A Tailor-Made Bride by Karen Witemeyer
Fiction-Christian/Historical, Published 2010
Read: June 2010, 348 pp.
Challenges: Summer Reading Challenge
Shelf Life: Hasn’t made it there yet – Purchased 6-2-10
Jericho “J.T.” Tucker wants nothing to do with the new dressmaker in Coventry, Texas. He’s all too familiar with her kind – shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothes, this seamstress is not at all what he expected.
Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner, while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man?
When Hannah decides to help Jericho’s sister catch a beau – leading to consequences neither could have foreseen – will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?
First off, I love the dress on the cover. However it says the town is an 1880 photo of Murdo, South Dakota, not a Texas town. Hannah was raised in the east but followed her heart and career path to San Antonio, Texas. She has sewn her way to the top of the town’s clientele and her best customer, the spunky Miss Victoria, has Hannah sew her a fancy cerise dress to be buried in. Instead of leaving all her money to her ungrateful family members, she decides to help her young seamstress. The only caveat is the building she owns is in Coventry, Texas, which I’m assuming is supposed to be somewhere in north-central Texas – this blogger lives about 100 miles northeast of Coventry and 150 years later. She mentions the Bosque River as well as the Coventry ladies traveling to Waco to get their dresses made.
I really enjoyed the back and forth between two of the main characters, Hannah and J.T. Hannah hits it off immediately with J.T.’s sister, Cordelia, but just can’t seem to understand where his surliness is coming from. J.T. thinks Hannah is a lovely girl, but why has she brought the sinful temptation of vainness to the small Texas town? Even though his words tell Hannah he does not approve of her business, he is constantly surprising her with small favors and kind gifts to help her meager shop succeed. And Hannah is not your typical girl. She has gumption, persistence, and puts her faith in God, knowing she can help make the world – or at least Coventry, Texas – a more beautiful place.
I think this is a great fresh and witty debut novel for Karen Witemeyer and I can’t wait for her next one coming out in October, A Head in the Clouds.
“Red? Have you no shame, Auntie Vic? You can’t be buried in a scarlet gown.”
“It’s cerise, Nan.” -p. 7
Courtship the Texas 1880′s way (AKA – This is how you should be doing it fellas!):
Every afternoon for the last four days, Hannah found a small token on her staircase as she made her way to her room after closing the shop. … Hannah’s foot slowed its pumping of the treadle, and a bemused tingle danced over her skin as she thought about the collection of pint-sized Mason jars decorating the crate near her bed.
Monday’s jar had held a polished stone, round and smooth. Its deep reddish hue carried a horizontal line of quartz along the top that made her think of a fine lady with diamonds at her neck. A small note was included in the jar. For the beauty of the earth.
Tuesday’s note had read For the beauty of the skies. The jar contained a perfectly formed feather, the color so blue Hannah doubted any jay would have given it up without a fight.
On Wednesday, he’s deviated from the hymn lyrics to compose a verse with a more romantic bent. For the beauty of your heart. A cottonwood leaf in that very shape sat in the glass cage, its stunning yellow color singing the glory of autumn.
And yesterday she’d found a blue hair ribbon with a note that said To match the beauty of your eyes. She’d woven the ribbon into her braided chignon this morning in hopes that Jericho would see it.