Reviewed by Mandi
Once renowned for creating the most envied gowns in London, Madame Follette’s dressmaking shop has fallen far out of fashion. The approaching coronation of King George IV offers a chance to reclaim former glory by supplying stunning new wardrobes to the most glittering society in Regency England. In the face of long-held secrets, looming scandals, and the potential ruin of their shop, the dressmakers of Follette’s are undaunted, not even by the most unexpected complication of all: true love.
Each story in this collection revolves around Follette’s
The Duke’s Dressmaker Madeline Hunter
When the Duke of Barremore aka Rand walks into the dress shop to help his sister pick out her wardrobe (oh the horror) he is shocked by the voice he hears. It’s the voice of Selina, a woman who almost married his brother, Giles, four years previously. Giles had run up so many debts, Rand was sick of it and decided Giles had to give up something he cherished in return for Rand paying off and saving his hide yet again. Rand thought this would be a good lesson to teach him. Giles offered up Selina. Rand paid off his debts, but did not collect on the woman. Rand assumed Selina knew of all of this, but he learns she did not. Instead, the gossip and her town turned their back on her, and the daughter of a gentleman is now a seamstress.
Rand is taken with her, and starts to court her. Selina is very wary of Rand’s intentions, having worked too hard and too successful to let a man ruin her again. But as she gets to know Rand, she learns he is a good man – and a sexy one – and they have a really lovely courtship and HEA. This is the first I’ve read by this author but I’m going to go back and try some of her previous work.
Threads of Love by Myretta Robens
Delyth has a background in theater and dreams of making dresses for the elite, so she finds herself working in Follette’s. She uses very vibrant and rich colors, which gets her some criticism in the local paper. Simon writes a fashion column under a pseudonym and when he sees a brightly colored dress on a friend, made by Delyth, he fears her motives are based in malice. He makes it his goal to find out Delyth’s true meaning behind these unique and sometimes scandalous dresses.
I didn’t enjoy this on so much – I had a hard time feeling the chemistry between Simon and Delyth. I enjoyed Delyth overall – I like that she has a theater background and that she follows her passion with exploring with color. It truly brings her joy. But the romance felt a bit off to me.
No Accounting for Love by Megan Frampton
This story was soooo cute. Henry is the bookkeeper for Follette’s dress shop and also the brother of the woman who runs it. He is a huge, awkward, shy guy (this is my candy) and much desires to be alone than in the shop with women (not women!!). He even talks to himself all night long because he is so alone (omg he needs me). When a woman by the name of Effie comes in, he knows trouble is brewing. Three years ago, Effie tried to woo Henry, and he got out of it. But now she is back and has her eyes set on him. Her companion is a woman named Katherine, who is the daughter of viscount, but super poor. She is hired by Effie’s family to be her companion during her season out, and to keep her in line. This is how Katherine and Henry meet.
Katherine is smitten with Henry the moment she lays eyes on him. Her reaction to him is one she has never had before. They make eye contact. He talks in a low, growly voice to her. They are just so adorable and romantic together. Effie is immature and spoiled and can find her own man. Make way for Katherine and Henry! Such a sweet, adorable novella. It made me smile the entire time.
A Fashionable Affair by Caroline Linden
The final story in this anthology features Felicity, the heroine who manages the dress shop. She had to fight her stubborn mother, who has poured her soul into this shop, to change with the trends and has been successful. Felicity and her brother Henry (see above) are finally seeing income from their shop again – but then another problem presents itself. The Earl of Carmarthen has decided that Vine street, the street that her store is located on, is falling apart and needs to be spruced up. He has started buying up property – all but Felicity’s. Her mother held out – and now Carmarthen wants her building, badly. He offers her a very fair price and he agrees to act as a real estate agent to find her a suitable replacement building. But he starts to realize that Felicity takes her business seriously and has some serious demands.
I think this would have been a fabulous full length book – but in this shortened form, I needed a little more time to really feel out their personalities, especially Carmarthen. But, I liked how he would stand back and observe Felicity which allowed him to realize she is much more than just a building to be bought.