A Change of Fortune by Jen Turano

This novel is an enjoyable read with a few twists and fun dialogue, but it is set in the wrong century. There is so much about our time, and our way of thinking in this story that one can almost imagine it taking place in the 1950s or 1960s, especially the part about the girls being arrested for prostitution. While I am sure that this could be possible, the horror of it happening to two young women who were more used to the parlor than the seedy part of town is not fully explored. The surprise of harlots being on the corner is just short of shocking to the reader given that the house the young women are going to is supposedly of very high caliber. The reader must untangle from the incongruence before jumping back into the story flow. There are other instances like this. I get the feeling this is the editor's doing, and not the author's because the story feels a bit choppy.

There is no subtlety in the story where the reader can imagine love blossoming, or imagine a situation that would lend more humor. Everything is spelled out to a T. If you like that type of story, then this one is for you. However, I miss the anticipation of the kiss as in other romances. Here is the problem with a romance combined with a suspenseful plot. Rarely has this combination been done really well.

There is very little head jumping, praise the Lord! Going back and forth between the two main characters is rather enjoyable and is done perfectly. The POV travels from Eliza to Hamilton and sometimes to others, but is not distracting, and that means it is done well. The reader is never left wondering "Where am I?"

The storyline is very fast paced, perhaps in places a bit too fast. But, it is never boring and never gives you the feeling that you have to skip to the good parts. The writing is very good, but the story could be fleshed out in places to give a bit more detail concerning the era and society-ways. Sometimes the humor comes from a blase' attitude toward a situation. While that may not have been how a nineteenth century man would have viewed a woman in pants or find himself with her skirt in his hand, it does lend to the fun of the situation. Read it for fun, not for history and you'll very much enjoy it.

This one gets 4 of 5 stars.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
A Change of Fortune
Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012)
Jen Turano


Lady Eliza Sumner is on a mission. Her fortune was the last thing she had left after losing her father, her fiance, and her faith. Now, masquerading as Miss Eliza Sumner governess-at-large, she's determined to find the man who ran off with her fortune, reclaim the money, and head straight back to London.

Mr. Hamilton Beckett, much to his chagrin, is the catch of the season, and all the eyes of New York society--all the female ones, at least--are on him. He has no plans to marry again, especially since his hands are full keeping his business afloat while raising his two children alone.

Eliza's hapless attempts to regain her fortune unexpectedly put her right in Hamilton's path. The discovery of a common nemesis causes them to join forces and, before she knows it, Eliza has a whole retinue of people helping her. Eliza's determination not to trust anyone weakens when everyone's antics and bumbling efforts to assist her make her wonder if there might be more important things than her fortune and independence.

When all of Hamilton's and Eliza's best-laid plans fall by the wayside, it will take a riot of complications for them to realize that God just might have had a better plan in mind all along.

If you would like to read the first chapter of A Change of Fortune, go HERE.


Jen grew up in the small town of St. Clairsville, Ohio, where she spent an idyllic childhood riding her purple spider bike, ice-skating on a little pond and reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon books in her tree house. High School was, surprisingly enough, fabulous as Jen spent time with her girlfriends. She headed off to college with no idea of what she wanted to be when she grew up, but settled on pursuing a career in fashion because she thought it sounded glamorous. Her parents thought she’d lost her mind, but they resigned themselves to her choice and after earning a BA degree in Clothing and Textiles, Jen set off to take the fashion world by storm, only to discover retail was certainly not the glamorous career she’d imagined it would be. She moved to Buffalo, New York to take a job in the buying office of a large department store, learning all there was to know about cookware, which again, was hardly glamorous, especially to a girl who did not have a knack for cooking. She met her future husband, Al, a few months after taking this job and eight months later, they were married. After moving into management at another department store and working that for a few years, the company went out of business and Jen decided she’d had enough. One year later her son was born and Jen hung up her heels for good and concentrated on being a mom.

She began dabbling in writing when her son, then in elementary school, said he liked her made up stories as much as those in his books. It was then that she fired up the computer and never looked back.

Jen loves to write humorous stories with quirky characters and a dash of intrigue and finds historical romances especially appealing, seeing as how she’s been reading them since she was a teenager. Her mother gave her a copy of Kathleen Woodiwiss, The Flame and the Flower, and Jen was hooked on the genre. When not reading romance, she loves to read mysteries, young adult and her favorite series of all time, Harry Potter.

