Every now and again, I need to read a book that is light, humor-filled, and compelling. Jen Turano writes such novels and does it with aplomb. After a Fashion is a rollicking, entertaining read, and was just what the doctor ordered for me at the time. I love her books, her heroines know what they want and how to get it. Her heroes are the proverbial knights in shining armor riding in on a white steed to save the day. At the end of the book, Jen gives a slight hint about the next book in the series. =)
Harriet Peabody works for a hatmaker, Mrs Fienman, who caters to the rich and hides her workers so that they do not outshine her customers. On one fateful day, Mrs Fienman dispatches Harriet to the home of Mr Addleshaw to deliver a carriage load of hats to a Miss Birmingham--purported to be Mr Addleshaw's fiancee. Miss Birmingham is a young woman of volatile and incendiary temper. When Mr Addleshaw's dog, Buford (of questioned parentage and breed) approaches Miss Birmingham, she (in today's parlance) freaks out and in the ensuing melee, attacks Harriet. By the time the whole episode is done, Harriet is without a job, and Mr Addleshaw is stuck with the bill for the plethora of hats Miss Birmingham ordered (sounds like a nice racket to me).
Now Mr Addleshaw is in need of a comely, young woman to squire around while he entertains the Duke of Westmoore in his pursuit of a business deal with the Duke. He offers Harriet a sum of $3000 plus expenses to be his companion, and Harriet, being jobless, feels obligated to take his offer. Harriet is hiding something from Mr Addleshaw--the fact that she was raised by a con-artist, Aunt Jane, who wants Harriet to join in the "family" business and get Jane introduced into society so that Jane has a new group of people to fleece.
Jen's writing style reminds me of Lorna Seilstad's writings. Her characters are fun ladies with a penchant for trouble and men who love trouble with a capital T. Her plot develops with a predictable unpredictability, and the twists she includes keep the reader guessing for a good, long while--until the denouement.
This is definitely a Five Star, Two Thumbs Up, and a new hat for your wardrobe!
My Thanks to Bethany House for allowing me to read and review this book.