Review of “Behind the Scenes” (Apart from the Crowd #1) by Jen Turano

Turano, Jen. Behind the Scenes. Bloomington, MN: Bethany House, 2017. ISBN-13; 978-0-7642-1794-4. m$15.99 USD. 

4.5 stars

After enjoying the introductory novella in the series, I was excited to try more of Jen Turano’s work. And after finishing Behind the Scenes, I am even more excited to read more from her. While it does go a little overboard with the comedic elements, even to the point of distracting momentarily from the big climactic moment when the culprit behind the murder and blackmail plot is revealed, it is still a wonderful book that for the most part, with a compelling story that kept me turning pages and a vibrant cast of characters.

Permilia and Asher feel very true to the time period, with Permilia representing someone who is more progressive, and Asher representing someone who has more traditional values, and through her, will come to be more open-minded. It is a familiar plot-line, especially for the Gilded Age setting, but it feels fresh and it is wonderful to see their relationship develop.

They are complemented by a great extended cast of characters as well, the most memorable being Permilia’s family and the Huxley-Tooker family. I found her stepmother and stepsister characters who I loved to hate, and enjoyed seeing the family dynamics unravel at one point, even if there really is no proper resolution beyond Permilia’s father and stepmother staying married to save face. The same goes for the Huxley sisters and their mysterious nephew, born to a sister no one knew they had. Turano excellently foreshadowed the relationship between family members in that case, leading up to the big reveal at the end.

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