Wednesday, March 4, 2015
My Review: After a Fashion
May I comment how much I loved this book? Because I did, truly. It was a bit different from Jen's previous books, but definitely not in a negative way. I found myself laughing out loud several times (which I rarely do while reading) and just simply grinning like a loon, causing people to give me strange looks. :)
Miss Harriet Peabody dreams of the day she can open up a shop selling refashioned gowns to independent working women like herself. Unfortunately, when an errand for her millinery shop job goes sadly awry due to a difficult customer, she finds herself out of an income.
Mr. Oliver Addleshaw is on the verge of his biggest business deal yet when he learns his potential partner prefers to deal with men who are settled down and wed. When Oliver witnesses his ex not-quite-fiance cause the hapless Harriet to lose her job, he tries to make it up to her by enlisting her help in making a good impression on his business partner.
Harriet quickly finds her love of fashion can't make her fashionable. She'll never truly fit into Oliver's world, but just as she's ready to call off the fake relationship, fancy dinners, and elegant balls, a threat from her past forces both Oliver and Harriet to discover that love can come in the most surprising packages.
About the Author:
Jen Turano, author of five books, is a graduate of the University of Akron with a degree in clothing and textiles. She is a member of ACFW and lives in a suburb of Denver, Colorado. Visit her website at www.jenturano.com.
My Review: 4.5 stars
Next one, please!
This is the first book in Jen Turano’s new series, “A Class of Their Own.” I’ve loved her previous books and have been anticipating this one for months! I can very happily say that it was great! It exceeded my expectations and thoroughly captured my attention and heart.
Mrs. Turano’s books always start off with a bang and rarely slow - this one was no exception. It held my attention hostage from the first page with vivid details, fascinating characters, and several laugh-out-loud moments. It is obvious the author did her research for the era and I very much enjoyed the trip to the Gilded Age.
Jen’s writing is superb and I often found myself grinning from Harriet’s quick wit and her friend Millie’s blunders. The dialogue flows clearly, keeping the reader’s attention and neatly sharing the tale. I very much enjoyed the smooth changes from prose, to dialogue, to the characters thoughts. It was neatly done, giving a clear idea of the characters’ thoughts and opinions without feeling stiff or structured.
I found I very much enjoyed the main characters and even many of the secondary ones. Though I must confess that I didn’t love Oliver right away. He was rather the idiot Harriet labeled him, but as he grew and became more willing to look beyond himself, I began to fall in love with him. It was hard not to sigh over his treatment of Harriet and I found myself the teeniest bit envious of her. Harriet and her roommates are definitely unique characters and I loved all of them from the start: Lucetta with her quirky actress ways and habit of saying what others are thinking. Millie, trying to learn new words while also being a walking disaster when it comes to her previous positions. Harriet simply trying to do the right thing, while also taking care of those around her. While Millie and Lucetta occasionally stole the show, I can’t say I was disappointed in that. They all became like great friends to me and I cannot wait to visit them again in the next book!
I also really enjoyed the spiritual journeys of Harriet and Oliver. This book is a bit more on the serious side than any of Jen’s previous books, the spiritual side a little bolder. I loved seeing the change in both of them, as they worked through the questions and doubts and drew closer to God. Though I wouldn’t normally take it as a positive thing, I can say that this is a book I could recommend to my unbelieving friends, knowing they wouldn’t be offended. But I believe they may also be encouraged or inspired by this story, and would more readily accept it than one overtly spiritual. I think it is just the way the author weaves it throughout. It shows on almost every page, whether God is mentioned or not.
The ending was definitely sigh-worthy and I was grinning rather than mourning the end. I can honestly say I didn’t want it to end, but I knew it had to. My only negative comment is that I didn’t particularly care for the epilogue. It felt a bit forced, as though added as an after-thought meant only to entice readers to ponder the next book. I do understand why the author chose to add it, I just would have preferred to skip it. That’s simply my opinion and it truly didn’t detract from the rest of the book or even the ending much.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House Publishing for my honest opinion, which I have given. I was not required to write a positive review and have not been compensated for it in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read my review! I hope you enjoyed it!
If you're interested in looking into Jen's books, perhaps reading other opinions, here are some links to get you started.
Barnes & Noble
Oh, and if you haven't read her books before you may enjoy trying her novella (a prequel to her Ladies of Distinction series) which is currently FREE on Amazon.
Thanks again! I hope you're having a lovely day! :)