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Pleating for Mercy

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When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But when she opens a dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow senses an inexplicable "presence". Her old friend Josie orders a gown for her upcoming wedding, but when Josie's boss turns up dead, Ha When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But when she opens a dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow senses an inexplicable "presence". Her old friend Josie orders a gown for her upcoming wedding, but when Josie's boss turns up dead, Harlow has to find the killer-with a little help from beyond.


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When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But when she opens a dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow senses an inexplicable "presence". Her old friend Josie orders a gown for her upcoming wedding, but when Josie's boss turns up dead, Ha When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But when she opens a dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow senses an inexplicable "presence". Her old friend Josie orders a gown for her upcoming wedding, but when Josie's boss turns up dead, Harlow has to find the killer-with a little help from beyond.

30 review for Pleating for Mercy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Brooke

    Great start to new series I really enjoyed this book. It was charming without being cutesy. The characters we likeable. The mystery wasn't an obvious one, the culprit was a surprise. It had a slight supernatural bent, but it didn't overwhelm the story. I can't wait to read the next installment.

  2. 5 out of 5

    LORI (Dollycas) CASWELL

    A decedent of the infamous Butch Cassidy, Harlow Jane Cassidy and all the other Cassidy women through time possess special "gifts". Harlow is still unsure what her gift actually is when she returns home to Texas from Manhattan. Her great grandmother has passed away and left her farmhouse to Harlow. Harlow worked as a fashioner designer in New York so she decides to open a custom dressmaking boutique on the main level of her new home. One of her first customers is her childhood friend Josie, who i A decedent of the infamous Butch Cassidy, Harlow Jane Cassidy and all the other Cassidy women through time possess special "gifts". Harlow is still unsure what her gift actually is when she returns home to Texas from Manhattan. Her great grandmother has passed away and left her farmhouse to Harlow. Harlow worked as a fashioner designer in New York so she decides to open a custom dressmaking boutique on the main level of her new home. One of her first customers is her childhood friend Josie, who is getting married in just two weeks. The store where she had ordered her bridal gown and bridesmaids dresses has gone out of business and she needs Harlow to save the day and create all the dresses as fast as she can. Calamity strikes when the maid of honor is found dead outside of Harlow's shoppe. The bride looks like the prime suspect and she now needs more than a few dresses. She needs her help to find out who killed her friend. It turns out Harlow may be able to do this especially with a little bit of unusual help, a little help from the great beyond. This story really tugged at my heartstrings. I too come from a long line of dressmakers, seamstresses, and people who love to sew. My grandmother was known for her beautiful work, making men's suits and wedding dresses along with every other garment thinkable. My mother made all my clothes until I started making my own and until my accident I created not only clothes for my family but quilts as well. While we may not have possessed any magical powers we found so much joy in what we were able to create. Harlow's gift with fabric is extraordinary, but it is her late great-grandmother that steals the story and will keep you in stitches as she makes her opinions "heard". The other characters are varied and well written. A little bit of romance, loaded with humor and a wonderful mystery made this book a delightful read. You can also feel the author's love and talent of sewing jump of the pages. She definitely has a passion that shines through. This was a fun read and would be enjoyed by all but especially those that love to sew. It would also make a fabulous gift for anyone who sews. If future books follow this pattern some wonderfully constructed mysteries are in our future!! Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from Obsidian. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kimberly Reads Books