Besides writing, Jen enjoys spending time with her family and friends.


The Breath of Dawn by Kristen Heitzmann

I was quite intrigued by this lovely novel from Kristen Heitzmann. The story development was superb, and the character development exemplary. The character that stole the show was Livvy, the two-year old daughter of Morgan. Quite the charmer and cute, I thought she may have been attributed some dialogue that might have been a tad too old? Maybe not. I found myself caring about what happened to both main characters, and especially to Livvy.

What I did not like was the head-hopping. Flipping from one character to another to another stopped the story flow and did nothing for suspense or intrigue. What could have been a nail-biter, turned out to be an average read. No suspense at all. We are all scared of the unknown. If Heitzmann had just capitalized on that, this story would have worked very well as a love/suspense story. But, she didn't and it doesn't. Jumping into the head of the crazed-maniac does not create suspense. It only adds another character that no one really cares about because he is the evil genie of the story. We readers do not want to feel sorry for him; we want him caught, and we want him to pay for his evil.

If you really like anticipation in your love stories, this one won't do for you. This book reads like it was intended to be a much shorter love story with a suspense back story that was only supposed to play a minor  role; but then was short-circuited by an editor for more fluff and added dimension to make it a longer version. 

There were several places that just didn't make sense like a paragraph or a couple of sentences were removed with no bridge put in place, and that made some places choppy. I had to reread several paragraphs to make some kind of sense and in one or two places, it never did make sense. 

However, on the whole, the book is enjoyable and is very well written. If for no other reason, the book is truly remarkable in how much a two-year old can add to the plot without being a victim. There is good balance with how the characters interact, and this gives the novel a good level of realism. Heitzmann also weaves a nice subplot in how humans need each other, and need to let go of the past as well as loved ones who have passed on. 

I give it 3 stars out of 5.

This week, the
Christian Fiction Blog Alliance
is introducing
The Breath of Dawn
Bethany House Publishers (November 1, 2012)
Kristen Heitzmann


From the time my dad taught me to read at sit-on-the-floor school when I was four—launching me past kindergarten into 1st grade—I have loved learning and expressing what I know through art, music, and especially writing. Education came easily, and I grew accustomed to having my work read and displayed. But breaking out of the family mold, I left college to marry my husband Jim (celebrating our 29th this year.) Since then, life and all kinds of research have provided the grist for my stories. We have three awesome adult kids, and one incredible teenager. (You might think I’m biased, but ask anyone who knows them.)

While home schooling my four kids, I wrote my first novel. I pitched it for publication, and it became the first of a five book historical series. Since then, I have written three more historical novels and nine contemporaries. The Still of Night was nominated for the Colorado Book Award. The Tender Vine was a Christy Award finalist and Secrets won a Christy in 2005.

People often ask why I started writing, and I say to get the stories out of my head. Some say they’d like to write a book, but I say if you’re not wracked with labor pains, there are easier ways to express yourself. Being a writer is a solitary, eccentric, and often compulsive path. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.


Kristen Heitzmann Delivers Powerful New Romantic Suspense
Morgan Spencer has had just about all he can take of life. Following the tragic death of his wife, Jill, he retreats to his brother's Rocky Mountain ranch to heal and focus on the care of his infant daughter, Olivia. Two years later, Morgan begins to make plans to return to his home in Santa Barbara to pick up the pieces of his life and career.

Quinn Riley has been avoiding her past for four years. Standing up for the truth has forced her into a life of fear and isolation. After a "chance" first meeting and a Thanksgiving snowstorm, Quinn is drawn into the Spencer family's warm and loving world, and she begins to believe she might find freedom in their friendship.

The man Quinn helped put behind bars has recently been released, however, and she fears her past will endanger the entire Spencer family. As the danger heightens, she determines to leave town for the sake of the people who have come to mean so much to her.

Fixing problems is what Morgan Spencer does best, and he is not willing to let Quinn run away, possibly into the clutches of a man bent on revenge. But Morgan's solution sends him and Quinn on an unexpected path, with repercussions neither could have anticipated.

If you would like to read the first chapter of The Breath of Dawn, go HERE.

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