27 February 2016

7 Reasons to Read Jen Turano's New Release "Playing the Part" Review by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Reviewed by Carrie Fancett Pagels

Five Stars *****


Although a prominent actress, Lucetta Plum, is far deeper than her admirers might think. She's not a fragile flower waiting to be rescued. And she has some unusual "gifts" that have affected her life. When her stepfather intrudes back into her life, threatening Lucetta's safety, her widowed friend Abigail takes her to her grandson's Gothic estate on the Hudson River.
(The picture on the left is of Eaton Hall, gothic architecture, and I think it gives the "vibe" of the Haverstein estate!) 
Bram Haverstein collects misfits and has multiple secrets he's hiding on his estate. He's been harboring secret affection for Lucetta, the actress, although he's never met her in person. Therein lies the rub -- when we "think" we know someone, but we don't!

Absolutely charming story. Highly recommend. Jen Turano never disappoints. I love her writing so much that I "saved" this read for a day I needed something new and spectacular to read and she delivers royally!  Thank you to Net Galley for giving me this early opportunity to read this book for review and to Bethany House for making the title available. I am under no compulsion to write a positive review and these thoughts are my own.  

7 Reasons to Read 1) It is SO funny that you will be laughing out loud!
2) Has the trademark Jen Turano adorable and quirky characters!
3) Storyline is tight but has great twists and turns!
4) Jen's bright and hopeful author's voice shines through!
5) She doesn't put exclamation points everywhere, you can feel the exclamations!
6) You'll get to "meet up" with some of your favorite characters from books earlier in the series.
7) You'll get a cool surprise at the end of the book!

Giveaway: We're giving away a paperback copy of Playing the Part by Jen Turano (Thank you Bethany House!) to one of our readers.  Answer this question -- have you read any other novels where the heroine was an actress?

114 comments:

  1. Oh, great review Carrie!
    Congratulations on your book Jen!

    I read one years ago: Leaving by Karen Kingsbury where the heroine, Bailey Flanigan was an upcoming actress who got a part in a Broadway musical in NYC.

    blessings, Tina

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    1. I think I read that book by Karen Kingsbury! So talented. Thanks Tina!

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    2. Thank you so much, Tina! Enjoy the rest of your week.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  2. I may have read other novels where the heroine was an actress but none come to mind right now. I do love Jen Turano's books. Her characters are always delightfully quirky and make me laugh. Some of the situations they get into are so amusing. I've read all her other books and am really looking forward to Playing the Part, though I'm kind of sad this is the last of the series.

    pmkellogg56[at]gmail[dot]com

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    1. Pam I feel same way about Jen's series ending!!!

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    2. Thank you for stopping in, Pam. Always a pleasure to hear from you, and it's not a sad thing, the series ending since...I already have the prequel novella for the next series turned in as well as the first book - and...I've just begun the next book in that series - So...before you know it, there will be other quirky characters to get to know.

      Have a great rest of the week!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  3. I love Jen's books. They are like none other! I can't wait to get me hands on this one; the previous 2 were wonderful. I have read the Bailey Flanigan series where she was an actor, and I think I read another with an actress long ago, but the title escapes me. I want to say it was by Gilbert Morris, though. Thank you!!
    kathrynlvoss(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Hey Kate I feel like reading a Jen Turano book is this amazing treat!!!!

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    2. Hi Kate - thank you so much for stopping in, and I'm delighted to learn you've enjoyed the other books in this series.

      Good luck with the giveaway, and I wish you a very fabulous week!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  4. Loved your review, CARRIE! Your excitement and exclamation points shine through as well! I also enjoyed reading your 7 reasons -- that was great! I have read books where the heroine was acting out a part (deception), but never one with an actress. lol

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    1. I love that Jen can convey that excitement without exclamation points, unlike me!!!

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    2. Isn't Carrie just the best, Diana? I love the review she did as well.

      Have a wonderful rest of the week.

      All the best,

      Jen

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  5. Love love love your reasons and not just any reasons...all great reasons to read ANY of Jen's books!

    The only other novel where we have the main character and actor I've read is Dorothy Love's A Respectable Actress which was also great! I'd categorize it as a mystery.

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    1. Thanks so much, Annie!!! Love Jen Turano's books!!!

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    2. Thank you, Annie. And, completely off subject, but I got to meet Dorothy Love at a convention last year. She's delightful and her book covers are always gorgeous.

      Have a great week!

      Jen

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  6. I don't recall reading fiction with an actress as the main character. There have been actresses as sidekicks or supporting characters, and this sounds interesting. Your enthusiasm is motivating. I've enjoyed what I've read by Turano very much.

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    1. If you come back by leave us your name and email for the contest! Thanks!