    As a disclaimer, I’ve always disliked mystery books that included anything magical or paranormal in the story line. I just always felt like it wasn’t my thing. However, as I’ve gotten older I think I’ve relaxed a little and have found that I do enjoy a little magic in my books. It can be quite a bit of fun. After saying that, this was such a fun start to a series! The main characters are well developed and feel so down to earth and friendly that they seemed like they could be my own neighbors. Th As a disclaimer, I’ve always disliked mystery books that included anything magical or paranormal in the story line. I just always felt like it wasn’t my thing. However, as I’ve gotten older I think I’ve relaxed a little and have found that I do enjoy a little magic in my books. It can be quite a bit of fun. After saying that, this was such a fun start to a series! The main characters are well developed and feel so down to earth and friendly that they seemed like they could be my own neighbors. There were quite a few characters to keep up with, which is why I gave this book a 4-star. At the first of the book, the reader is somewhat just thrown into the action without much being established, so it gives for an awkward beginning. The small town setting of Bliss, Texas was a charming place for the story to take place.As far as the mystery goes, I did NOT guess the killer until the end when it was revealed which is always a plus when it comes to any crime novel. Overall, I was greatly surprised by how much I liked this mystery. It wasn’t a perfect read for me, but I ended up wanting to read more from this author.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Exciting and different! Harlow Jean Cassidy has been living in New York for about ten years when her Great Grandmother Loretta Mae dies and leaves Harlow her home in Bliss, Texas. Harlow grew up in Bliss and left as soon as she could. Now she is back and she is running a dress shop out of her new house! An old school friend stops by and asks her to make the wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses for her upcoming wedding in two weeks! Everything was going great until the Maid of Honor was found dead Exciting and different! Harlow Jean Cassidy has been living in New York for about ten years when her Great Grandmother Loretta Mae dies and leaves Harlow her home in Bliss, Texas. Harlow grew up in Bliss and left as soon as she could. Now she is back and she is running a dress shop out of her new house! An old school friend stops by and asks her to make the wedding gown and bridesmaids dresses for her upcoming wedding in two weeks! Everything was going great until the Maid of Honor was found dead in Harlow's backyard! The story kept me guessing who dun it until the very last Chapter. It was a very good book and I will be recommending it to family and friends. The mystery is very well written and keeps you interested right up to the final chapter! When the murderer is finally told! I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to all my friends and family!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Tari

    Harlow Cassidy was not only descended from outlaw Butch Cassidy, but her family legend said he had placed a charm on all future generations of Cassidy women. Her mom, grandmother and great-grandmother each had a personal charm that they knew about. Nana was a goat whisperer, something she wasn't exactly proud of, but Harlow had no idea what hers was, until she came back home to Bliss, Texas. A girl she knew from grade school was getting married and had to have her gown and her bridesmaid's gowns Harlow Cassidy was not only descended from outlaw Butch Cassidy, but her family legend said he had placed a charm on all future generations of Cassidy women. Her mom, grandmother and great-grandmother each had a personal charm that they knew about. Nana was a goat whisperer, something she wasn't exactly proud of, but Harlow had no idea what hers was, until she came back home to Bliss, Texas. A girl she knew from grade school was getting married and had to have her gown and her bridesmaid's gowns in less than two weeks, because the shop she'd originally dealt with suddenly went out of business. When the maid of honor was found strangled outside Harlow's shop, her friend Josie was a person of interest as well as Josie's fiance, Nate. Josie begged Harlow to help her. I really enjoyed visiting Bliss, TX and liked the main characters a lot. I got a kick out of Nana the goat whisperer, but I think my favorite was Meemaw--and she wasn't even physically there, she was dead. But she would make her presence known to Harlow in the form of noises, pointing out words in magazines or moving things around. Harlow's possible love interest Will was very sweet and his teen daughter Gracie was really cool because she wanted to have Harlow continue teaching her to sew. I never guessed at all who the killer was! By the end of the book, Harlow finally figured out what her special charm or talent was. I'm anxious to read the next book in this series, especially since there was a several page teaser to read at the end of this book.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    I really, really liked this first book in another new series! Can't wait for more. I love the family relationship between the protag, her mom and grandmom. I'm not really a fashionista so I can't really understand some of the clothing descriptions but I love the fact that this woman can envision a style, fabric and fashion, for a dress that will make the wearer feel good as well as look good. Eagerly anticipating the next in the series.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ❂ Murder by Death

    Really really enjoyed this book. Great story line, never saw the bad guy coming at the end and the characters and setting are fantastic. I really can't wait for the follow up to this one. Now if only Misa Ramirez would write another Lola Cruz mystery....

