29 July 2011

Just finished reading...

Pleating for Mercy by Melissa Bourbon.*

Harlow Jane Cassidy is Butch Cassidy's great-great-great-granddaughter. According to family lore, when he was in Argentina, he dropped a coin in a fountain and wished for his descendants "to live a charmed life, the threads of good fortune, talent, and history flowing like magic from their fingertips". Harlow is pretty sure the charm skipped her, or is taking its time appearing.

Not one to sit around and bemoan her fate, Harlow began a career in clothing design, working as an assistant at a studio in New York City. When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow inherits her house, and returns to her Texas hometown, Bliss. She decides to start her own dressmaking business called Buttons and Bows on the main floor of the house.

Soon after she opens for business, one of her old school friends asks her to make her wedding dress, and also dresses for her bridesmaids. The catch is that Harlow only has two weeks to complete all four dresses. Harlow accepts the job, but before she can even get started, the maid of honor is killed.

Since the murder occurred on her front lawn, Harlow has a strong desire for the case to be solved. Plus, the main suspect is her old friend Josie, he bride-to-be, someone Harlow is certain could not have done such a thing. In her efforts to clear Josie's name, Harlow learns a great deal about herself, her family and friends, and her home town.

Harlow is a charming character, strong, smart and independent. Her journey towards discovering her "charm" is fun and interesting. Some of the Bliss townspeople seem a bit clichéd, but to be honest, this reviewer hasn't spent much time in small-town Texas. Harlow's relationships with her older relatives is enviable, and her exploits are fun and absorbing. Set aside a few hours because you'll want to read the entire book in one sitting.

*FTC Full Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher, who sent me a copy of the book for review purposes.

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