Saturday, May 13, 2017

A Victorian-Era Comedic Adventure: Behind the Scenes, by Jen Turano


Genre: Historical Fiction

Series: Book one in the Apart from the Crowd series

Rating: Three out of five hearts ❤❤❤


Miss Permilia Griswold never asked to be thrust into society, with all its rules and regulations. In fact, she knows more about guns and swordplay than dancing and pleasantries- and being a wallflower wasn't in the plan, either. However, wallflower status does have its advantages- like hearing all the behind the scenes talk that are perfect for her society column, where her pseudonym is "Miss Quill".

 It is during one of these society events that Permilia happens to hear what she never expected- a threat on the life of one of the city's leading businessmen, Asher Rutherford. However, Asher doesn't believe the story she brings him, so what will she have to do to keep him safe?

My Review:

Permilia and Asher are the newest characters in Mrs. Turano's collection of comedic novels, and while I preferred Lucetta Plum and Bram Haverstein from Playing the Part, Asher and Permilia hold their own. Permilia's preference for swords and helping the poor versus balls and everything the social life brings made her interesting and slightly dangerous- especially since she can get pretty riled when provoked. I did feel that she was a bit too peculiar for my tastes, though it might just be our opposite personalities that made me not able to understand her. As for the hero of the story, Asher Rutherford- he is, perhaps, too city-like for me- however, I think that's the kind of character Permilia got on well with, and they were both good for each other. And Asher is not to be underestimated- he's not a simple dandy, but has a heart and will to be tough and formidable (although I'm not sure he'll ever get that far). The other very quirky characters also made for interesting reading, and although they were all sometimes too quirky and unusual for me (which made things frequently seem unrealistic), I did enjoy them pretty well. I have to say, Mrs. Davenport, Harrison Sinclair and Permilia's fellow wallflowers did make for fun characters- they were probably some of my favorites in the story.

 The writing style did seem to over-explain things a bit too much, which, coupled with the sometimes too silly characters, wasn't that great. Also, I wasn't overly fond over the way the story started. The story starts off at a grand ball- very interesting, but it went on for way too long, and I began to wish for it to end.  I felt that I would have liked to have read about Permilia alone first, find out her personality under normal circumstances  and all about her family and friends, get all that established, and then move on with the story and the events that are going to take place.
 The mystery, however, was interesting, and I thought the conclusion and all that progressed was a very fulfilling, slightly funny and altogether a good ending for the story. The storyline in and of itself was, I thought, unique and original, just like its characters, and  I only wish I could have gotten into it more, to give it a better review. 
 It was also interesting to read about this time period from the point of view of such a unique character. The beauty of the time period is represented, along with its frustrating and sometimes confusing rules and the ways it could have stood improvement. 
On the whole, (despite my dislike for some of the elements in the book) it was enjoyable reading a lighthearted comedy for a change (since I don't normally read a lot of that type of book) and I look forward to perhaps reading the next books in the series. 

 Note: I got this book from Bethany House Publishers in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. 

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