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    2. Thank you so much, and do come back and leave your name and email so Carrie can get you entered in the contest!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  7. Jen is a gift to us readers, she truly is! I loved this book and was sad to see the end of the series, BUT I am excited to see what she will do next!

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    1. Definitely a gift and I am so glad mutual friend Lisa Norato "introduced " Jen to me!

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    2. Hey Melony - you're always so great - thank you!

      Won't be too long until I have something new coming out:)

      All the best,

      Jen

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  8. Oh, I forgot to answer the question, I read "A Respectable Actress" By Dorothy Love, but other than that, not much about actresses out there.

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    1. That is two of you recommending this book. Will have to check it out!

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  9. You pointed out one of the things I enjoy most about Jen Turano's books, the laugh out loud part. Comedy in the writing appeals to me. I seem to think that I have read a book with an actress as the heroine, but I can't recall any book titles. I definitely look forward to reading this new one by Jen Turano.

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    1. Heather you will be laughing for sure! Best wishes !

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    2. Her wit is absolutely amazing. I don't know how she does it!

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    3. Thank you so much, Heather. (and thank you to Susan as well.) I really do enjoy writing comedy, and isn't it great that I finally figured out what to do with my odd sense of humor? Before I became a writer, I'm fairly certain everyone just found me somewhat peculiar:)

      Good luck with the giveaway.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  10. A Respectable Actress by Dorothy Love. I really enjoy Jen Turano's books. She has a way of getting a message across all the while entertaining you.

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    1. I agree Stella! Jen's books are so entertaining!

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    2. Thank you, Stella. Interestingly enough, I never really know what message is going to come out until I start writing, and then I just go with it since I've come to the conclusion those messages are not my ideas but God's.

      Good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  11. I don't remember reading a book with an actress in the lead. I love books that can make me laugh out loud.

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    1. There are so few authors who write humorous Christian romance.

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    2. I'm with you, Jan. When I was around twelve, I read this Harlequin book - no idea who wrote it or what the title was - but it made me laugh - far too many years later, I still remember the plot - and that there was a horse named Jamie:)

      Have a great week!

      ~ Jen ~

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  12. Oh, Carrie, I love Jen and would really love to read this book. I had the good fortune of meeting Jen last year and instantly loved her. She is just as funny in person as her writings are...delightful!

    I don't think I have read a book where the main character is an actress.

    Thank you for the opportunity.

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    1. I agree that Jen is funny and delightful in person and also beautiful. She really looks like her pictures which can't be said of everyone I have met at conferences.

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    2. Melanie - how delightful to hear from you again. I loved talking with you at RT and my sister told me that if I heard from you again, to tell you she says "Hello." So, there you go:)

      All the best,

      Jen

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  13. The character on the cover has such a fun expression.

    I'm sure I have read a book where the heroine was an actress. Titles escape me.

    marypres(AT)gmail(DOT)com

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    1. Thank you, Mary.

      The character on the cover is fun, and...she looks a bit like my sister, Gretchen. Which is why the book is actually dedicated to my sister.

      Good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  14. I don't remember reading any with an actress but that doesn't mean that I haven't, you know what I mean, lol.

    Thank you for the chance to win Jen's newest book. It sounds like a very good read!

    Wendy in FL

    wfnren at aol dot com

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    1. I do know exactly what you mean, Wendy! Don't miss out on Jen's new book!

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    2. Thank you for stopping in, Wendy. And, I can't actually recall many books with actresses in them at the moment either...

      Good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  15. Fabulous review Carrie! I've not yet read a book where the heroine is an actress.

    Congrats Jen on your release!

    psalm103and138 at gmail dot com

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    1. Thanks, Caryl! I think you would love this story by Jen Turano!

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    2. Thank you so much, Caryl!

      As soon as you read this one, you can then say you've read a story with an actress in it, although...Lucetta isn't just any actress, but...can't say more, that would spoil the story.

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  16. Jen's books are some of my very favorites, Carrie. Chapter 18 had me rolling in the floor. It took me forever to read just one page because every sentence had me busting a gut laughing. My dog was on my lap and I laughed so much, I scared him and he jumped off, then whined at me to make sure I was all right. Jen Turano rocks a comedy!

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    1. I totally agree, Susan! I'd love to hear this book on audiobook so I could enjoy it all over again!

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    2. Maybe someday my books will go audio - but that's all with the publisher:)

      Thanks, Susan, for making me smile, although I am sorry I was the reason your poor dog got scared - bless his heart.

      Thanks again!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  17. Wonderful review, Carrie. I have not had the chance to read a book with an actress as heroine, but I'm sure I would enjoy it. Thanks for the giveaway.
    bettimace at gmail dot com

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    1. I am sure you'd love Playing the Part, Betti! Blessings!

