Finding Margo by Jen Turano (review)

findingmargo_turano_gileadHaving only read Jen Turano’s historical fiction, I was interested to see what she would do with a contemporary story.  A contemporary story with a “pop princess” and Amish characters, no less.  

Now, if you’ve read some of my past reviews of Amish Fiction, you might have noticed that the thing that really hooks me in with one of these books is having characters or situations that I don’t expect to find in the sub-genre.  Though I was a bit skeptical about a pop star being the main character, I was happily surprised to find that I started to like Margo Hartman.

“How about you tell me a little more…and we’ll go from there, Miss…?”

For the span of a several seconds, the woman didn’t say anything, but then she smiled a smile that seemed a little too bright, and nodded, just once.  “I’m Marge.  Marge…um…Simpson.”

Brock wasn’t certain, but he thought her smile faded ever so slightly before she hitched it back into place and took a rather absorbed interest in the ceiling.

“Like the cartoon character?” (p.29)

Jen Turano excels in putting her characters through the comical wringer, and this book is no exception.  Soon after running away from her mother and her agent, both having overstepped their bounds one too many times, Margo finds herself stranded in Millersburg, Ohio.  Mix in a duck, a handsome FBI agent temporarily acting as a Sheriff’s Deputy, a community with secrets, an Amish women turned Mennonite who decides to meddle, the 20 year old disappearance of three Amish children, and a very present threat to Margo’s life and Turano has delivered something delightful and unexpected with a touch of suspense.

“Do you think the driver of the truck saw you?”

Marge tilted her head.  “I would have to say yes, because he honked at me, and that’s when I turned the wheel of my car and ended up in the lake.”

“You’re sure it was a he?”

“Since it was a really big truck, and it was clearly a maniac driving it, I’m going to say I’m almost positive it was a guy.”  (p.46)

While none of the individual elements of the story are new (well, maybe this particular duck and her introduction), this particular combination of them with the author’s signature humor had me amused, entertained, and anxious to follow the story arcs of the threats to Margo’s life and Brock’s investigation into his sister’s supposed suicide to the very end.

It no longer mattered…that she was some famous woman who lived a life most people envied.  It only mattered that some of the wrongs that had affected innocent people were soon to be righted.

It also mattered that she was finally recovering the faith she’d fallen from, realizing that God had simply waited for her to return and that he was more than willing to welcome her back with open and loving arms. (p.243)

The ending left me satisfied but anxious to continue what I was happy to find is to be a trilogy.  Unfortunately, the second book (with just enough of a teaser chapter to hook you into it) has not yet been published though the end papers state that it was scheduled for “Fall 2017.”  Definitely a book that I will be keeping my eye out for.

Highly recommended if you enjoy clean romance with a faith element, a bit of danger and mystery, and a good dose of humor as well as tall, attractive heroes and sassy, strong heroines who somewhat graciously deal with whatever the author throws at them.  Being a fan of Amish Fiction is not required, though those who are will most likely love this feel good, pop princess in peril combination as well.

Finding Margo (Finding Home, #1) by Jen Turano | Gilead Publishing, Nov 2016 | paperback or ebook, 298 pages

This review refers to the paperback edition borrowed off the shelf at my local library.  I previously received an e-galley for review purposes through NetGalley, courtesy of the publisher.  All opinions expressed are my own.

From the Publisher:

Off the charts and on the run.

International pop star Margo Hartman could use a night off. A grueling tour and overbearing entourage have sent her over the edge. It’s time for this diva to disappear. And who would think to look for the superstar in a small town in Ohio?

Sheriff’s deputy Brock Moore is undercover as well. He knows Margo isn’t who she appears to be, but her uncanny resemblance to a local Amish woman is raising all sorts of questions. . .the kinds that make her a target for a killer.

Both are determined to find answers, but their mutual attraction stands in the way of either of them doing it alone. Is finding Margo the solution to Brock’s problems or just the beginning…?


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