To Write A Wrong – Jen Turano + Speak Easy, Speak Love – McKelle George | a few thoughts on two recent reads

Miss Daphne Beekman is a mystery writer by day, inquiry agent by night. Known for her ability to puzzle out plots, she prefers working behind the scenes for the Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency, staying well away from danger. However, Daphne soon finds herself in the thick of an attempted murder case she’s determined to solve.

Mr. Herman Henderson is also a mystery writer, but unlike the dashing heroes he pens, he lives a quiet life, determined to avoid the fate of his adventurous parents, who perished on an expedition when he was a child. But when he experiences numerous attempts on his life, he seeks out the services of the eccentric Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency to uncover the culprit. All too soon, Herman finds himself stepping out of the safe haven of his world and into an adventure he never imagined.

As the list of suspects grows and sinister plots are directed Daphne’s way as well, Herman and Daphne must determine who they can trust and if they can risk the greatest adventure of all: love.

Published 2021 | Add on: Goodreads or TheStoryGraph | 5 stars

I have been a Jen Turano fan for years – ever since I first picked up one of her books – and I am quite impressed by the fact that, although I certainly like some of her books more than others, I have yet to be truly disappointed by any of them.

As far as characters go: I wasn’t a huge Daphne fan in To Steal A Heart, but I quickly learned to appreciate her in To Write A Wrong; she is wonderfully quirky and lovely, and now that her swooning has decreased greatly I am no longer irritated by her. Herman is a sweet man, enjoyable to read about but almost boring.

The side-characters were pretty strong, perhaps not my favorites of Turano’s, but hilarious none the less. Eunice is especially fascinating. (I cannot wait to read her story!!)

I really appreciated the focus on female writers and the challenges that they have historically faced. I also felt that Turano dealt with the issue of sexual assault in a pretty tactful way – but I could have done without it.

Overall, this is a must-read for Turano fans, but not one I would necessarily recommend to someone who has not read any of her work before.

Six teenagers’ lives intertwine during one thrilling summer full of romantic misunderstandings and dangerous deals in this sparkling retelling of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing.

After she gets kicked out of boarding school, seventeen-year-old Beatrice goes to her uncle’s estate on Long Island. But Hey Nonny Nonny is more than just a rundown old mansion. Beatrice’s cousin, Hero, runs a struggling speakeasy out of the basement—one that might not survive the summer. Along with Prince, a poor young man determined to prove his worth; his brother John, a dark and dangerous agent of the local mob; Benedick, a handsome trust-fund kid trying to become a writer; and Maggie, a beautiful and talented singer; Beatrice and Hero throw all their efforts into planning a massive party to save the speakeasy. Despite all their worries, the summer is beautiful, love is in the air, and Beatrice and Benedick are caught up in a romantic battle of wits that their friends might be quietly orchestrating in the background.

Published: September 2019 | Add on: Goodreads or TheStoryGraph

I had high expectations for this book – very high expectations, actually – and it simply could not live up to them.

That said: this story was interesting, with a wonderful cast of quirky and colorful characters. The plot was lively, fast-paced and enjoyable. It simply lacked the spark that I had hoped for, somehow falling slightly flat.

The re-telling piece was lovely, not overpowering or underwhelming. Beatrice and Benedict were satisfying and definitely reminded me of Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh’ s versions of the characters.

The cover is superb: beautiful and unique – honestly it was half the reason I picked Speak Easy, Speak Love up. 🙂

CW: Large quantities of underage drinking

How do you feel about re-tellings? Have you watched Much Ado About Nothing?

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