  8. 5 out of 5

    Rachael

    A seamstress, magic, history, murder? What’s not to like! Turns out, this made for a lot of moving parts. It also meant meeting an entire town in one book. I’m not really into cozy mysteries, but being a seamstress myself, I though I’d like this one. It was okay. There are a lot of scenes that take place between chapters that I would have rather read than have summarized to me in a great big blob of exposition at the beginning of the next chapter (especially since some chapters were only two pag A seamstress, magic, history, murder? What’s not to like! Turns out, this made for a lot of moving parts. It also meant meeting an entire town in one book. I’m not really into cozy mysteries, but being a seamstress myself, I though I’d like this one. It was okay. There are a lot of scenes that take place between chapters that I would have rather read than have summarized to me in a great big blob of exposition at the beginning of the next chapter (especially since some chapters were only two pages long... why summarize?), and I kept getting characters confused because of it. Also, some of the Texas idioms got on my nerves, but I knew that would happen going in. I probably would have given this two stars if I didn’t know that somewhere down the line, I’ll probably seek out the second book and give it another shot in the future. I do like the sewing bits (even if they were a bit unrealistic as far as a timeline is concerned) and the tips at the end of the book.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kellene

    This book came highly recommended, and it was a fairly good choice, once I got into it. But it took a while for me to really start enjoying the book. Some of the characters are great (love the Cassidy women and Will & Gracie) but the others kind of left me flat. Harlow was a lot more invested in Josie's happiness than I would have been, so I guess she's a nicer person than I am. The whole Kincaid family came off as creeps, and the victim didn't really lure me into the murder all that much. I did This book came highly recommended, and it was a fairly good choice, once I got into it. But it took a while for me to really start enjoying the book. Some of the characters are great (love the Cassidy women and Will & Gracie) but the others kind of left me flat. Harlow was a lot more invested in Josie's happiness than I would have been, so I guess she's a nicer person than I am. The whole Kincaid family came off as creeps, and the victim didn't really lure me into the murder all that much. I didn't pick up a lot of atmosphere from the setting either. Most of the things that usually reel me into a story were missing here. But I am intrigued by the Cassidy backstory, and Meemaw is a fun addition (although I'm hoping she becomes more substantial as the series continues).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jamie

    When Harlow Cassidy returns to her hometown of Bliss, Texas the last thing she expected was to have a murder occur outside her home and business. Pleating for Mercy is a wonderful Southern cozy mystery with well developed characters, a plot that is full of twists and turns and a little magic. I finished this book in a day because I was hooked and needed to know who did it! I was definately suprised. This is the first book I have read by Ms. Bourbon but it will not be my last. I would definately rec When Harlow Cassidy returns to her hometown of Bliss, Texas the last thing she expected was to have a murder occur outside her home and business. Pleating for Mercy is a wonderful Southern cozy mystery with well developed characters, a plot that is full of twists and turns and a little magic. I finished this book in a day because I was hooked and needed to know who did it! I was definately suprised. This is the first book I have read by Ms. Bourbon but it will not be my last. I would definately recommend this story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Heather L

    Really liked this first in series, and the eclectic and interesting cast of characters.

