What do you do when you are forced into society events in the Victorian era, but have only found yourself as a wallflower? You become a social page reporter. Having lost her mother at a young age, Permilia Griswold enjoyed traveling with her father owned mines. While Permilia enjoyed mining life and was interested in taking over the mines someday, her father wanted much more for her life; he wanted her to have a motherly influence who would encourage her to become a lady. After her father meets and marries Ida who is a society lady, Permilia finds herself forced into the life of the social elite… just one problem, she is forced into a society that doesn’t accept her for the quirky person she is and it is not long before she is deemed a wallflower.
Asher Rutherford is a self-made business man who owns his own clothing store. At his first meeting with Permilia, she is trying to haggle him down on the price of his ice skates to Central Park. When a ball brings them together again, Asher is unable to remember who this peculiar lady is, until someone sparks the memory; however, he is intrigued by her and finds himself drawn to her for a dance or two. Taken aback, Permilia reluctantly lets him sign her dance card for a dance she ends up not performing properly and writes the satire about herself in the social page for her next Miss Quill article. Even though she runs an accomplished column, nobody is aware of her pen name or that she writes the Miss Quill column because she fears it would bring disgrace to her family because the press is the enemy of the social elite.
While at the society ball, Permilia and her friend Gertrude find themselves wandering through the house and unexpectedly privy to two gentleman talking about doing away with Asher. As the ladies hear the gentlemen open the door, Permilia and Gertrude shove themselves into a dumbwaiter and maneuver into the kitchen. Permilia realizes all too late that her unique shoe is missing, but realizes she must tell Asher. Although Asher thinks that it is an exaggeration, he still can’t help but be cautious, especially since he is inexplicably drawn to this intriguing woman.
Once Permilia’s article is published about her and Asher, as well as several other articles elaborating on the amount of time Permilia and Asher spend together at the ball, her editor demands that there is more to the story and that he wants the first scoop on any engagement announcement for pair. Permilia assures her editor that they are not a couple, but desperate to get more publicity for the paper, he requests that she still make up some juicy tale. When Permilia states that she will not, she finds herself thrown out of the office without a job. She is not sure what her next move is to be, but she feels that she has a duty to watch out for Asher and investigate who is trying to murder him. On her way home, a boy comes and gives her a mysterious box which contains her missing shoe from the ball, as well as a strong admonition that if she does not leave town, her life will be in danger as well.
You will not want to miss reading Behind the Scenes by Jen Turano. Old fans, as well as new readers, to her books will enjoy her usual set of quirky characters, humor, and mystery, as well as the steady pace that comes when reading this book. I also enjoy the vocabulary that Jen uses in her novels. She is not afraid to use some of the less commonly used words, and they fit perfectly with her novels since most of them are written in the Victorian era. She does not disappoint from the first page to the very last sentence. This is a book that is suitable for any age reader, but will be more thoroughly enjoyed by the advanced reader who enjoys a comedy mystery.
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I received this book free courtesy of Bethany House Publisher’s Blogger Review Program in exchange for an honest review.