Miss Isadora Delafield may be an heiress, but her life is far from carefree. When her mother begins pressuring her to marry an elderly and uncouth duke, she escapes from the high society world she’s always known and finds herself to be an unlikely candidate for a housekeeper position in rural Pennsylvania.
Mr. Ian MacKenzie is known for his savvy business sense and has built his reputation and fortune completely on his own merits. But when his adopted parents are in need of a new housekeeper and Isadora is thrown into his path, he’s unexpectedly charmed by her unconventional manner.
Neither Isadora nor Ian expected to find the other so intriguing, but when mysterious incidents on the farm and the truth of Isadora’s secret threaten those they love, they’ll have to set aside everything they thought they wanted for a chance at happy-ever-after.
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About the Author
One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist. When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO.
Guest post from Jen
Q & A With Jen Turano
“Flights of Fancy” is the first book in the American Heiress Series. What inspired you to write this series?
The inspiration for this entire series started off with a What If? All of my proposals for new series start off that way, and this time it was – What if Consuelo Vanderbilt had balked when her mother insisted she marry the Duke of Marlborough – and then that led to – What if she’d run away until her mother came to her senses? Just like that, an entire series was born – a bit of a different take on American heiresses because in all three books, my heiresses might decide to go a tad…rogue. We start off with Miss Isadora Delafield – who does run off to avoid marriage to a duke, then we get to meet Miss Poppy Garrison, who is an unexpected heiress but who can’t quite seem to get a handle on the expected social decorum of the day, and then the final book revolves around Miss Beatrix Waterbury – who gets banished to Chicago after she annoys her mother one too many times, and once there, well, gets up to a bit of mischief.
How do you come up with the names of your characters?
I find most of my names as I research the New York Four-Hundred, although I normally take a first name here, a last name there so I’m not stepping on any toes by writing about an actual historical figure – except for some of the main figures in New York society back then, such as Mr. Ward McAllister – who was the social arbiter of the day, or Mrs. William Astor, who was the queen of that society. What I don’t do is simply make up names, no matter how outrageous they may appear. And, no matter how I may love a certain name, if the character decides it doesn’t suit them, that’s it, it’s out and I’m back to the drawing board.
How do you picture your character? Do you use Pinterest, magazines, movies?
Odd as this may seem, I don’t use pictures for my characters. They start off in my mind as a blurry figure, and then, they develop from there – I like to keep my descriptions of them somewhat vague on the pages so that the reader can imagine them exactly the way they’d like them to be.
What are some of your favorite resources for historical research?
I’ve been building up a research library over the past few years and now have over 200 books dedicated to the Gilded Age. My favorites are – “A Season of Splendor” by Greg King, “Society as I Have Found It” by Ward McAllister, “The Gilded Age in New York – 1870-1910” by Esther Crain, and “ ‘King Lehr’ and the Gilded Age” by Elizabeth Drexel Lehr.
The setting for “Flights of Fancy” is a bit of a departure for you since it’s set in and outside of Pittsburgh. Any reason for that?
My mom was born in Pittsburgh, and unfortunately, her father, a prominent attorney back in the day, died when she was only four. I thought it would be cool to set a story in Pittsburgh, which would then allow me to really dive into some research. And get this – while I was doing that research, I found this obscure journal called “Memoirs of Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. In that journal was a bit about my great-grandfather, Fred, his wife, Susie, my grandfather, and his brother and sister, but I’d never heard about this brother, who apparently died quite young. One of the most fabulous research tidbits I’ve uncovered to date.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just recently turned in the content edits for the second book in this series, “Diamond in the Rough,” and I’ve also turned in a novella about the Harvey Girls that will be coming out in a novella collection in Fall, 2019. With those out of the way, I’m now starting the third and final book in the American Heiress series, Miss Beatrix Waterbury’s story, but I’m having a bit of a struggle with the hero at the moment – he was supposed to be Edward, but he doesn’t want to be an Edward – I think he wants to be Norman – but, time will tell on that one – don’t hold me to the name – it’ll depend on if he changes his mind or not – pesky characters.
