Wednesday, February 3, 2010

"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.

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