Sunday, February 22, 2015

Book Review After A Fashion

After a Fashion by Jen Turano


After a Fashion  -     By: Jen Turano

So I received my influencer copy of this book yesterday, and let me tell you it was all I could do to get my chores done so I could dive into this much anticipated book from my favorite author, Jen Turano. I started at 5:00pm last night and read all 346 pages until 2:30am this morning! I woke up with book reader's hangover (that’s a thing right?)!

It’s New York City, 1882 and Miss Harriet Peabody is a talented hat maker – a milliner, working for Mrs. Fienman. Ok, let me just stop right here and say, I have a great Aunt Harriet (Hattie) who was a milliner, amongst other things (born in 1895). How cool is that?! So, Harriet lifts up a special birthday prayer each year. This year she simply prays for ‘something wonderful’. Faith is woven throughout this book, but I would not be opposed to even more of it 

My great Aunt Harriet. Notice the hat!

As usual, right out of the gate, Jen has me laughing out loud. “Mrs. Fienman’s jowls began to quiver, she turned an interesting shade of purple, and then to Harriet’s amazement, the lady gave a loud hoot of laughter. Mrs. Fienman chortled for a full minute before she finally gave a last hiccup of amusement and motioned Harriet back to the chair. How amusing to learn you find me capable of ‘shady’ dealings, Miss Peabody, but I assure you, nothing could be further from the truth.”

Mrs. Fienman sends Harriet on a very sensitive hat delivery for a wealthy bride-to-be at the home of Oliver Addleshaw. Oliver is one of the wealthiest men in New York, whose family belongs to “the 400” – the most fashionable socialites of the day.

After an extremely amusing and chaotic scene with the would-be-bride, her mother, Mr. Addleshaw and a

Irish Wolfhound
crazy dog named Buford (who, in my mind, looks like an Irish Wolfhound), Harriet is offered a most unusual employment opportunity from Mr. Addleshaw that will change her life and her circumstances. But, Harriet is a hard-sell, and does not take keenly to the idea of what sounds like a ridiculous scheme. Oh, my, but I just love the banter between Harriet and Oliver!

Additionally, Harriet has two roommates. Millie, who is sweet, curious and hungry to learn things, but keeps losing jobs from the local employment agency due to “mishaps”, and Lucetta Plum, a well-known stage actress who is kind, strong and self-assured; a bit of a free spirit. I loved how these girls were all supporting of each other. There was nothing unlikable about any of them. I’ve seen other books where a character starts out unlikable, and then goes on to become a main character in a follow-up book and we are suddenly supposed to like them because their character has dramatically changed.

Everett is Oliver’s oldest and closet friend and confidant. However, he has his hands full with ‘the brats’ he inherited and a Miss Dixon he is trying to court. Everett is a kind and likeable fellow, while Miss Dixon is rude and arrogant, and quite unpleasant toward Harriet. He does, however, find Oliver’s scheme outlandish and feels socializing with a ‘hat girl’ is far too progressive for their social circle.

Of course there are a couple of villains. Aunt Jane is maniacal, twisted woman who appears in and out of Harriet’s life when it suits her. Silas Ruff is a disgusting, underhanded business partner of Oliver’s. I won’t say any more on them so I don’t give anything away.

Reverend Gilmore is Harriet’s friend and self-appointed guardian who tries to watch out for her. When things get concerning, he seeks out the help of a long time elderly benefactor of the church, who has been a shut-in since her husband’s death some years ago. She immediately decides to take charge of the girl’s lives, along with the help of Oliver’s grandfather. They are so charming together. I really enjoyed them.

I call this book a tornado because it is so fast paced in the very best way. There is tons of humor and strength of character in the story. I also like the cover, and back of the book. Look closely and you get a better view of Harriet’s gown and a stack of hat boxes she holding!

The ending is outstanding, because unlike so many other books I have read, it does not abruptly end. There are many finite details and the reader is allowed to savor the gradual ending. But that epilogue… with Reverend Gilmore. It tickled my funny bone and set up the next story so simply and sweetly. Just wonderful.

Well done again Jen! Well done.

5 out of 5 stars

Looking forward to Book #2 In Good Company, due out July 2015.  
Be sure to look up Jen on FB as she wonderfully approachable, and read her other books as well!

I was included in Jen Turano’s Influencer List and received this copy for no compensation. My opinion is my own.

© 2015 Bethany House
Read: 2/21/15
Reviewed: 2/22/15

Blessings and a cup of tea,
-Heather Elizabeth.


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  3. Hi: That sounds like a wonderful book. Thanks for your visit. We do live kind of close, I am in La Crescenta. If you are ever in my area, let me know. Would love to me a fellow tea lover. Have a great week. Blessings, Martha

    1. Hi Martha, that would be fun. I will have to keep that in mind. Same goes for you if you are ever heading my way! Say, have you ever been to Belladonna Gift Boutique & Tea Room in Lancaster? It's a bit of a hike for you, but obviously much more so for me. Here is her FB page. She runs a Christian tea room and it's on my "some day" list :)
      Blessings and a cup of tea,
      -Heather Elizabeth

  4. Heather Elizabeth,

    I just read your comment on my post.
    I'm too late to enter the contest, but think it's a great idea!!
    Sounds like it is going to be a lot of fun!

    I stopped by a bookstore that is going out-of-business.
    I bought one brown grocery bag full of books for $5.
    I looked through the books for a long time.
    But, I think I found some great books!

  5. I re-read your review!

    I believe I have this one on my list to review, also.
    It really does sound hilarious. I look forward to reading it.

    You do an excellent job with your reviews!
    I just posted my very first author interview.
    I was so nervous about posting it.
    I wanted everything just right, for the author.

    1. Thank you for your kind comments. Sorry I am just seeing this as I was going back looking at some old book reviews I've done :)
      I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit here!

    2. Thank you for your kind comments. Sorry I am just seeing this as I was going back looking at some old book reviews I've done :)
      I'm so glad you enjoyed your visit here!

  6. Great details. Cheers regarding supplying all of us a really valuable details. Keep up the excellent perform and keep on supplying all of us additional excellent details on occasion.Fashion Books

  7. Where has the bok been so far? Very interesting idea about the blogging journey. I'm going to try and find it on amazon.

  8. My review for the book should be posted on 4/10/15

    1. Hi Michelle,
      Congratulations on doing your first book review, and getting ready for this one! I hope you have enjoyed it. Jenn Turano is fabulous. You can follow her on FB! Take Care and have a wonderful Holy Week. ~Heather