About the Book
Book: To Steal A Heart
Series: The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency, #1
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Historical RomCom
Release Date: November 17, 2020
After spending her childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. Using her old skills to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella unexpectedly encounters Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.
After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agrees to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.
As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.
About the Author
Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers 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. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado.
More from Jen
To Steal a Heart is the first book in a new series. How did you come up with the idea for this series?
Oddly enough, this series was inspired by a lot of different things. I keep this idea box, and whenever I stumble on something interesting, I throw the idea into the box. When I was getting ready to assemble a proposal for a new series, I took out the box and began rifling through it. Unfortunately, nothing struck my fancy. What did strike my fancy though was the movie “My Fair Lady.” I’d recently watched it for the millionth time, and I thought…hmmm…what could I do with that? Well, I didn’t want to do a recreation of “My Fair Lady” and that’s when it hit me – what if I used a gentleman instead of a lady and improved his circumstances in life with the help of a professor? That wasn’t really enough, though, for me to formulate an entire series, but then I went to New York City for a research trip. While there, I roamed around Bleecker Street for hours. It was the perfect place to set a series, and then I saw this older building that my tour guide thought might have once been a boardinghouse. That was what really started me thinking, and before I knew it, I’d created an inquiry agency run by women that came about when a resident of a boardinghouse was unjustly accused of theft. When the police would not investigate further, believing they had the true culprit behind bars, the ladies who lived in the boardinghouse felt compelled to step up and clear their fellow boardinghouse resident of the charges brought against her. The series took off from there, the first book centering around one of the lady inquiry agents, Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who used to live on the mean streets of the Lower East Side and, at one point in her life, was best friends with Nicholas Quinn, the man who has now found his circumstances vastly improved from the time he knew Gabriella. Throwing the two of them back together made for an interesting storyline, especially since Gabriella believes Nicholas abandoned her all those years ago, which makes it next to impossible for her to trust him.
Are there other interesting characters in this series?
Of course. All of the lady inquiry agents come with their own secrets. Miss Daphne Beekman is a reclusive author who lives in the attic of the boardinghouse. She has the propensity to faint at the drop of a hat, which makes for a few amusing scenes in the first book. She’ll get her own story in To Write a Wrong coming out later in 2021. Then there’s Eunice Holbrooke. She’s the owner of the boardinghouse, and she only wears full mourning garb, covering her face with numerous veils and refusing to speak to anyone about her past. Clearly, there’s a mystery just waiting to be solved there, one that will be solved in book three, which I’m just now beginning to work on. The other residents of the boardinghouse provide a lot of color to the story, from the two sisters who work as paid companions by day to gossip collectors and carriage drivers by night to the resident artist, Miss Judith, who has recently decided to dip her toe into the portrait market even though she’s really not proficient with painting people. There’s also a one-eyed, patch-wearing dog by the name of Winston, a parrot that likes to nick sparkly items named Pretty Girl, and a neurotic poodle that falls for Winston that goes by the name of Precious.
Did the pandemic affect the writing process at all for To Steal a Heart?
Luckily, I had already turned in the book before the pandemic hit. With that said, though, I then had to do some of the edits during the first few months of the pandemic. That was interesting. I have very specific conditions I need in order to write and edit and having Al (the husband person) working from home isn’t one of those conditions. It took me far longer than it normally does to complete the editing process, which threw off my schedule for the next book in the series, To Write a Wrong. Drastic measures were needed. That’s why I’m now the proud owner of a she-shed. Al thought I was joking when I first broached the subject of a she-shed, but after I had my millionth meltdown, he decided that might be a really good idea. Turns out sheds are in high demand at the moment, so getting a shed in a timely fashion wasn’t possible. It took 6 weeks for us to get a shed delivered and then we had to frame the inside and put up a ceiling and walls. I was not actually very involved with that process because I’m a danger to everyone surrounding me when nail guns are being used. 🙂 I did paint the outside of the shed, then painted the inside. Of course, the air conditioning unit I had to order was delayed, so I painted in 100 degree heat. Lost about five pounds doing that, so…unexpected bonus there. I just recently finished decorating the inside, and I’m typing this interview from my new space. I’m thinking I’m going to call it “Jen’s Novel Nook” but that might change, so don’t quote me on that.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Just that I hope everyone is surviving these crazy days. I know there are many people out there who are suffering from many different problems this pandemic has caused. Know that you’re not alone, and that brighter days will show up again. Until that time, try to remember to smile and, perhaps, read a few books.
Wishing all of you the very best!
