A Talent for Trouble by Jen Turano
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Miss Felicia Murdock firmly believed her destiny was to become a minister's wife. When the minister on whom she had set her sights marries another lady, Felicia is forced to take a close look at her life and comes to a few uncomfortable conclusions. Determined that something needs to change--and soon--Felicia discovers she is finally ready to spread her wings and embrace life the way she's always wanted.I received this novel from the publisher via Netgalley. Find it on Amazon in paperback for $9.81 (11/8/13)
Grayson Sumner--or Lord Sefton, as he's officially known--has had more than enough of spreading his wings and only hopes to settle into the life of a normal, respectable New York gentleman. Prompted by some well-meaning friends to lift the spirits of the disappointed-in-love Miss Murdock, he is surprised to encounter a young lady who seems to have become quite adventurous and quite determined to get herself into all sorts of troublesome situations.
Intent on remaining independent, Felicia is reluctant to accept Grayson's help, especially as she finds herself developing feelings for him. However, just as Grayson decides he's had quite enough of her antics, his past comes back to haunt him and his presence in her life has endangered Felicia. Will Grayson and Felicia decide they want to spend the rest of their lives keeping one another out of trouble?/
A Talent for Trouble is a fun Historical Christian Romance.
Felicia is a fun loving, crazy, impulsive girl who has spent the last four years of her life pining after a Reverend who happily marries someone else. What ensues next is her 'awakening' to the fact that she was pretending to be someone else for 4 years and now has to discover who she is and what she really wants.
Grayson is a rich (of course) Lord from England with a complicated and shady past. This past of course, tries to keep him from developing his feelings for Felicia. I might add that his story is probably the only part of the book that gives us a historical glimpse of America and New York at the time. Let me hint at the larger pieces: Chinese, opium, and stolen gems. Intriguing, no?
The secondary characters are fun and well developed, each having a past of their own (this is the third in the Ladies of Distinction series by Turano. No need to read the previous books to enjoy this one however)or will soon have a book written for them I am sure. Felicia's mom is loving yet meddling, her brothers are protectors yet distant, and all her friends are loyal, loving, and willing to let Felicia be Felicia.
I really enjoyed Grayson's past; it was truly a little sketch. I also liked the pace of the book, not too slow but not too fast. Some scenes seemed unnecessary at first, yet upon further thinking the book was really about Felicia's development into her true self. With this perspective the scenes made more sense. The tension between Grayson and Felicia was not over the top to the point of annoying, so it was fun to watch them finally develop and admit feelings for each other.
One of other things I enjoyed about this novel was the touch of humor. The circumstances the characters get into and some of the misunderstandings had just the right nuances to make it truly a fun read. Dialogue between characters was quick, witty, and delightful.
My biggest hang up with 'A Talent for Trouble'?? Sadly, the main character, Felicia, herself. She was waaay too over the top crazy and weird for the time period given (1880s is my understanding). Some of her actions would have seriously landed her in the looney bin for this time period and she was too abrupt and seemed to have no stopper on her mouth. I found it incredibly hard to believe this story wasn't set in at least the mid 1900s. It was also really hard for me to relate to Felicia at all. It seemed she was too purposeful about finding mayhem, a bit childish even, and honestly annoyed me. There is fun-loving, and then there is rude and childish. Felicia was definitely in the latter category.
I think it is a bit telling about a novel and it's author when I don't like their MC, so I am not sure I will read more from Turano. From reading other reviews, it sounds like the first two books in this series are highly similar to this one in plot and character personality. If I ran across another Turano book, I might read it, but I won't go looking for one.
Yet, after reading that little warning, let me note that this book is worth picking up at the library! The plot and pacing were great, the secondary characters fun and full of live, and Grayson is truly gentleman-ly. This mixture of 'blah' and 'yay!' are what earned this book a 3 star rating from me!
Recommend for lovers of the genre who also enjoy strong female characters who have a serious talent for trouble :)