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.
Bubby: I must admit that books featuring a strong heroine with a mind of her own, who bucks social convention and follows her own dreams speak to something deep in my soul. I can’t really pretend that I am nearly as brave as Miss Harriet Peabody, but I do have a mind of my own, that’s for certain! Harriet is all alone in a time that discounted women unless they were attached to a brother, husband or father or had roots in a socially prominent family. And even worse, Harriet’s only relative is a scheming, conniving criminal of a woman who has no love whatsoever for the girl she claims is her niece. Poor Harriet, you might say. But no! She has plans! Vision! This girl is really going somewhere! And then along comes trouble, in the handsome and wealthy form of Mr. Oliver Addleshaw.
Sissy: In true Jen Turano fashion, our heroine and her seemingly oblivious business partner cum “fiancé” get into one scrape after another and the catastrophes are endless. I got a bit tired of the madcappery at one point, thinking to myself, “Can two people really make this many blunders in such a short space of time?” but all the adventure sends you headlong into a completely satisfying and surprising conclusion, so I was mollified.
Bubby: I relish madcappery. Bring me more! It’s like a roller coaster that keeps twisting and turning up and down (without the nausea and fear of imminent death when the cart falls off the rails). The ending was truly a revelation that I hadn’t seen coming – one of those moments that has you saying, “Wait, what? No. No way. Oh, my heavenly stars and garters!”
Sissy: Wow, Bubby. Nobody talks like that unless they have watched too many period dramas on the BBC and they need to get back in touch with the 21st century! Plus, you hate roller coasters, You’re a total roller coaster wimp, so I reject your entire previous paragraph.
Bubby: First off, yes, I do hate roller coaster but the analogy was appropriate. And if you’d like, I’d be happy to give you the long and spangled history of the above saying – it all has to do with British officers back in the day – and anyway, Grandma used to say it ALL the time so that makes it awesome.
Sissy: Ok. Whatever. You and your support hose can say whatever you want to. After A Fashion by Jen Turano is a lively and engaging read with the happiest of endings. I highly recommend it!
Bubby: Me too!
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We were given a copy of this title by Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.
Copyright 2015 Bubble Bath Books