Harriet Peabody is a very beautiful and fashionable young lady working in a millinery shop in New York City in 1892. She is also a very talented fashion designer, taking donated high society dresses from the church and turning them into affordable party dresses for working class ladies. She dreams of owning her own shop someday where she can cater to the fashion needs of the average women in her community who need a fashionable dress for a reasonable price.
Due to a rather unusual event one day at work, Harriet finds herself suddenly without a job at the millinery shop. Mr. Oliver Aldershaw is a somewhat self-centered gentleman whose main focus in life is making money in his many business deals. When he learns that one potential client prefers to make deals with married gentlemen, he decides to enlist the help of Harriet Peabody, the young lady he inadvertently helped to lose her job. He wants her to pretend to play the part of his fiance when he tries to make a business deal with a person of English royalty. He is willing to pay Harriet handsomely for her role in this upcoming event with his most influential client yet. Oliver finds Harriet very feisty and fashionable and feels very comfortable with this business arrangement with her. She realizes that her feelings toward Oliver are growing more favorably as the weeks pass by. His staff is busy teaching Harriet table manners while Harriet is busy teaching Oliver how to be a more humble and caring person. He is busy buying her beautiful dresses to wear while she is busy telling him about her dreams for community involvement. She is also showing him how to truly care for people in her interactions with other people. However, events from Harriet’s past resurface and complicate the business arrangement between them.
After a Fashion is a rags to riches Cinderella styled story. The book is a quick and enjoyable read, if not exactly a new premise. There were enough characters and situations to keep the story moving along quickly. However, more character development with Oliver might have helped the story evolve in a clearer fashion.
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