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After a Fashion

After a Fashion is a historical fiction novel by Jen Turano.

Though her dreams are to someday open a dress shop where she can refurbish gowns for working women like herself, Harriet Peabody currently spends her days in a hat shop in New York City 1882.

Beggars can’t be choosers, though – because once a millinery errand to a high-strung customer goes terribly wrong she finds herself without even that position.

Mr. Oliver Addleshaw witnesses the event in question – in fact, he has a role. The aforementioned high-strung lady was under the belief that they were soon to be wed, when in fact all he had been hoping for was a feminine companion on one of his biggest business deals yet.

Seeing Miss Peabody’s precarious situation, he decides to offer her that position – especially as he quickly realizes her personality is far different than most simpering, wedding-obsessed ladies he’s dealt with prior.

Unable to turn down such a lucrative offer, despite its oddness, Harriet decides to go through with it, if only because the funds could potentially help her dream come to pass. Yet she realizes soon enough that having an eye for fashion does not make her fashionable amidst this set – and just when she starts to think she should give up trying to act like something she’s not at sophisticated balls and extravagant feasts, a threat from her past shows up to damage everything…

Jen Turano is swiftly becoming another one of my preferred Christian historical fiction writers!

After a Fashion is amusing, clever and fun to read. Avoiding the romantic clich├ęs that I can’t stand – such as numerous descriptions of the other party’s attractiveness – we get a refreshingly entertaining historical story.

Neither of our main characters are overly sentimental, emotional or romantically inclined. They just, quite simply, work! Their personalities bring out the best in each other and I enjoyed the generally straight forward plot that veered away from the overdramatic.

Keep in mind that I do feel that Harriet’s character was given some great backstory with a rather sad upbringing, yet it didn’t pull down the book or immerse her in self-pity at all. She’s a strong, faith-filled character that has principles. Yay!

With humor, romance and a little dose of drama and surprise, After a Fashion was a fast paced, truly pleasant diversion. I will definitely want to read the next book in this interweaved trio!

*I received a copy of After a Fashion from the Bethany House Book Reviewers program. Their generosity in no way influenced, nor sought to influence, my opinion of the novel.

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