Hilarious antics and unexpected love... To Steal a Heart by Jen Turano (Review & #Giveaway) #BHPFiction #historicalromance #romanticcomedy #christfic @celebrate_lit @bethany_house

Welcome to my tour stop with Celebrate Lit! Read my review and enter the giveaway below...

To Steal a Heart
(The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency #1)
By Jen Turano
Christian Historical Romantic Comedy
Paperback & ebook, 352 Pages
November 17, 2020 by Bethany House Publishers


After spending her childhood as a street thief, Gabriella Goodhue thought she’d put her past behind her until a fellow resident at her boardinghouse is unjustly accused of theft. Using her old skills to prove her friend’s innocence, Gabriella unexpectedly encounters Nicholas Quinn, the man she once considered her best friend–until he abandoned her.

After being taken under the wing of a professor who introduced him into society and named him as heir, Nicholas is living far removed from his childhood life of crime. As a favor to a friend, Nicholas agrees to help clear the name of an innocent woman, never imagining he’d be reunited with the girl he thought lost to him forever.

As Gabriella and Nicholas are thrown together into one intrigue after another, their childhood affection grows into more, but their newfound feelings are tested when truths about their past are revealed and danger follows their every step.

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My Review

TO STEAL A HEART is a hilarious ride about women at a boarding house who form an investigative service with the main characters being childhood friends who rediscover each other after years apart. A story with unique characters, awkward and humorous antics, high society pitted against the lower class, and a star-crossed romance. Recommended to fans of the author, and those looking for a something that will make them laugh but is also sweet.

I liked Gabriella and Nicholas from the start, as well as Daphne who is so quirky she easily stands out. Then there were the other ladies at the boarding house, although Eunice is the one that most intrigues me. I know there's quite a secret there since she tries to hide from the public. Each of the characters are quite unique and complex, so it was easy to keep them all separate in my mind. This isn't something that all authors are successful at, so I applaud Turano for being able to do so.

I did feel there could have been a bit more depth in regards to Gabriella's and Nicholas's backgrounds and the plight of the other women, but this story isn't meant to make readers cry. It is mostly a riot of laughs, awkwardness, dangerous antics, societal drama, and sweet romance. I loved how Gabriella and Nicholas became reacquainted, moved to developing a deeper friendship, and then the possibility of more. It was sweet and unhurried. I also liked that the characters had their own challenges and each developed a bit from the start of the story to the end, particularly Nicholas who was faced with reanalyzing his station in life. There was a touch of inspiration, but not much, so I think this would work for both Christian and non-Christian readers.

In the end, was it what I wished for? Overall, this was another delightful story from this author and the start to a series with future books promising to deliver the same. An entertaining story from beginning to end. I'm very much looking forward to learning more about the other ladies involved in The Bleeker Street Inquiry Agency!

Content: Clean
Source: I received a complimentary copy from the publisher through Celebrate Lit, which did not require a positive review. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Named one of the funniest voices in inspirational romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today bestselling author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publishers 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. She and her family live outside of Denver, Colorado.

More from Jen

“To Steal a Heart” is the first book in a new series. How did you come up with the idea for this series?

Oddly enough, this series was inspired by a lot of different things. I keep this idea box, and whenever I stumble on something interesting, I throw the idea into the box. When I was getting ready to assemble a proposal for a new series, I took out the box and began rifling through it. Unfortunately, nothing struck my fancy. What did strike my fancy though, was the movie “My Fair Lady.” I’d recently watched it for the millionth time, and I thought…hmmm…what could I do with that? Well, I didn’t want to do a recreation of “My Fair Lady” and that’s when it hit me – what if I used a gentleman instead of a lady and improved his circumstances in life with the help of a professor? That wasn’t really enough, though, for me to formulate an entire series, but then I went to New York City for a research trip. While there, I roamed around Bleecker Street for hours. It was the perfect place to set a series, and then I saw this older building that my tour guide thought might have once been a boardinghouse. That was what really started me thinking, and before I knew it, I’d created an inquiry agency run by women that came about when a resident of a boardinghouse was unjustly accused of theft. When the police would not investigate further, believing they had the true culprit behind bars, the ladies who lived in the boardinghouse felt compelled to step up and clear their fellow boardinghouse resident of the charges brought against her. The series took off from there, the first book centering around one of the lady inquiry agents, Miss Gabriella Goodhue, who used to live on the mean streets of the Lower East Side and, at one point in her life, was best friends with Nicholas Quinn, the man who has now found his circumstances vastly improved from the time he knew Gabriella. Throwing the two of them back together made for an interesting storyline, especially since Gabriella believes Nicholas abandoned her all those years ago, which makes it next to impossible for her to trust him.

