Reviewer: Connie Payne
Title: Pleating for Mercy - 1st in the Magical Dressmaking Mystery series
Author: Melissa Bourbon
Release Date: August 2011
Genre/Sub-genre: Romantic/Paranormal/Cozy Mystery
Year/Setting: Present day, Bliss TX
Overall Rating: 4.25
Sexual Content Rating: None
Language (Profanity/Slang) Content Rating: None
Violent Content Rating: Negligible
Melissa's Website/Blog: misaramirez.com
The women in the Cassidy family each have a "charm" thanks to their (reputed) ancestor, Butch Cassidy. All the women that is except Harlow Jane Cassidy. She thinks the "charm" ended with her…
She has recently come home to Bliss. Her Meemaw passed away and left her house to Harlow. She didn’t want to return under these circumstances, but she’s going to make the best of it that she can. Harlow, being a clothing designer, is going to open up shop in the big, old farmhouse.
She’s surprised when Josie, an old childhood acquaintance shows up at Buttons and Bows requesting her services. That of not only designing and making the bridal gown but that of the maid of honor’s as well as the brides maids. And get this; all in less than two weeks.
You think that’s bad? Add in the murder of Nell, the maid of honor, and you have a pattern of chaos. Why you ask? Because the groom-to-be, Nate, is the most likely suspect.
Josie, who is naturally beside herself, asks Harlow for her help. And Harlow being Harlow agrees and tries to form a pattern of suspects and motives, even though she doesn’t have the time for investigating. Nor does she consider her a detective by any stretch of the imagination. But she rallies herself to do her best. After all, she has a stake in the murderer being caught, too. Did I forget to tell you that Nell was killed in Harlow’s front yard? Not very good for business.
If that weren’t enough to deal with she learns that Meemaw set her up! Will Flores made a deal with her great-grandmother. He fixes things around the house; she gives his daughter Gracie sewing lessons. Oh, Meemaw!! She’s not quite willing to admit it yet, but she feels a calming presence with Will when her anxiety over the wedding and investigation ratchets up as each new piece of evidence is revealed and secrets become known. Basting it all together is easier said than done.
With Meemaw’s help she just might be able to do it.
What can I say about this debut series? "Charm"(ing), intriguing, and satisfying; a page-turner with the right touch of potential romance and paranormal just about covers it.
The Cassidy women are all unique (it’s fun when they all get together) and have their own individual "charms". Will seems both baffled by and interested in Harlow. He has patience with her investigation and with her quirks. Though she looked forward to Gracie's sewing lessons with some trepidation, their relationship becomes very easygoing.
I’m looking forward to the next in the series…will Harlow tell Mama and Nana her secret, or will she keep it to herself a while longer? Time will tell.
Well done Ms. Bourbon! You’ve created a well-designed and delightful set of characters in a "charm"ing setting with a one-of-a-kind premise.
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