"A Black Tie Affair"

"A Black Tie Affair"
by Sherrill Bodine

Source: won in a Goodreads Firstreads contest, from Hachette Books

My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

My Review:

Athena Smith, the costume curator for a Chicago museum, is elated to finally see the legendary vintage gowns worn by a city icon, Bertha Palmer. But the gowns are owned by the Clayworth family, who are not on good terms with Athena's family. The Clayworths just fired Athena's father from their company for unknown, but scandalous, reasons. So Athena has little hope of gaining the gowns for an exhibition at the museum. While looking at the gowns, she inhales a toxin which acts as a truth serum. What truth does she spill? Athena still has feelings for Drew Clayworth, her high school sweetheart. Will Athena and Drew be able to overcome the secrets in their past and their current family feud to fall back in love?

I won this book through a Goodreads Firstreads contest, and the reason that I wanted to read this book is the fashion aspect of the story. The curator of vintage fashion and costume at a museum is a fascinating job to me. Athena and her sisters also run a vintage couture boutique! These aspects of the book are very well done and well researched.

It took awhile for me to see any chemistry between Athena and Drew, but once I did, they made a great couple. I thought it was cute that Drew and his brothers were considered such eligible bachelors. But otherwise, the leads weren't that interesting, I wanted to know more about them.

I was a little confused and bewildered at the beginning of the story by all the different characters. There were so many names to keep track of, I had to keep flipping back to previous pages to find out who was who. Once I got their names straight, I really enjoyed Athena's sisters, Diana and Venus (don't you love the Greek myth theme?) They both seemed so feisty, and even though I'm sure they will both get their own books, I wanted to see more of them in this book too!

The story seemed more like a madcap mystery than a romance to me, with a little bit of romance on the side. Think of an episode of "Bones" or "Castle." There were really three (3!) mysteries to solve: Who stole the dresses? What broke up Athena and Drew when they were teenagers? Why was Athena's father fired from the Clayworth's company?

Main Characters: 2/5
Supporting Characters: 3/5
(except Athena's sisters-they get 5s!)
Setting: 5/5
(very interesting and unique)
Romance: 2/5
Uniqueness: 4/5
Cover: 4/5
(I love the dress!)
Writing: 4/5

Bottom Line: I wanted to read this book because of the vintage fashion theme, and in that regard, this book delivered. However, I felt like the story and characters weren't quite as spectacular as all the vintage gowns.


Tiger Holland said...

I'll not add it to the TBR, then--so many flat-out awesome books are out there, I take warnings about 'just average' books to heart!

Nina said...

I read another review about this book and she didn't like it either. I love reading about the dresses in other times, but if the characters aren't great I will pass this one!
Thanks for the great and honest review.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Fab. I love your bottom line!

inthehammockblog said...

Thanks for reading my review, Tiger, Nina, and Juju!!

dArLyN said...

great review. i read several reviews from other blog about this book.they have a little bit close to what you think.make me to just pass on this one =p

inthehammockblog said...

Thanks, Darlyn!!

Shy said...

Multiple reviews I read about this book also said that this book wasn't up to their expectation either. Great, honest review!

inthehammockblog said...

Thanks, Shy!!

Lea said...

Kind of a bummer that the main characters got a 2/5...doesn't sound like a good "buy" book, but I may check it out...Thanks for the honest review! :D

inthehammockblog said...

Thanks, Lea! I just felt like the main characters were kinda bland. Possibly from the short length of the book.

Lori (sugarandgrits) said...

Thank you for your review!

I've been seeing this book a lot lately, but I think I'll pass. The cover is cool though. :)

Renee (SteelerGirl83) said...

Nice review! I love th dress too LOL! That's definitely what caught my eye about this book!

xoxo~ Renee

lizzy J said...

Hello there In the Hammock, I just came by to say Congratulations you won the giveaway for O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell. I am shooting you an email now.

carolsnotebook said...

Good review. I still think it looks fun, but I enjoy a "madcap mystery" once in a while.

Melissa said...

Brilliant review, though unfortunate it didn't live up to the hype! I'll shelf this on my TBR pile for a smidge :)

Alaine - Queen of Happy Endings said...

Love your blog layout and design, it's so pretty.

Have seen lots of reviews for this book lately, might give it a try!

Rhiana said...

It's a shame it didn't really deliver, I think I would be tempted just for the fashion angle too.

inthehammockblog said...

Thanks so much for reading my review, everyone!!

Serpentine Librarian said...

The cover is gorgeous. I probably would have picked it up based on the cover. Sorry that it wasn't as good as you had hoped it would be.

There is an award waiting for you at my blog:


Hazra said...

Books about fashion are a kind of guilty pleasure for me; I love reading about different dresses and costumes. The job of a curator at a vintage fashion museum sounds really interesting too!

Sheila (Bookjourney) said...

I agree - I struggled with this one too and finally just read it without trying to get much out of it.

Blodeuedd said...

I know what you mean, I read a book like that, the shoes in the story was better for me than the people

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