  12. 4 out of 5

    W.s. Gager

    For years I read romance as a form of escape from life. When stress got in the way, my nose went in a book. I’ve now found that a good cozy mystery can provide the same escapism. Pleating for Mercy by Melissa Bourbon is one of the books that I’ve been able to totally immerse myself into. It is the first book in the Magical Dressmaking Mystery and I will look for others. Main character Harlow Jane Cassidy returns to her small town in Bliss, Texas after her grandmother dies leaving behind a high- For years I read romance as a form of escape from life. When stress got in the way, my nose went in a book. I’ve now found that a good cozy mystery can provide the same escapism. Pleating for Mercy by Melissa Bourbon is one of the books that I’ve been able to totally immerse myself into. It is the first book in the Magical Dressmaking Mystery and I will look for others. Main character Harlow Jane Cassidy returns to her small town in Bliss, Texas after her grandmother dies leaving behind a high-powered job in the Manhattan fashion world to design dresses. Not only did Harlow inherit her grandmother’s house but a special flair as well for stitching up the perfect dress. She’d better be fast too when a quicky wedding requires a bridal dress and two bridesmaid ones as well. Problems start when a bridesmaid is killed and to keep the income she need’s Harlow must keep the wedding on track and the bride out of jail. What I loved about this book was the use of language that made me laugh and smile. I had a grandmother who was a great seamstress and made a custom blazer for me when I graduated from college. This book made me remember all those times for fittings and advice from my grandmother. A shiver stole through me. The windows in here were definitely closed. I had the sudden feeling that Josie and I weren’t alone in the house, that the check had been picked up and placed on my lap by some ghostly presence. Meemaw. Josie put her hand on mine. “Please, Harlow. I want to marry Nate.” I took her hand and nodded, hoping it was sincerity I felt emanating from her and not desperation. The dress I made for her would have to be beyond perfect. Every seam I stitched would hold together her dreams. Every bead I sewed would bring sparkle back into her life. And every pleat I added would help her fold her grief into manageable pieces. From page 53 I recommend this book for its hints of paranormal that add to the story but doesn’t overwhelm the mystery and murder and the great characters that we can all root for. Melissa Bourbon will be added to my list of must have authors. Disclosure: I received this book as part of a Goodreads giveaway.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Diana • Book of Secrets

    Rating: 4.5/5 Harlow's great-great-great grandfather was the infamous Butch Cassidy, and since his time, all of the Cassidy women have been blessed with a magical ability. When Harlow inherits her great grandmother's farmhouse, she gives up her career as a fashion designer in New York City and moves home to Bliss, Texas. Though not certain what her "special gift" is yet, Harlow knows that she has an amazing talent for dressmaking. Harlow turns the first floor of her farmhouse into a custom dressma Rating: 4.5/5 Harlow's great-great-great grandfather was the infamous Butch Cassidy, and since his time, all of the Cassidy women have been blessed with a magical ability. When Harlow inherits her great grandmother's farmhouse, she gives up her career as a fashion designer in New York City and moves home to Bliss, Texas. Though not certain what her "special gift" is yet, Harlow knows that she has an amazing talent for dressmaking. Harlow turns the first floor of her farmhouse into a custom dressmaking boutique. Her first customer is soon-to-be bride Josie, a childhood friend marrying into the town's oldest and richest families. Designing dresses for the wedding party would be a huge boost for her business, but the dream quickly turns into a nightmare when Josie's boss is found murdered in Harlow's front yard. With a little ghostly assistance from her dearly departed great grandmother, Harlow sets out to find the killer and save Josie's wedding. PLEATING FOR MERCY is a fantastic first book in a new cozy mystery series by Melissa Bourbon. I was quickly absorbed in the book and did not want to put it down! It was a nice blend of mystery, a little romance (more Will, please!), and the supernatural, but the mystery itself took center stage. The plot was fast-paced with many twists along the way. The cast of characters was large, but each character was memorable. I loved the dialogue between them, especially the Southernisms. Though I'm not into it myself, I found the descriptions of sewing and dress design very interesting, and they were woven nicely into the story. This book will be especially appealing to those who are handy with the needle and thread. Highly recommended! I received my copy from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Fred

