Thursday, August 18, 2011


Story Description:

New York dressmaker Lucy Scarpelli befriends socialite Rowena Langdon as she’s designing her summer wardrobe.  Grateful for Lucy’s skill in creating fashions that hide her physical injury, Rowena invites Lucy to the family mansion in Newport, Rhode Island, encouraging the unusual friendship.

One day Lucy encounters an intriguing man on the Cliff Walk, and love begins to blossom.  Yet Lucy resists, for what Newport man would want to marry an Italian dressmaker working to support her family?

Rowena faces an arranged marriage to a wealthy heir she doesn’t love, but dare a crippled girl hope for anything better?

And Lucy’s teenage sister, Sofia, falls for a man well above her social class-but is he willing to give up everything to marry a woman below his station?

As the lives of three young women-and their unlikely suitors-become entangled in a web of secrets and sacrifice, will the season end with any of them finding true happiness? 

My Review:

This novel takes place in New York City in the summer of 1895 during the Gilded Age.  Having emigrated from Italy, twenty-four-year-old Lucy Scarpelli, her fifteen-year-old sister, Sofia, their Uncle Aldo, Aunt Francesca and their mother Lea all lived in a tiny cramped apartment from which they were being evicted.  The Scarpelli women are all working in a sweatshop sewing for low wages.  Poor Lucy has the weight of the world on her shoulders for she is responsible for finding them a new place to live. 

Luckily, Lucy garners them an apartment above Madame Moreau’s Dressmaking Emporium and jobs working as seamstresses at the back of the shop.  When Rowena Langdon visits the shop one day Lucy can see that the young girl is disfigured and that her dresses hang horribly on her.  Lucy knows she can help Rowena by making alterations and cuts to the fabric to hide her disfigurement; but it’s not her place to speak out.  She decides to take a chance and alters one of the dresses unbeknownst to Madame Moreau or any of the other seamstresses.  Rowena is pleasantly surprised when she dons the dress for the first time and she and Lucy strike up a friendship that leads Lucy to her arrival in Newport.  Newport is a vacation home for the Langdon’s and a bevy of activity for the wealthy of New York.  Lucy needs assistance with the commissioning of dresses and ball gowns for Rowena, so she sends for her mother and younger sister to bring all the supplies along with their two pair of extra hands.  However, not all is as it seems to be and soon the Scarpelli women are caught up in a web of mystery and unexpected romance that goes completely against the boundaries of social class and nationality for that period.  You won’t believe where all this will take these women.

Nancy Moser has written a beautiful story of three women’s search for love, but it’s the “Unlikely Suitors” that they pine for.

“Book has been provided courtesy of Baker Publishing Group and Graf-Martin Communications, Inc.  Available at your favourite bookseller from Bethany House, a division of Baker Publishing Group.”

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