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    2. Thank you for leaving a comment, Betti!

      Good luck with the giveaway, and I hope you have a fabulous week!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  18. I don't think I've read a book where the heroine is an actress, however, this one sounds delightful. Thanks for the great review and for the seven reasons for reading it. I do love a humorous book.

    pwestfall7 at hotmail dot com

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    1. Definitely - Playing the Part is a delightful book!

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    2. Hi Pam.

      Thank you for stopping by, and I hope you get an opportunity to read "Playing the Part!"

      Have a great week!

      Jen

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  19. No, I haven't! This one really sounds like a great read! Thanks for your review & the giveaway!
    rw620 AT aol DOT com

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    1. Hey Robin! Don't miss out on Jen Turano's new novel!

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    2. Thank you, Robin.

      Good luck with the giveaway, and I wish you a very wonderful rest of the week!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  20. I read an old Gilbert Morris book, Stars in Their Courses, where the heroine and hero were actors. That was so long ago, I should go back and read it ...

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    1. Oh, I love that title, J'Nell! That is really sad about Gilbert Morris passing away recently. Thanks for coming by.

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    2. It's wonderful to hear from you, J'nell.

      Good luck with the giveaway, and I'll have to check out Gilbert's book. I haven't read that one.

      All the best,

      Jen

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  21. I don't recall ever reading a book where the heroine was an actress.

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    1. Laurie, in my novella, Return to Shirley Plantation: A Civil War Romance, the hero is a theater manager and an actor and the seamstress is acting the part of one of the Carter family but she's not an actress.

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    2. Laurie,

      You should read all of Carrie's work. She's a great writer!

      Thank you for stopping in, and I wish you good luck in the giveaway!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  22. One of my favorite reviews of yours CARRIE!! :-) You make this book sing, which I know it does because I also LOVE and admire Jen Turano's writing. Uhh cannot wait to read this book!!

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    1. Thanks, Noela! I'm still not planning on ramping up my reviews, not when there are you wonderful reviewing Angels on OWG who do such an amazing job! I just review my absolute faves and sometimes ones I reviewed for endorsement or for contests! Hugs!

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    2. Thank you, Noela - and even though it was a review of my book - Carrie rocked it, didn't she?

      Have a great week!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  23. No, I think I have not heard of one. This book sounds like a great book.

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    1. mommystuck1(at)optonline(dot)net

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    2. It's funny but because my heroine in Return to Shirley Plantation is in actuality a seamstress, I don't think of her as an actress, but she is basically acting out the part of being a Carter family member. I don't think that is quite the same thing though!

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    3. Thank you, Tammy!

      Good luck with the giveaway, and have a great rest of the week!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  24. The only books I can think of that come close is the Daughters of Fortune series by Judith Pella. One of the daughters is a nightclub singer. I'm looking forward to reading Jen's book. I've loved the other ones!

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    1. Hi Heidi! Thanks for coming by! You will love "Acting the Part" for sure!

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    2. Hi Heidi,

      Thank you so much, and I have to tell you, whenever I see the name Heidi, I have to smile. My mom was set on naming her last child Heidi - however, that child turned out to be a he instead of a she, and ruined all my mom's plans:)

      Good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  25. Oh, Carrie - thank you so very, very much for such a fabulous review. Your kind words have made my day, something I truly needed after having a bit of a trying weekend. Thank you to everyone else as well - I so appreciate the support all of you have extended me. It is very humbling. Good luck with the giveaway, and I hope all of you have a marvelous week!

    All the best,

    ~ Jen ~

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    1. I had a fun time writing up this review, Jen! Really enjoyed this fantastic book. Would love to see them all on audiobook. You are very welcome. So glad that Lisa Norato introduced us here on the blog, before I actually met you at ACFW conference! Love your books! Blessings!

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  26. I enjoyed your review very much. Playing the Part sounds like a great read. I have not read of a Heroine being played by an actress before. Congratulations on your book Jen.

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    1. Wendy, this great book would have you laughing despite the rough Michigan winter you are having! Blessings!

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    2. Thank you so much, Wendy!

      Good luck with the giveaway, and I hope you'll be able to read the story soon!

      All the best,

      ~ Jen ~

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  27. I am so excited about Jen's new book. I love her writing. I read "Love in Disguise" by Carol Cox where the heroine was a costume designer for a theater but ends up acting as three different characters in her real life. It was a good book.

    Thanks so much for the giveaway!

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    1. I have Carol's book on Kindle and hadn't gotten to it yet, I don't think. Thanks for the recommendation, Loraine, and for coming by!

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    2. Thank you, Loraine!