    This is the first book in the A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series. Harlow Cassidy inherits her great grandmothers house and quits her job in NYC as a fashion designer and returns to Texas. Harlow figures to put a large selection of buttons and bow and material to good use and decides to open a dress making boutigue in the old farmhouse. Harlow's first customer is a schoolhood friend who is to be married in two weeks and needs a wedding dress and three bridemaids dresses made. The wedding party i This is the first book in the A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series. Harlow Cassidy inherits her great grandmothers house and quits her job in NYC as a fashion designer and returns to Texas. Harlow figures to put a large selection of buttons and bow and material to good use and decides to open a dress making boutigue in the old farmhouse. Harlow's first customer is a schoolhood friend who is to be married in two weeks and needs a wedding dress and three bridemaids dresses made. The wedding party is to come back the next day for measurements to give Harlow a sense of the design of their dresses. Before they are albe to start the maid of honor is strangled. The bride, Josie, works for Nell, the victim. The groom had once been involved with Nell, who turns out to be pregnant. Could the groom be the killer. Or was it Josie who would inherit the shop that Nell owns. Time is of the essence, as Harlow doesn't want Josie to marry a killer. The groom is the son of an oil tycoon family who will hold their cards very close to their chest. All three of the Cassidy women have "powers". Grandma is known as the goat whisperer, because of ability to deal with stubborn goats. Mama is able to make plants grow with just by looking at them. Harlow is concerned that "the power" has escaped her, but soon great grandmother makes her presence know to Harlow. There's not a lot of woo-woo involved in this book, so don't pass up this book even if at not you cup of tea. This a very enjoyable light read and am looking forward to the next book.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Angela Holland

    What I liked: I liked the "gifts" that Harlow and the females each had and the fact that they were each a different gift. I liked that they "gifts" were not witchcraft to me. I also like Gracie who Harlow is going to teach how to sew and is the daughter of Will - who I think in future books will become the love interest. What I didn't Liked: I can't think of anything that I did not like about this book Overall Impression: I enjoyed that this was a fun fast book to read. Harlow was not real sure ab What I liked: I liked the "gifts" that Harlow and the females each had and the fact that they were each a different gift. I liked that they "gifts" were not witchcraft to me. I also like Gracie who Harlow is going to teach how to sew and is the daughter of Will - who I think in future books will become the love interest. What I didn't Liked: I can't think of anything that I did not like about this book Overall Impression: I enjoyed that this was a fun fast book to read. Harlow was not real sure about coming home to Bliss but then the longer she is home she more she is glad she did. Her Meemaw has passed away and left her the family home which Harlow turns into her dressmaking shop. From the beginning Meemaw communicates to Harlow from beyond and it is fun the way Harlow is learning about that. Harlow gets a big job making four dresses for a wedding for a well known family. The night after the whole wedding party plus a few extras show up at the shop one of the bridesmaids ends up dead in Harlow's yard. Before you know it Harlow finds herself involved in trying to solve who killed Nell in her yard. Follow Harlow along her journey to solve the crime and to get to know the townspeople all over again. Oh and don't forget the handsome Will who Meemaw made arrangements with to do handywork around the shop before she passed. I am anxious to see how Will and Harlow's relationship continues to grow which is just what Meemaw would have wanted. I look forward to continuing on with this series. 5 stars.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Andrea

    Not a bad cozy. I loved the setting and the fact that our heroine actually WORKED. In so many of these "craft" mysteries, the lady or man in charge always seems to have a bevy of minions who keep the store running while they poke their nose into a murder. Well, in this case, the murder happens on the door step and our heroine keeps plugging along with a huge commission of original dresses for an up-coming wedding. With a friendly ghost, a wacky family, and some latent magical talent, the murderer Not a bad cozy. I loved the setting and the fact that our heroine actually WORKED. In so many of these "craft" mysteries, the lady or man in charge always seems to have a bevy of minions who keep the store running while they poke their nose into a murder. Well, in this case, the murder happens on the door step and our heroine keeps plugging along with a huge commission of original dresses for an up-coming wedding. With a friendly ghost, a wacky family, and some latent magical talent, the murderer hasn't got a chance. The only real negative...well, there are two, but one is my problem, not the books.....for an intro to the world and character, there are a LOT of character and they were easy to mixed up. The other issue...Doesn't anyone write a cozy mystery that take place in the Northern part of the country? I mean, I love the Texas setting. My Dad is a Texan....but just try to find one of these mysteries that take place in Washington, Oregon, Idaho. If you know any, let me know!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Marye

