November 17, 2020

To Steal a Heart - Part 1

Jen Turano

My latest series, “The Bleecker Street Inquiry Agency” will start off with book number one, “To Steal a Heart,” coming out November 17th. It’s the story of Miss Gabriella Goodhue and Mr. Nicholas Quinn, who were once the best of friends when they lived on the mean streets of the Lower East Side, but through circumstances beyond their control, became parted from each other and are reunited under the most unusual of situations. 


I’d been thinking about doing a series set around women who run an inquiry agency, and after visiting New York City on a research trip, and then roaming around Bleecker Street for hours, I decided that location would be perfect for what I had in mind. I then had to decide why these ladies would run an inquiry agency because, clearly, that was not something ladies did during the Gilded Age. As I tossed around one idea after another, I thought it would be amusing if the inquiry agency came about by chance. That led me to the storyline I ended up using – that the inquiry agency formed when a resident of the Holbrooke boardinghouse was unjustly accused of theft and the police would not investigate further, believing they had the true culprit behind bars. That left the other residents of the boardinghouse with no option but to step in and try to clear this young lady’s name on their own.


Each resident needed some type of skill that would benefit an inquiry agency, and Gabriella Goodhue was the one who had the most skills out of any of the boardinghouse residents. Because she’d lived on the streets, and had lived under the guidance of Humphrey Rookwood, one of the most notorious criminals in Five Points, she was well equipped to steal into houses, break into safes, and react well under the pressure of the most daunting investigations. I then included a reclusive author, Miss Daphne Beekman, who has a talent for plotting out crimes because she writes mystery novels, and a scary owner of the boardinghouse, Eunice Holbrooke, who only wears full widow weeds and has more than enough secrets of her own, none of which she’s willing to disclose to any of the residents living under her roof. Mixed in with these main characters are the other residents, all of whom have normal jobs such as paid companion positions, sales clerks at Tiffany’s, assistants at churches, and even a resident artist who has begun dabbling in portrait work, but she’s not very good at it. With an eccentric cast of characters like this, I’m hoping readers will find the series somewhat amusing.


After I got the female characters down, I then had to decide who the hero was going to be for this first story. Because Gabriella is almost like an Oliver Twist character, I thought it would be interesting to reunite her with someone from her past, someone she believes abandoned her all those years ago, and Nicholas Quinn was born. He’s an interesting character, and in all honesty, he was a bit inspired by “My Fair Lady,” although it really would be more accurate if that was “My Fair Gentleman.” You’ll have to read the book to find out why I was inspired by that movie.

After deciding who my main characters were, I then had to . . .( see part 2 for continuation of what Jen had to do)


Named One of the Funniest Voices in Inspirational Romance by Booklist, Jen Turano is a USA Today Best-Selling Author, known for penning quirky historical romances set in the Gilded Age. Her books have earned Publisher Weekly and Booklist starred reviews, top picks from Romantic Times, and praise from Library Journal. She’s been a finalist twice for the RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards and had two of her books listed in the top 100 romances of the past decade from Booklist.  When she’s not writing, she spends her time outside of Denver, CO. 

Readers may find her at - , or on Twitter at JenTurano@JenTurano. 


  1. Truly thanking you for this post. Can't wait to read this book Jen and part 2 of your post. It is so much fun reading stories set in the guilded ages. Love how you develop your characters.

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