You seem to enjoy adding animals in many of your stories. Will we find any animals in “Flights of Fancy?”
Since Miss Isadora Delafield ends up on a farm, I do believe you will find a few animals, such as an adorable cow by the name of Buttercup, a few goats that seem to have a great liking for laundry, and…there might be some chickens.
Thanks for stopping by today, everyone! Always enjoy visiting with all of you – in fact, that’s the best part of my job!
All the best,
~ Jen ~
Flights of Fancy by Jen Turano takes us back to July of 1885. Isadora Delafield has a mother determined to marry her off to a gentleman with a title. The older Duke of Montrose has set his sights on Isadora and her mother, Hester is thrilled with the match. Isadora is repulsed by the Duke and his reputation sends her running with the aid of those who care for her. Isadora or Izzie finds herself in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania applying for the position as housekeeper at Glory Manor. With a name like Glory Manor, Izzie imagines a large residence where she can direct and organize servants which happens to be her expertise. Mr. Ian MacKenzie was raised by Amos and Birdie Alderson on their farm, Glory Manor. Birdie was injured in a plow incident and Amos has been forgetful lately. Ian needs someone to take care of them while he is managing his business interests in the city. He was unprepared for the four Duffy children that a social worker has put into Birdie’s care. Ian has his doubts about Izzie’s qualifications especially after he must show her how to use the washing machine, but he is in a pinch plus he finds Izzie intriguing. Izzie finds herself adapting to her new situation, but she is concerned by malicious activities happening at Glory Manor and other surrounding farms. Izzie and Ian will need to work together to overcome unexpected challenges. What happens when someone threatens those they love and a promising future?
Flights of Fancy is a delightfully entertaining historical novel. I found the book to be well-written with steady pacing. Isadore Delafield is a great character. She has a controlling mother who wants her daughter to marry a man with a title. The Duke of Montrose fits the bill, but he is twice Isadora’s age. When her best friend’s butler, Mr. Hatfield learns of the Duke’s intentions, he informs Mr. Godkin, the Delafield butler, of the man’s character and what happened to the Duke’s other three wives. The two men come up with a plan to keep Izzie safe. Ian MacKenzie is grateful to Amos and Birdie Alderson for taking him in as a child and making sure he got an education. Ian is now a successful businessman who is determined to marry a society lady. I enjoyed the witty repartee between Izzie and Ian. Izzie has no clue how to perform the most basic of tasks, but she is a whiz at organization and hiring others to accomplish her plans. Add in four rambunctious children, a cow who prefers a house to a barn and a chicken (who really should have been named Nigel). Also, Izzie tends to be long-winded with her unusual explanations (which make Ian forget what he asked in the first place). I found myself laughing from beginning to end while reading Flights of Fancy (I am talking about laugh-out-loud laughing). Jen Turano captured the historical period with her descriptions of the homes (mansions), the beautiful clothing, the attitudes of men and women (especially society mother’s like Harriet Delafield), the transportation utilized, the historical figures mentioned, and the types of businesses run. The Christian element is light but well thought out. Birdie is the character with the strongest faith which she shares with those in her life. My finger was kept busy flipping the virtual pages of my Kindle as I devoured this book. Flights of Fancy is a captivating story with romance, action, rich historical details, suspense, and whimsy.
To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away a grand prize of a trunk filled with all of Jen’s full-length novels released to date. Be sure to comment on the blog stops (schedule below) for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click here to enter. Thank you for joining me today. I will be showcasing Grimoires, Spas and Chocolate Straws by Erin Johnson tomorrow. It is the eighth novel in the Spells & Caramels series and there will be a giveaway. May you have a tranquil day (we all need one of these now and then). Take care and Happy Reading!
The Avid Reader