by Siri Mitchell
Bethany House Publishers
Anyone who's anybody in 1918's Boston goes to Madame Fortier's gown shop. After all, elite society must be attired correctly. Everyone knows that. Madame Fortier does not do all the work herself, of course. In addition to seamstresses, she employs three Italian immigrants, Julietta, Annamaria, and Luciana.
A marvel at embroidery, Julietta is dedicated, yet a bit on the rebellious side. No, more than a bit. She's downright reckless and defiant at times. Yes, you guessed it, she's a recipe for trouble.
Annamaria brings expert smocking skills to the shop. In contrast to Julietta, Annamaria is shy and quiet, and wouldn't think of being defiant. Her lot in life, as the oldest daughter in an Italian family, is to remain single, and to live to care for her parents and siblings.
Beadwork is Luciana's ticket to the third floor workroom. A tragic event haunts her past, and she struggles to survive while supporting her grandmother. They recently immigrated to America in hopes of escaping horrific memories. Surely in a country as large as America they can find refuge. Can't they?
Not surprisingly, their lives become intertwined not just because of their Italian heritage, but due to unsettling events in their lives and at the shop. Madame Fortier is forced to sort out some of these entanglements, while struggling to maintain her own balance.
Meanwhile, Julietta finds herself torn between two suitors, one stable and secure, and the other, well, not so much. Annamaria begins to question her position in her family, and sets a daring (or daring for her, anyway) plan into motion. Luciana just tries to keep her head above water, but finds it necessary to keep looking over her shoulder.
I enjoyed this book. At first, the point of view threw me a little, but once I got my bearings and figured out which character belonged to what family, job, and neighborhood, it was fine. Ms. Mitchell includes a helpful list of characters in the beginning, which made things easier, and was handy when I needed to check back and see who was who. Engaging characters and abundant twists and turns give this story personality. I look forward to new releases by this talented author.
I received this copy from Bethany House for review purposes only. No compensation was received.