    Book due out in early August - you can pre order at Amazon. I got my copy early to review. This book is a real page turner. It's a modern murder mystery incorporating a love of sewing, some magic, ghostly occurances, and romance too. First in a three part series, and I really look forward to the next. Even if you don't sew, you'll find it a very enjoyable read, and well balanced. There is not a lot of boring detail about sewing at all, but it's a theme in the book that the main character is pass Book due out in early August - you can pre order at Amazon. I got my copy early to review. This book is a real page turner. It's a modern murder mystery incorporating a love of sewing, some magic, ghostly occurances, and romance too. First in a three part series, and I really look forward to the next. Even if you don't sew, you'll find it a very enjoyable read, and well balanced. There is not a lot of boring detail about sewing at all, but it's a theme in the book that the main character is passionate about designing and sewing. However, there is much more than just sewing up some dresses in this book.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Frances Wentworth

    I found it enjoyable to read, but it was a bit too southern themed for my taste. I liked the extensive sewing knowledge and the main character's knowledge of fashion. While I found the story entertaining, it just seemed to lack that certain something that makes me really want to get to know the main character, even though the other characters seemed very well developed. I'm going to give the next few a try to see if it draws me in a bit more.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Susan Webb

    This book was entertaining. The Cassidy women are funny and it was nice to read about all of them and the history. Meemaw's ghost was an added enjoyment. I am looking forward to more in this series. Harlow's character will be one I will enjoy learning more about

  20. 4 out of 5

    Carrie

    This was very cute; a nice "cozy" mystery with a fun premise.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jae

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. After Harlow's great-grandmother passes away, Harlow leaves New York and returns to Bliss, TX, to live in the house her Meemaw left her. There, she hopes to launch her own dressmaking business. Harlow's first customer is her childhood friend, Josie, who asks Harlow to make the gowns for her wedding party on short notice. Harlow is up for the task, but when the maid of honor is murdered, Josie begs Harlow to help prove that it wasn't her fiance who killed Nell. Harlow knows she's no detective, bu After Harlow's great-grandmother passes away, Harlow leaves New York and returns to Bliss, TX, to live in the house her Meemaw left her. There, she hopes to launch her own dressmaking business. Harlow's first customer is her childhood friend, Josie, who asks Harlow to make the gowns for her wedding party on short notice. Harlow is up for the task, but when the maid of honor is murdered, Josie begs Harlow to help prove that it wasn't her fiance who killed Nell. Harlow knows she's no detective, but the Cassidy women all have special gifts, and she isn't above tapping into some of that magic to help her friend. In the meantime, Harlow begins to sense a presence in the house, and she is convinced it is the spirit of her Meemaw. Her suspicions seem to be confirmed, especially when a handsome handyman shows up, claiming that he bartered with Harlow's great-grandmother to do odd jobs around the house in exchange for Harlow teaching his daughter how to sew. Seems that Meemaw may be matchmaking from beyond the grave, and her special talent was that she always got what she wanted. I'm on the fence about this one. Harlow was likable enough, but she didn't investigate so much as eavesdrop, snoop, and stumble into clues. Frankly, I found Meemaw's interference to be aggravating, and my annoyance levels spiked when Harlow got all the tingly feels around Will. Guh, really? What really aggravated me was that the reader had no way of figuring out the murderer. Hell, even Harlow didn't figure it out until she literally stumbled into the person and got a confession, which, of course, led to mortal peril for her. Also, the victim was strangled. Let's face it, strangulation is a crime that men commit. Women do not typically have the strength to strangle someone, and certainly not a woman who is portrayed as waifish and wispy. Furthermore, if the Cassidy women are all descended from the legendary Butch Cassidy, why are their last names still "Cassidy"? Did all of them bear children out of wedlock?! Just...huh? Another thing that bugged me is that it's supposed to be a big secret that the Cassidy women are all talented, yet everyone seemed to know about it. Wha...? Characters weren't fleshed out, plot meandered, and my attention often wandered. I may try one more book in this series, and if it doesn't improve, I won't be reading any more.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Charlee

