough because I think Izzie does a great job of modelling what trusting in God’s plan looks like.
I’ve been a mom for six years. They’ve been AMAZING six years, and I’m super excited for all the years to come, but being a mom is sometimes really scary. It’s not being a mommy that is scary per se, it’s not knowing what the future holds for my daughter. I would like to be able to steer her onto a path that is the least painful and troublesome if at all possible, but I know that’s unrealistic. One idea that really captured my attention in Flights of Fancy is the notion of mothers and their plans for their daughters. There is no doubt that Izzie’s mother, Hester, loves her daughter. She wants the absolute best for Izzie, which she firmly believes is marriage to a particular gentleman. Hester is so obsessed with Izzie’s “perfect future” that she loses sight of her actual child. Hester’s plan makes her myopic — it’s literally all she lives for. I found this to be a much-needed warning for me to heed. I know myself, and I could easily become a Hester-mother. I could put my plans for my child ahead of my child’s actual best interests. I am not God though. Proverbs 16:9 tells me that only God can establish my daughter’s steps. Hester’s actions, attitudes, and words in Flights of Fancy reminded me that God made me Bella’s mommy so that I can help her on the path God’s put her on, not steamroll her onto the path I think is best for her. This is a really important lesson for me to learn now when my daughter is six so I don’t mess up too hard in her future.
Flights of Fancy is another win for Jen Turano, and I very much look forward to the next installment to this series. If you are looking for a hilarious novel filled with wonderfully unique and endearing characters, and a plot line that is so engaging you will be turning pages well past bedtime, then this is definitely the book for you. I highly, highly recommend this fabulous read!
I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author via Celebrate Lit through NetGalley. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.
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.
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