Are there other interesting characters in this series?

Of course. All of the lady inquiry agents come with their own secrets. Miss Daphne Beekman is a reclusive author who lives in the attic of the boardinghouse. She has the propensity to faint at the drop of a hat, which makes for a few amusing scenes in the first book. She’ll get her own story in “To Write a Wrong,” coming out later in 2021. Then there’s Eunice Holbrooke. She’s the owner of the boardinghouse, and she only wears full mourning garb, covering her face with numerous veils and refusing to speak to anyone about her past. Clearly, there’s a mystery just waiting to be solved there, one that will be solved in book three, which I’m just now beginning to work on. The other residents of the boardinghouse provide a lot of color to the story, from the two sisters who work as paid companions by day to gossip collectors and carriage drivers by night, to the resident artist, Miss Judith, who has recently decided to dip her toe into the portrait market even though she’s really not proficient with painting people. There’s also a one-eyed, patch-wearing dog by the name of Winston, a parrot that likes to nick sparkly items named Pretty Girl, and a neurotic poodle that falls for Winston that goes by the name of Precious.

Did the pandemic affect the writing process at all for “To Steal a Heart?”

Luckily, I had already turned in the book before the pandemic hit. With that said, though, I then had to do some of the edits during the first few months of the pandemic. That was interesting. I have very specific conditions I need in order to write and edit and having Al (the husband person) working from home isn’t one of those conditions. It took me far longer than it normally does to complete the editing process, which threw off my schedule for the next book in the series, “To Write a Wrong.” Drastic measures were needed. That’s why I’m now the proud owner of a she-shed. Al thought I was joking when I first broached the subject of a she-shed, but after I had my millionth meltdown, he decided that might be a really good idea. Turns out sheds are in high demand at the moment, so getting a shed in a timely fashion wasn’t possible. It took 6 weeks for us to get a shed delivered and then we had to frame the inside and put up a ceiling and walls. I was not actually very involved with that process because I’m a danger to everyone surrounding me when nail guns are being used. 🙂 I did paint the outside of the shed, then painted the inside. Of course the air conditioning unit I had to order was delayed, so I painted in 100 degree heat. Lost about five pounds doing that, so…unexpected bonus there. I just recently finished decorating the inside, and I’m typing this interview from my new space. I’m thinking I’m going to call it “Jen’s Novel Nook” but that might change, so don’t quote me on that.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just that I hope everyone is surviving these crazy days. I know there are many people out there who are suffering from many different problems this pandemic has caused. Know that you’re not alone, and that brighter days will show up again. Until that time, try to remember to smile and, perhaps, read a few books.

Wishing all of you the very best!


Tour Schedule

Soulfully Romantic, November 17
Blessed & Bookish, November 17
Robin’s Nest, November 17
The Avid Reader, November 18
Losing the Busyness, November 18
She Lives To Read, November 19
Wishful Endings, November 19
Sara Jane Jacobs, November 19
Artistic Nobody, November 20 (Guest Review from Joni Truex)
lakesidelivingsite, November 20
The Write Escape, November 20
Older & Smarter?, November 21
Mia Reads, November 22
Betti Mace, November 23
Blogging With Carol, November 23
Life of Literature, November 23
Texas Book-aholic, November 24
Batya’s Bits, November 24
Mary Hake, November 25
Godly Book Reviews, November 25
EmpowerMoms, November 26
Novels Corner, November 26
Book of Ruth Ann, November 27
deb’s Book Review, November 28
Daysong Reflections, November 28
Bigreadersite, November 28
Splashes of Joy, November 29
Simple Harvest Reads, November 29 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Vicky Sluiter, November 30
Pause for Tales, November 30
Hallie Reads, November 30

Tour-Wide Giveaway

To celebrate her tour, Jen is giving away the grand prize package of copy of To Steal a Heart, plus all three books in the American Heiresses series and a 30 second mystery kit (Link: https://amzn.to/3nqrIpC)!!

Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

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