But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers who delude themselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man who looks at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he has immediately forgotten what kind of person he was. But one who looks intently at the perfect law, the law of liberty, and abides by it, not having become a forgetful hearer but an effectual doer, this man will be blessed in what he does.” James 1:22-25
Let’s face it. We all do it. We are confronted with the not-so-flattering reality of some fault or another and we turn a blind eye. It’s hard to hear just how messed up we are.
That’s one of the reasons I love fiction so much.
In the pages of a book, I can see my faults played out by a character, and it shows me just where I need to change, to grow, to become.
That might feel a little contradictory when I like to say that I work to provide the “write escape” for readers, but um… it’s not.
Because, if I don’t learn something from a book I’ve invested myself in, well… I tend to get discouraged. And that lesson is often the difference between thinking a book is just “okay” or liking it. Even more, it’s the difference between liking and loving a book.
Sometimes… those lessons make things that would otherwise pull me out of a story and annoy me not matter so much. That happened last night with a book I’d requested to review.
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you. Also, I requested a review copy of this book. Opinions are my own.
Is This Book Just The Right Escape?
Jen Turano creates magnificent characters. Her people have every strength, virtue, flaw, and weakness they should to make them believable. If I had a quibble, I’d say that sometimes her villains are just a little too perfectly evil, but seriously, I like them just the way they are regardless.
Not only that, she manages to create storylines that aren’t the same old, done a million and one times, plots that just get tied up in a different colored ribbon. Even the most unbelievable scenarios become believable when filtered through her imagination. She’s truly a gifted story-crafter.
Last night’s book, Flights of Fancy, is no exception. In fact, unlike the previous two books of hers that I’ve read, there were no dull spots that made me ache to put it down. I was captivated from beginning to end.
Yes, certain writing issues that I’ve written about in Behind the Scenes and Out of the Ordinary are still there. Many people probably wouldn’t be bothered. Others might. The redundancy in phrasing, the info dumping, the explanations… yes, they were there. I’ve decided it’s Ms. Turano’s style, and since so many people love her work, I’ll have to ignore it—just as sure as she’d probably hate my overuse of em dashes or preference for minimal kissing scenes or whatever.
Having issues that aren’t your favorite doesn’t mean a book isn’t excellent. And that’s just what I realized as I closed this book. Page by page, I felt like I was reading a four-star book.
I was wrong.
The reason I was wrong is simple. This book was a brilliant escape—both figuratively and literarily. 😉
However, that’s not the reason.
The reason this book is a five-star book for me is that I loved it—because of those lessons. Because I saw a beautiful portrait drawn of a woman who took an honest look at herself, found the picture wanting, and did something about it.
The process of becoming Izzie wasn’t overnight, preachy, or too perfect. It was real.
Yep. Flights of Fancy truly was just the right escape for this reader. Bravo, Ms. Turano.
About the Book
Title: Flights of Fancy
Author: Jen Turano
Genre: Christian Historical Romance, Gilded Age
Release date: January 1, 2019
Publisher: Bethany House
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.