BOOK REVIEW: Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano

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.

Oh my stars but this book is a doozy, in mostly the right ways.  Permilia is nothing short of a slightly ditzy yet really too smart for her ow good sort of character.  Raised by a single father in the late 1800's he remarries to someone that can introduce her to the New York social scene, thinking that it would make her happy and be of future benefit to her.  He was partly wrong.  She doesn't 'take' to the social scene and is quickly relegated to a 'Wallflower' or outsider.  But like any self-respecting too quick for her own good woman, Permilia makes the most of her situation.  She makes friends with the other Wallflowers, something not traditionally done, apparently if you are a Wallflower you are to sit on the sidelines and think about what you've done to not fit in.  Through all of this she meets Asher, a very eligible gentleman of the true elite society.  And they form a slightly awkward, weird bond over  an overheard threat to kill him, though he didn't believe her.  A few twists of mystery and well you know the drill with a romance...

There were a few things with this book that didn't quite appeal to me.  I felt like so many of the situations were contrived and didn't feel natural or even really accurate to the time period.  They weren't inaccurate but just lacked authenticity.  Permilia seemed to find herself in such awkward situations that felt too outlandish which left me lacking substance with the story.  Even the mystery, blown up and then left to someone else to deal with, until it was time to reveal the truth.  Though the truth did take me by surprise so the book actually gained about half a star for that.  This is a Christian novel but for me the faith felt like a toss-aside.  Like oh wait, um yeah here's a good place to throw a touch of God in but lets make it sorta random OK?  I didn't feel like the introduction of faith and the conversations about faith truly fit into the overall scheme where they were used.  The faith wasn't subtle but it wasn't consistent either.  It felt like an afterthought.  The last thing I want to touch on is the dialogue.  Oh my gravy, it felt as though the book was all talk and now show.  And the dialogue was so convoluted at times and the back and forth between speakers was easy lost on who was speaking now.    I'm convinced that Permilia and Asher both speak in near run-on sentences that twist and turn instead of just sharing a conversation.  

That being said, it was a good book with a great story...even with the neat little bow at the end (you know how I feel about that by now I hope!).  Permilia had a good heart, a good mind, and a solid sense of self.  That last one is hard to find in the average person, much less someone thrown into a situation they didn't want, don't care for, and aren't accepted in.  Asher is a self-possessed gentleman that has managed to take life circumstances and do something most people wouldn't entertain.  And he did it with style and heart.  Though the Huxley sisters are my absolute favorite characters and add so much flavor to the story.  I'd have loved to see more of Mrs. Davenport as well and hope she features more in future books in the series.  I would also like to see what becomes of Permilia's dad and stepmother since their secrets came out as well and then has them trotting off to Paris with her step-sister and potential suitor.  Yes, there's a neat little bow but the strings are still hanging to hopefully be addressed in future books.

I was provided a complimentary copy of this book by NetGalley.  I was not compensated for this review and all thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.  I was not required to write a positive review.

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Behind the Scenes (Apart from the Crowd, #1)

About Jen Turano 
Jen Turano is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in Clothing and Textiles. She pursued a career in management for nine years before switching to full-time motherhood after the birth of her son. When she's not writing, Jen can be found watching her teenage son participate in various activities, taking long walks with her husband and dog, socializing with friends, or delving into a good book. She lives in suburban Denver, Colorado

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