    My rating leans closer to 3 1/2 stars. Harlow Cassidy leaves her job in Manhattan to open a dressmaking boutique in Bliss, Texas after her great grandmother passes away and leaves her the property. It doesn't take her long to figure out that her great grandmother may have passed away, but that doesn't mean she is gone. When Harlow's friend Josie wants a gown made for her upcoming wedding, she is excited to get started but then one of the wedding party ends up dead on Harlow's lawn. She sets out t My rating leans closer to 3 1/2 stars. Harlow Cassidy leaves her job in Manhattan to open a dressmaking boutique in Bliss, Texas after her great grandmother passes away and leaves her the property. It doesn't take her long to figure out that her great grandmother may have passed away, but that doesn't mean she is gone. When Harlow's friend Josie wants a gown made for her upcoming wedding, she is excited to get started but then one of the wedding party ends up dead on Harlow's lawn. She sets out to find the killer and gets a little help from the great beyond. This first in series was cute and charming with likable characters. I admit I don't know much of anything when it comes to designing clothes so some of the references to that were a bit lost on me, but it still held my interest and even surprised me at the end. I really thought I had figured out the killer and I wasn't completely wrong, but I wasn't completely right either. I really enjoyed the writing style and the fact that even though there is an obvious love interest in the story, it didn't overtake the plot. It also has some paranormal/supernatural elements added in but not so much that it comes off as unrealistic or goofy. So if you like a little bit of magic in your cozies along with a cute little town and some fun characters, this one fits the bill.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Genevieve Bomes

    When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But when she opens a dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow senses an inexplicable "presence". Her old friend Josie orders a gown for her upcoming wedding, but when Josie's matron of honor turns up dead, Harlow has to find the killer-with a little help from beyond. It took me a while to get around to reading this book a When her great-grandmother passes away, Harlow Jane Cassidy leaves her job as a Manhattan fashion designer and moves back to Bliss, Texas. But when she opens a dressmaking boutique in the turn-of-the-century farmhouse she inherited, Harlow senses an inexplicable "presence". Her old friend Josie orders a gown for her upcoming wedding, but when Josie's matron of honor turns up dead, Harlow has to find the killer-with a little help from beyond. It took me a while to get around to reading this book and even once I started it took me a few pages to get into it then I did and I was rushing through the book. I like Harlow, and the assorted characters and I love the fact that her MeeMaw helps her out from the spirit world. The story line was really good and kept me guessing till the end. I am so glad this wasn't a book where she was trying to decide between her ex and a new guy. I was worried when I heard that there had been history. All in all a great book and very well written.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bookgeek

    Pleating For Mercy: Pleating For mercy puts the cozy in cozy mystery, the plot is simple, as most cozy mysteries are, where this one stands out among it's brothers and sisters, are in the characters. Harlow is warm, strong, confident, without being overly shallow, or cold to those around her or whiny. She comes across as a real person, you wouldn't mind having a drink with, someone you can and do root for. Her Mama and Nana, are drawn in ways, that remind you of your own grandparents and parents Pleating For Mercy: Pleating For mercy puts the cozy in cozy mystery, the plot is simple, as most cozy mysteries are, where this one stands out among it's brothers and sisters, are in the characters. Harlow is warm, strong, confident, without being overly shallow, or cold to those around her or whiny. She comes across as a real person, you wouldn't mind having a drink with, someone you can and do root for. Her Mama and Nana, are drawn in ways, that remind you of your own grandparents and parents with their little quirks. Will Flores and his daughter Gracie, while not completely known, are engaging and seem to mesh into Harlow's life with ease, the attraction between Will and Harlow, seemed natural, not forced or stressful. Overall it's a 3 to 4 story book, that offers both an easy read and a real escape.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Amanda