Can Jen Turano write a bad story?! The answer is an emphatic, “NO! No, she cannot.” To Steal a Heart is fantastic. Here are all the reasons I love this book and why you should purchase a copy ASAP:
- The women at the Bleeker Street boardinghouse. Each one is unique and quirky in her own right, and they all bring the funny. I laughed out loud so many times at their antics I lost count. The best thing about these women though is their loyalty to one another. These women will literally do anything, and I do mean anything, to help each other out. In a day where neighbors are turning on neighbors, it was so refreshing to read a story where a group of women from all walks of life comes together to support rather than tear down.
- The tension — this story is surprisingly tense in so many ways! There’s romantic tension between Gabriella and Nicholas. There’s tension between the classes. There’s tension among the upper elites. There’s tension between men and women. There’s tension between the good guys and the bad guys. There’s even romantic tension between two doggies (I’m not kidding — it’s adorable). The tension is so well written in this novel I could not stop turning pages.
- The relationship between Gabriella and Nicholas. The chemistry between these two characters is evident from their first interaction. When they first meet it has been many, many years since they last saw one another, and, boy, do they have a lot to learn about each other. I very much enjoyed their journey back to friendship. And, I love how their old friendship blossoms into new friendship into a very sweet romance. To me, it is all very realistic and just perfect! The fun interplay between Gabriella and Nicholas had me smiling the whole time.
- The bad guy is BAD. I’m talking skin-crawling bad. I was captivated by the chapters he’s in because I needed to know how Gabriella and Nicholas were going to get out of his grips. This bad guy may be one of the best bad guys I’ve ever read.
- The message. Sometimes it feels like God is a million miles away. Sometimes it seems like He works a lot in some people’s lives but neglects others. Of course, this is not true. Feelings can be deceptive. Gabriella has had a lot of bad in her life. It 100% feels like God isn’t around for her. But when she looks back on her past and the path she’s taken it’s very clear God has been there the whole time. We, humans, get so caught up in the NOW that we often forget to pause, take a breath, and reflect. I find that when I do reflect on my own past I can clearly see God in every step I’ve ever taken. This is a great reminder for all of us!
There really is so much to love about To Steal a Heart. I could go on and on with my praise! Jen Turano hit this one out of the park. I highly, highly recommend this outstanding Historical Rom Com.
I received a review copy of this novel in eBook form from the author, Jen Turano, via Celebrate Lit. 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 the grand prize package of a copy of To Steal a Heart, plus all three books in the American Heiresses series, and a 30-second mystery kit!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway!
Click the link below to enter.
Book Reviews From an Avid Reader, November 17
Soulfully Romantic, November 17
Hebrews 12 Endurance, November 17
Blessed & Bookish, November 17
Robin’s Nest, November 17
Through the Fire Blogs, November 18
The Avid Reader, November 18
Losing the Busyness, November 18
Debbie’s Dusty Deliberations, November 18
She Lives To Read, November 19
Musings of a Sassy Bookish Mama, November 19
Wishful Endings, November 19
Sara Jane Jacobs, November 19
Artistic Nobody, November 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
lakesidelivingsite, November 20
21st Century Keeper at Home, November 20
Reviewingbooksplusmore, November 20
The Write Escape, November 20
Older & Smarter?, November 21
Abba’s Prayer Warrior Princess, November 21
Christian Bookaholic, November 21
Happily Managing a Household of Boys, November 21
The Christian Fiction Girl, November 22
Locks, Hooks and Books, November 22
Mia Reads, November 22
Writing from the Heart Land, November 22
Betti Mace, November 23
Inklings and notions, November 23
Blogging With Carol, November 23
Life of Literature, November 23
Texas Book-aholic, November 24
D’S QUILTS & BOOKS, November 24
Southern Gal Loves to Read, November 24
Batya’s Bits, November 24
Joanne Markey’s blog, November 24
For Him and My Family, November 25
Inside the Wong Mind, November 25
Mary Hake, November 25
Godly Book Reviews, November 25
Mypreciousbitsandmusings, November 26
EmpowerMoms, November 26
A Modern Day Fairy Tale, November 26
Novels Corner, November 26
Ashley’s Bookshelf, November 27
Connie’s History Classroom, November 27
Captive Dreams Window, November 27
Book of Ruth Ann, November 27
deb’s Book Review, November 28
Blossoms and Blessings, November 28
Daysong Reflections, November 28
Bigreadersite, November 28
Jodie Wolfe – Stories Where Hope and Quirky Meet, November 28
Truth and Grace Homeschool Academy, November 29
Splashes of Joy, November 29
Adventures of a Travelers Wife, November 29
Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Vicky Sluiter, November 30
Pause for Tales, November 30
Spoken from the Heart, November 30
Hallie Reads, November 30