Friday, April 15, 2011

A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer

What’s not to love about a cover like that? You get a sense this is a romance, that the hero will misunderstand the heroine, that the tone of the story is a little fun and quirky, and the hero is oblivious. And that the fun centers on fashion and clothes. Or does it?

Let’s begin with the back cover copy:

When a dressmaker who values beauty tangles with a liveryman who condemns vanity, the sparks begin to fly!

Jericho "J.T." Tucker wants nothing to do with Coventry, Texas's new dressmaker. He's all too familiar with her kind--shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothing, this seamstress is not at all what he expected.

Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?

When Hannah decides to help Jericho's sister catch a beau--leading to uproarious consequences for the whole town--will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?

And now, my review:

The hero and heroine of this romance are on very different pages and both will discover their understanding needs to be tested. Our hero’s mother preferred to focus on her outward appearance, loved fashion and herself, and abandoned her family. J.T. now shuns fashion and frill.

Our heroine is a hard-working, God-fearing, delightful dress-maker who longs to make good on her newly inherited dress shop.

I like Karen’s writing style. Because of her psych degrees, you get more deeper fiction when you read her work. She delves deeply into spiritual areas and psychological/social issues as well. The Warren character is a study in inadequacy. But you also watch the main characters face their issues as well while their beliefs about life are tested.

The originality of this story stuck out to me. Her heroine’s understanding of getting fit and staying fit is an unusual element of a historical novel. I don’t recall reading of a heroine doing morning exercise routines and of helping her friend get fit too in a historical before. Great idea.

I will say that while the hero is a very strong, well-drawn character, and I loved that getting him to smile was a goal of the heroine, he didn’t always use words (or think words) which fit his characterization. These were rare events, but led to a touch of dissatisfaction here and there.

Overall, though, this is a very satisfying read.

One final note: the author has posted the original (deleted) epilogue on her site. It’s a great extra which isn’t in the printed novel.

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