    A solid cozy and good beginning for a new series. Harlow comes home from New York after her great grandmother passes and she inherits Meemaw's house. Everything seems to be falling into place for Harlow while she builds up her dress making business until Meemaw throws her a few curve balls from beyond and a client is murdered in her front garden. I appreciated that Harlow wasn't just a super nosy heroine but only looked into things because a friend asked. There were several really stupid mistake A solid cozy and good beginning for a new series. Harlow comes home from New York after her great grandmother passes and she inherits Meemaw's house. Everything seems to be falling into place for Harlow while she builds up her dress making business until Meemaw throws her a few curve balls from beyond and a client is murdered in her front garden. I appreciated that Harlow wasn't just a super nosy heroine but only looked into things because a friend asked. There were several really stupid mistakes that she made that I'm hoping won't repeat themselves because I'd like to read the rest of the series. They are just plain common sense things that she should have known better. Fingers crossed they are just in this book for her first case and she'll improve in future novels.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I like the main characters well enough to continue with the series, but I found this first book very confusing. To start with, there were just too many characters and suspects. (There were 13 people inside the dress making shop right before the murder, all of whom were suspect at one time or another.) I had trouble keeping track of the wedding party and parents and grandparents and brothers and sisters. And even though I read the last 3 chapters three times, I still don't quite understand why an I like the main characters well enough to continue with the series, but I found this first book very confusing. To start with, there were just too many characters and suspects. (There were 13 people inside the dress making shop right before the murder, all of whom were suspect at one time or another.) I had trouble keeping track of the wedding party and parents and grandparents and brothers and sisters. And even though I read the last 3 chapters three times, I still don't quite understand why and how the murder took place. I really don't understand why Harlow Jane still had the ring in her possession at the end of the book. After she showed it to the sheriff, would he have not bagged it as evidence or at least taken it into care until the rightful owner could be established?

  27. 5 out of 5

    Julie Trapp

    Cassidy (distant relative of Butch) move to hometown and opens a dressmaking shop. First customer is a former school friend. Wedding is in 2 weeks and a wwedding dress adn 3 bridesmaids dresses need to me made. In the meantime, there is a murder outside her front door. In the book, whenever Cassidy needs advice, she "talks" to Meemaw and somehow a signal is sent - fluttering curtains when no window is open, placement of objects is changed, pipes start clanging. NOT!! Will not continue with this Cassidy (distant relative of Butch) move to hometown and opens a dressmaking shop. First customer is a former school friend. Wedding is in 2 weeks and a wwedding dress adn 3 bridesmaids dresses need to me made. In the meantime, there is a murder outside her front door. In the book, whenever Cassidy needs advice, she "talks" to Meemaw and somehow a signal is sent - fluttering curtains when no window is open, placement of objects is changed, pipes start clanging. NOT!! Will not continue with this series. Friend sent me Book #2 so I read #1 to get background. Like reading a fantasy book, which I don't. Rely on your own ideas/instincts/feelings/whatever, but don't expect something from beyond the grave.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Vanessa

    This is quite close to four stars, but I'm hoping that later books that don't have to also set up the series will be better. The cast of characters is rather good. By the end of the book, several of them have story arcs set up for the rest of the series. The dressmaking element works well, especially because it is actually an important part of the story. I found that I could picture the gowns without knowing too much about fashion. The mystery itself is fine, but the book struggles with collecti This is quite close to four stars, but I'm hoping that later books that don't have to also set up the series will be better. The cast of characters is rather good. By the end of the book, several of them have story arcs set up for the rest of the series. The dressmaking element works well, especially because it is actually an important part of the story. I found that I could picture the gowns without knowing too much about fashion. The mystery itself is fine, but the book struggles with collecting and using clues. Hopefully, this will improve with the next book. There are a few things that seem odd, like the police not questioning Harlow and her mother.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Delightful! A great cozy mystery with some endearing characters and a touch of magical whimsey. This is one where I will go looking for others in the series. I wish FURBALL were still with us, because she would have enjoyed it. I will be sending this to my sister-in-law, because the women in this book are rumored to be the descendants of Butch Cassidy and she is actually a descendant of the Parkers (Cassidy's real name) and is a seamstress to boot.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jeanie Jackson

    This one really caught me and I am not even sure what the magic was. Her logic was kind of narrow since she assumed that the murderer had to have been in her shop that day but other than that point, I loved everything about the book. These are people that I look forward to spending more time with which is my bases of evaluating any series book. The plot was involved but made sense, another absolute requirement!

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