“Miss Permilia Griswold, the wallflower behind “The Quill” gossip column, knows everything that goes on in the ballrooms of New York. When she overhears a threat against the estimable Mr. Asher Rutherford, she’s determined to warn him. Away from society’s spotlight, Asher and Permilia discover there’s more going on behind the scenes than they anticipated.” – Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd book 1) by Jen Turano.
This is a little change of pace compared to the last book I read (The 7 1/2 Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle, check out my last post – I can’t stop talking about it!), and it’s absolutely worth the time! When I started asking a few of my Christian reader friends about their favorite authors, Turano’s name was mentioned by the majority. Now, the impressiveness of that depends on how many friends you think I have – but it was enough to get me to pick up one of her her books! Everyone raved about her humor and since I tend to lean towards ‘realistic’ (or as my husband says, depressing) books, I decided I needed to switch it up with something light-hearted.
Miss Permillia (such a fun name) has uncovered a plot to murder the dashing Asher Rutherford, and no one really believes her – including Asher, the target. This pushes Permillia into action which means basically stalking Asher to keep him from being assassinated. This book is filled with antics of a strong willed woman determined to save the life of Asher, who may or may not believe in the suffragette movement. This is a fun aspect of the book, as Asher is somewhat aghast at Permillia constantly trying to save him; it’s unlady like! But he does eventually concede that he did need her help, and begins to warm up to the idea of suffragettes because of the wonderful Permillia. We love realistic character arcs!
Behind the Scenes is a fun, historical romance novel that is indeed funny. Asher runs a fashion store, which plays into the plot a lot and I enjoyed learning a little bit about the fashion industry, even in such little glimpses. Hint: his store is partially the reason for the assassination attempt.
This is a Christian novel, and I think it’s a subtle yet recognizable plot line. It’s not as strong as Karen Kingsbury (who can come across as unrealistic in my honest opinion) but stronger than Terri Blackstock. The Christian aspect of the book comes into play more at the end of the novel, when Permillia visits her church for some guidance and we get this lovely quote; “You told me to give my concerns over to God, but then to not simply sit idly by and wait for Him to fix my life for me, but to look for opportunities that He might send my way if only I was observant enough to recognize those opportunities.” This is a lesson I think many of us could benefit to hear. Overall I enjoyed this book of mayhem, murder plots, strong women, and society pressure!
Rating: 4.5 stars out of 5
Why: The characters are sweet, funny, and easy to read. Permillia is witty and fun which is a great break from the more serious characters that I tend to find in Christian books. I wish that there had been a little bit more Christianity, but I think it can be very hard to hit the sweet spot of having a book that is about Christianity without becoming preachy or unrealistic. As this is a historical book though, I would have assumed that the characters would have gone to church more often.
Ending Thoughts: I will be checking out more of Jen Turano, but she’s probably going to have to wait because my list of TBR is starting to get out of hand. If you’re up for a light-hearted regency romance, please check out Behind the Scenes!
With love and wishing you a happy (almost) spring,