Sunday, January 13, 2013

Book Review - Jen Turano's A Change in Fortune

A Change of Fortune

Jen Turano

Bethany House
c. November 2012
ISBN 978-0-7642-1018-1
Print: $14.99
E-book: $9.99

Darling Debut!

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 novel.


  1. Ha! Lisa - I loved it too and still need to write my own review. I'm glad we agreed it was fun - I warned you it was written with a sense of humor and I loved Eliza! Bethany House also did a nice job on the cover - it really captured the attitude of the heroine. I love a good romance with a hint of whimsy!

    1. You were an encouragment. Funny, these covers drive me crazy, even though this one wasn't dreadful. AND - two people saw it and said the cover grabbed them. I'll be passing it on.