To save her family from financial ruin, Miss Poppy Garrison accepts an unusual proposition to participate in the New York social season in exchange for her grandmother settling a family loan that has unexpectedly come due. Ill-equipped to handle the intricacies of mingling within the New York Four Hundred, Poppy becomes embroiled in one hilarious fiasco after another, doomed to suffer a grand societal failure instead of being deemed the diamond of the first water her grandmother longs for her to become.
Reginald Blackburn, second son of a duke, has been forced to travel to America to help his cousin, Charles Wynn, Earl of Lonsdale, find an American heiress to wed in order to shore up his family estate that is in desperate need of funds. Reginald himself has no interest in finding an heiress to marry, but when Poppy's grandmother asks him to give etiquette lessons to Poppy, he swiftly discovers he may be in for much more than he bargained for.
Set in 1885, this fun second installment of Turano's Heiresses series (after Flights of Fancy) introduces heiress Poppy Montgomery. Poppy may be the granddaughter of Viola Van Rensselaer, a high society matron, but she has been raised outside of the city, far from the respectabilities of "New York Four Hundred" elites. With her parents' horse farm in financial jeopardy, Poppy accepts an unconventional offer: Viola will pay her parents' debt if Poppy comes to the city for the upcoming society season. Reginald Blackburn, the second son of a duke and out of contention for his family's fortune, is in New York with his cousin, the Earl of Lonsdale. Financially strapped, the Earl is in search of a suitable heiress to shore up his family's coffers. Reginald is charged with weeding out the unsuitable prospects. Intrigued by Reginald's sense of propriety, Viola offers him a job teaching etiquette to Poppy. Reginald takes on the task and is immediately smitten by outspoken Poppy. As Reginald takes on more students and Poppy considers more suitors, it is Reginald's calm, sincere demeanor that eventually wins her heart. Though faith elements are light, series fans will enjoy this delightful romance.
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Great writing and a great author!
Second book in American Heiresses series
Diamond in the Rough by Jen Turano is the second book in the American Heiresses series. It can be read as a standalone for those new to this series of books. However, I heartily recommend reading Flights of Fancy (it is a delight to read). From the very first page, I was drawn into this engaging and humorous historical novel. Poppy Garrison is a vibrant woman with a zest for life. She is twenty-two years old and could care less about society. However, she made a promise to her grandmother and Poppy intends to keep it. Viola did not count on Poppy’s clumsiness or how often she manages to get herself into sticky situations. Poppy’s antics had me laughing through the whole book (there is a snail incident, a busy bustle, runaway horses, a tiara incident and so much more). Reginald Blackburn is an English gentleman who believes is proper decorum. He agrees to give lessons to Poppy, but he had not idea it was going to be such a challenge. I like how the characters grow as individuals as the story progresses. While Diamond in the Rough is humorous, there are some sweet, tender moments. The story focuses on Poppy and Reginald, but there are side stories involving some of the other characters (like Charles Wynn, Murray Middletown, Viola Van Rennsselaer, and Poppy’s mother). I thought Diamond in the Rough was well-written and it proceeded at a fast pace. I like how Jen Turano captured the time period with the clothing, language, the dances, books, conveyances, and people. I was swept back to the Gilded Age and watched Poppy as she was let loose on New York high society. My favorite line comes from Poppy when she states, “I’ve always felt that misfits are far more interesting than normal folks.” Diamond in the Rough is by far my favorite book by Jen Turano. I cannot wait to read the next novel in the American Heiresses series. Diamond in the Rough is an amusing historical novel that has dizzying dances, runaway rides, an eager earl, rowing relatives, slippery snails, husband hunters and a peppy Poppy.