on September 12th 2016
This is a collection of four novellas tied together by characters connection to a dressmaker’s shop. Madame Follette’s dressmaking shop has been declining for years due to changing fashions and the stubbornness of its owner. Her children convince her to turn over operations to her daughter who struggles to revitalize the business in the shadow of the king’s coronation.
THE DUKE’S DRESSMAKER by Madeline Hunter: Selina Fontaine is working at Madame Follette’s when Randall, Duke of Barrowmore comes back into her life. Four years ago, Randall’s brother seduced and left her at Randall’s urging. Selina knows that the Duke disapproves of her. She now fears that he will expose her true identity and ruin her again. By the description of this story, I expected more drama and angst. Things are neatly explained in this story which was sweeter than I expected. These two quickly manage to find out the truth about the past. I liked the characters which is important in a short novella. Rating: 4 stars.
THREADS OF LOVE by Myretta Robens: Delyth Owen is a new dressmaker in the shop. She loves vibrant and sometimes unfortunate color choices. Simon Merrithew is the author of a fashion column. He comes to ruin Delyth after she creates a too colorful dress for a friend that Simon believes was intentional. When he meets her, however, Simon realizes that the bright colors are just a reflection of the joyful woman Delyth is. This story was good, but I really didn’t feel drawn to Delyth at all. She remained too insubstantial for me to root for her. I did enjoy the story and having a man interested in fashion was a novel experience. Rating: 3 stars.
NO ACCOUNTING FOR LOVE by Megan Frampton: This is the story of the son of Madame Follette, Mr. Henry Dawkins. Henry is the bookkeeper for the shop. When Miss Katherine Grant walks into the shop, Henry can’t keep his eyes from her. Katherine is a lady’s companion. Unfortunately, her charge is drawn to the inappropriate Mr. Dawkins. Henry is big and gentle and a bit shy and he desperately wants Katherine even if they are a social mismatch. I really loved Henry’s character. On this one, the story didn’t work as well for me, but I liked the characters. Henry is definitely not your alpha male, but he is adorable. Rating: 3.5 stars.
A FASHIONABLE AFFAIR by Caroline Linden: This is the story of Miss Felicity Dawkins, daughter of the owner. Felicity is struggling to reinvent the shop and return it to prominence. Evan Hewes, Earl of Carmarthen, wants to buy the shop to tear it down as part of his revitalization of the street. This story could have been fascinating as a full novel. In its shortened form, the personalities of the characters were not as well developed. I liked the story, but it seemed like there was much more to find out. Rating: 3.5 stars.
What would have made this collection amazing would have been an epilogue. All these characters contracted such difficult marriage pairings that I would like to know what happened a year later.