This book was an absolute delight. From the very beginning, I was captivated by Harlow Cadssidy and her dressmaker’s shop; transported to small town Bliss, Texas, into a family of strong, talented, charmed, and close-knit women. Bliss, indeed.
Pleating for Mercy is narrated by Harlow Cassidy, a designer recently returned home after living and working in New York. She comes home to Bliss after the death of her great grandmother. She moves into her home, which her great grandmother had deeded to Harlow at her birth, and sets up her business, Buttons and Bows, and quickly finds herself outfitting the bride and bridal party for a wedding only two weeks away. As if that weren’t daunting enough, Harlow’s studio becomes the scene of a crime when a dead maid of honor is found in her front yard. Suspicions run amok and land on the groom, Nate Kincaid. Soon the bride-to-be begs Harlow to help clear her fiance’s name and Harlow finds herself juggling more than fitting and final touches.
I have a soft spot for Texas and for stories featuring multiple generations of women, having been raised in a family of strong women and living for many years in a home with both my mother and my grandmother. The extent of my sewing skills include replacing a button and mediocre hemming, but I am a fan of Project Runway and really enjoy the design details Melissa Bourbon writes for Harlow.
The story, the setting, the atmosphere, and the characters are impressively engaging, coming together – almost as if touched by magic – to create one of the best books I’ve read this year. I have high hopes for the next books in Melissa Bourbon’s Magical Dressmaking mystery series. (And I can’t wait to see how things unfold between Harlow and the handsome Will Flores!)