After a Fashion by Jen Turano
A TORNADO OF EXCELLENT
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
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!
© 2015 Bethany House
Blessings and a cup of tea,