Tuesday, 11 August 2015

In Good Company


Back Cover

After growing up as an orphan, Millie Longfellow is determined to become the best nanny the East Coast has ever seen.  Unfortunately, her playfulness and enthusiasm aren’t always well-received and she finds herself dismissed from yet another position.

Everett Mulberry has quite unexpectedly become guardian to three children that scare off every nanny he hires.  About to depart for Newport, Rhode Island, for the summer, he’s desperate for competent childcare.

At wit’s end with both Millie and Everett, the employment agency gives them one last chance – with each other.  As Millie falls in love with her mischievous charges, Everett focuses on achieving the coveted societal status of the upper echelons.  But as he investigates the suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the children’s parents, will it take the loss of those he loves to learn whose company he truly wants for the rest of his life?


I had just started a week-long farm-sitting stint when I cracked open this novel.  I was so, so excited to dive into this book, and it came at the perfect time.  Jen Turano’s stories always provide a fantastic escape from my crazy, stressful life inside the law office.  In Good Company proved to be true to form as Ms. Turano’s previous novels and I finished it before my week of farm life was done.  In between mucking paddocks and changing irrigation at the farm, and plowing through mountains of files at the office, I spent my free moments in the world of Millie Longfellow and Everett Mulberry and three cute rascals known as Elizabeth, Thaddeus, and Rose. Chock full of humour and wit, the characters’ antics elicited more than a few laughs and chuckles (the flour scene…those peacocks!...and the tennis match – oh my gosh!), which are very classic in a Jen Turano novel.  Filtered in was a thread of suspense regarding the circumstances of the deaths of the children’s parents…was it truly an accident, or murder? 

However, the true story were the sparks flying between Millie and Everett – something that proves to be quite complicated given Everett’s expected engagement to Caroline Dixon, a lady that lives and breathes the society’s lifestyle – right down to the proper way to fold a napkin for a ball (I can’t believe there was such a thing as napkin folding classes!).  Even while at the beginning of the story cracks were starting to show in Everett’s and Caroline’s relationship, Everett’s strong-held views that he needed to marry someone of his “station” isn’t something that can be overcome easily.  Especially marrying someone as flamboyant and unorthodox as Millie…

In Good Company is a delicious read that I did not want to end.  The only consolation was realizing that I had missed reading Jen Turano’s previous novel, After a Fashion – a mistake that I’ll be rectifying very shortly!

Book has been provided courtesy of Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group.  This is my honest review.

A Perfect Ambition


Back Cover

As the firstborn son of an old and powerful family, William Jennings Worthington VI knows what it’s like to be under pressure.  Groomed from birth with the relentless message that he was destined for greatness, Will has always pushed himself to succeed—nearly as much as his never-satisfied financial tycoon father pushes him. Becoming CEO of the world’s largest and most adventuresome oil company seems the next logical step on the success ladder.  But when circumstances turn, Will finds himself staring down a road that leads to Capitol Hill.  Can he trade the board room for the Senate floor?  Or will family secrets keep him from his destiny?


I don’t normally reach for political novels.  Amidst the never-ending back-biting, under-handed deals, two-faced politicians, endless talk of polling, and votes, etc., I often find them rather dull and depressing read. Perhaps partly due to being centralized in a world that I’m quite foreign in, (legal thrillers on the other hand…haha), or the story just doesn’t move along fast enough; and I rather read suspense novels wherein the characters pursue justice – not a place on a pedestal. 

However, A Perfect Ambition doesn’t restrict itself to politics, campaigning, and back-room deals.  Its battles are not only waged on Capitol Hill, but also in the boardrooms of billion dollar oil companies, on the Arctic Ocean’s waters between the Navy and environmentalist groups, and even around the dinner table amongst the prestigious Worthington family members.  A Perfect Ambition sheds some light on how these battles are won and lost, and what a person stands to gain or lose. 

Another prominent theme throughout the story was the characterization of Will, Sean, and Sarah amongst their “birth order”.  The author carefully paints their motives and actions based upon the birth order theory in which your position amongst your siblings can dictate or influence your personality traits.  It was quite interesting to read.  Being one of three siblings, I can attest to some truth to the descriptions while others I disagree with.  But it’s intriguing nonetheless, and I may have to pick up Dr. Kevin Leman’s The Birth Order Book to learn more about the theory. 

While at times I found the writing a little stilted (a problem I’ve often noticed with a book that is co-authored – it’s like a battle as to whose “voice” is going to come out on top!), the story  moves along at a fairly fast clip, and various suspenseful moments kept me intrigued.  To sum it up, A Perfect Ambition is a multi-faceted, interesting novel that is more than meets the eye – and may make me a fan of political novels yet!

Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.