      I enjoyed "Love in Disguise" as well, and now I do believe I'll have to pull that book out again and re-read it:)

      Good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  28. No, I don't think I have ever read a book with the main character was an actress.

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    1. Hi Lace! If you come back, would you please leave us your email address? Thanks!

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    2. Thank you for stopping in, Lace. Do make certain to come back and give us your email so Carrie can get you entered in the giveaway!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  29. After reading this review, I am dying to read the book!!!! Hahaha! The book I read was called The Respectable Actress!

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    1. Well, thank you! That is the reaction I love to hear, Moriah! If you come back, please leave your email address for the drawing!

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    2. Hi Moriah!

      I'm now dying for you to read the book:) Make sure you stop back and leave your email so Carrie can enter you in the giveaway:)

      All the best,

      Jen

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    3. I'm sorry! I didn't get your message till now! It's Moriahbroome@yahoo.com thank you so much for allowing me to enter in your contest! Fingers crossed!

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  30. I don't think I've read any other actress books, but Playing the Part sounds so entertaining! I can't wait to read it! mylittlebirdie (at) yahoo (dot) com

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    1. Thank you so much, Karen!

      Good luck with the giveaway, and I hope you have a fabulous rest of the week!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  31. I, too, read all four books back-to-back of Karen Kingsbury about Bailey Flanigan.

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    1. Thank you for stopping in, Darlene.

      I have not read that series, but it's looking like my to-be-read pile is getting larger by the second!

      Good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  32. I haven't, this will be my first heroine actress!

    missionwife AT hotmail DOT com

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    1. I know you would enjoy Playing the Part, Melody!

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    2. Thank you for dropping in, Melody.

      And, if you do get a chance to read this book, you'll find Miss Plum to be a rather unusual actress, even for the times:) Won't say more about that, but...:)

      Have a great week!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  33. I don't recall reading a book where the heroine is an actress but I am in love with the concept!! I am so excited about this new book. I cannot wait to read it!

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    1. I've really enjoyed this heroine as she's had cameo spots in the other books, so it was great reading her story!

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    2. Thank you so much, Thea!

      I have to admit that I debated about having a character as an actress, but...once Miss Plum turned up on the pages of my first manuscript in this series, she simply made the final decision for me - characters can be pesky that way...

      Have a great week!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  34. I have not. Tricia Goyer's Songbird Under a German Moon is probably the closest I've got with her main character heroine being a singer.

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    1. I haven't heard of that book, Samantha! thanks for sharing!

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    2. Allow me to simply say, Samantha, that your name has always been one of my very favorites, and I was mad at my mom for years for naming me Jennifer over Samantha:)

      Good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  35. I don't think I have read another book where the main character with an actress. If I have, currently it wasn't very memorable. Really excited to check this one out.
    Pacer8@hotmail.com

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    1. My hero, Matthew Scott, is a thespian and a theater manager and he acts out the part of being part of being a plantation family member despite being an Ohio senator's son. He is sweet but not as memorable as Miss Plum, I'm afraid!

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    2. Thank you so much, Adrienne.

      Do make sure to check out Carrie's work - she's a delightful writer.

      Good luck with the giveaway, and I wish you a wonderful rest of the week. It seems to be about to snow out here near Denver, which is odd since it wasn't supposed to snow, but...there you have it:)

      All the best,

      Jen

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  36. I surprisingly can't think of any I have read with a actress. I loved the 1st book in this series - can't wait to read the other 2!

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    1. Oh my indeed - that just cracked me right up - you should see when I go through a first draft for the first time - honestly, I can't tell you how many times I'll find an "a" instead of an "an" or...I once found a your instead of you're - that would have had them talking in the editing department if I hadn't caught it:)

      Good luck with the giveaway!

      All the best,

      Jen

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    2. Congrats Photocowgirl! You won the paperback copy of Jen's new book! Look for an email!

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    3. I am so excited - thank you so much! And thank you Jen Turano for the reply, it made my day!

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  37. I'm sure I've read a book with an actress was the main character but can't think of one right now. Books I've read recently had ballerina's as characters.

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    1. Thank you for stopping in, Becky.

      I'm stuck with reading non-fiction right now since I'm in the midst of a first draft and have to watch what I read, but I do enjoy a story with a ballerina in it as well.

      Good luck with the drawing!

      All the best,

      Jen

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  38. Yes, but my memory can't come up with a title today! I love books that make me laugh and Jen's always make me happy.
    worthy2bpraised at gmail dot com

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    1. Thank you so much, Merry!

      Delighted to learn my books make you happy - that's high praise indeed.

      Good luck with the giveaway, and I wish you a wonderful rest of the week.

      All the best,

      Jen

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  39. This comment has been removed by the author.

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