Finally, a historical romance not set on the prairie. It’s
1880, New York City, but it’s still the aristocratic side of town – Park Avenue,
balls, dinners, carriages, the El, and shopping. Glasses and padding under her
corset help Eliza Sumner hide in plain sight. She’s come across the ocean from
her home in England when her late father’s fortune is stolen and no one, not
even her fiancé in London, will help her get it back.
Eliza can’t pass as a peon for long, however, when she lands
a job as a governess. Agatha, the eldest sister of her current charges, forces
her to come clean, and the two of them embark on an adventure to recover Eliza’s
inheritance and for Agatha, write an articles for the newspaper. They encounter
the Beckett brothers along the way who have their own troubles with a man
associated with Eliza’s thief, a charmingly chauvinistic investigator, and
Hamilton Beckett’s scheming mother who may be the most dangerous of all.
Precocious children, women’s rights, trousers, jail—they’re
all here in this marvelous romp of a story to regain not only a woman’s stolen
fortune, but lost faith in the goodness of people and God.
Turano’s debut is a fast-paced adventure from beginning to
end. While predictable, the fun is in the journey, and Turano doesn’t
disappoint. From the moment Eliza puts on glasses in a disastrous dinner, loses
her skirt in a break-in attempt and goes to jail in a prostitute round-up, to
meeting the Beckett children, I enjoyed the twists and turns of the characters.
Mrs. Beckett is an absolute hoot. The others were personable, with enough
background subtly strewn about that their current actions and inactions made
sense. The story got a little out of control toward the end when surprising people
appeared, but I imagine the author was creating a set-up for future related
adventures, which I look forward to. Certainly Hamilton’s charming brother,
Zayne, with his mysterious fiancé would make a delicious tale, as well as their
suffragette sister who didn’t make an appearance but was much referred to.
Mostly historically accurate if a bit rambunctious and
occasionally over the top, emotionally satisfying, and thoroughly entertaining,
A Change in Fortune is a sweet debut