Friday, June 13, 2014

Book Review: "The Hatmaker's Heart" by Carla Stewart

The Hatmaker's Heart Carla Stewart
Published: June 3, 2014
ISBN: 9781455549948
Genre: Historical Fiction
Source: LitFuse Publicity Group
Recommended (reservedly) for readers interested in the Jazz Age, but looking for a "clean" book

Summary:
For Nell Marchwold, bliss is seeing the transformation when someone gets a glimpse in the mirror while wearing one of her creations and feels beautiful. Nell has always strived to create hats that bring out a woman's best qualities. She knows she's fortunate to have landed a job as an apprentice designer at the prominent Oscar Fields Millinery in New York City. Yet when Nell's fresh designs begin to catch on, her boss holds her back from the limelight, claiming the stutter she's had since childhood reflects poorly on her and his salon.

But it seems Nell's gift won't be hidden by Oscar's efforts. Soon an up-and-coming fashion designer is seeking her out as a partner of his 1922 collection. The publicity leads to an opportunity for Nell to make hats in London for a royal wedding. There, she sees her childhood friend, Quentin, and an unexpected spark kindles between them. But thanks to her success, Oscar is determined to keep her. As her heart tugs in two directions, Nell must decide what she is willing to sacrifice for her dream, and what her dream truly is.

My Thoughts:
I was excited when this title came across my radar--I've been on a bit of a Jazz Age kick and I thought a "Christian" book set during that period would be interesting.

First off, I have to say that the Christian aspect of this book is quite muted--to the point that I'm not sure I would have considered it "Christian Fiction" if it hadn't been marketed as such.  It's still a pretty pure book, but the religious aspect rarely shows up.  This could be a plus or a minus, depending on the reader (personally, it didn't matter to me).  If you are looking for a "Christian" novel, you might be disappointed in this.  However, if you aren't looking for something so, well, evangelical, this might be an easier book to swallow.

Now, back to my thoughts.  I have to be honest.  I found this book to be a bit on the dull side.  I think that Stewart had a good idea--I liked the idea of a young woman pursuing a career in a period where that still was not common.  I felt that the dynamic between Nell and her boss--at first.  It seemed like once Stewart set up the situation, she didn't really do anything with it, even though she had ample time and opportunity.

It may also be because I've been reading quite a bit of fiction set in this time period lately, but it seemed to me that this book lacked that 1920's feel.  I wish Stewart had brought more of that into the book to support the story.

Of course, this book wasn't all bad.  Stewart has a pleasant, clear voice and the book is very readable and I did find Nell to be an appealing heroine..  I do think that a reader who isn't going into this book expecting a lush jazz age setting will enjoy this book more than I did.

 I received a copy of this book to read in return for an honest review.  I received no other compensation for this post.



The Hatmaker's Heart
by Carla Stewart
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