Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Launching Clash of the Titles' Book Club--Join the Fun!

This month's host: Jennifer Slattery

I can't believe June's already here! Have you stopped by Amazon to pick up your copy of A Tailor-Made Bride yet? If not, there's still time. We'll be chatting about Karen Witemeyer's book all month, and considering the sparks flying between J.T. and Miss Richards, I'd say we're in for a lively conversation.

It's interesting how times have changed, isn't it. When you read about Miss Richards plumes of fabric, petticoats and stockings, did you find yourself longing for the 1800's? Me? I spend most of my time in jeans and t-shirts. I like fashion, but comfort rules.

It appears Miss Richards might find some similarities among her clients. You probably remember her concern upon seeing the townsfolk and their simple attire. And it appears, if J.T. is any indication of the overall mindset of the town, that many are rather opposed to seamstresses.

To those of you who've devoured this novel already, no spoiling the ending!

I'd be curious to know what you think of J.T. so far. Rough on the outside with a heart of gold? Too stubborn and opinionated for his own good?

What about Miss Richards? Do you think she has what it takes to make it as a businesswoman? Now before you answer a hearty, "Yes, ma'am!" remember the decade we're talking about and all the struggles women faced. Now add to that starting a a woman.

Final question: Early in the story, Jericho is frustrated because he believes Hannah's arrival interferes with his calling to minister to Louisa James. He had planned to provide Louisa with a new building for her laundry business, but the Lord saw fit to give it to an outsider. Have you ever experienced confusion or frustration when a ministry you felt called to doesn't progress in the way you expect? Does resentment or envy ever creep in when you hear other believers talk about the way the Lord has blessed them?

(And don't forget to stop by Clash of Titles' main site to meet Julie Carobini, author of Fade to Blue. choose our next book club novel! CLICK HERE to vote for August's book.)

Happy reading all!


April W Gardner said...

The petticoats, frilly skirts, and hats do have appeal! But they have no place in the South. How did our ancestors ever manage it? No wonder fainting abounded.
IMO, every great hero needs more than a bit of the rough. It's what God made us ladies for right? To smooth out the men's ragged edges? Don't tell my husband, but I applaud stubborn men. They might be wrong sometimes, but they know what they want and they aren't afraid to take a stand for it. So JT's stubborn streak makes me smile.
When I think about being a woman in Hannah's time and situation, I kinda shake my head. I would have been the one content to keep house and raise a family. But I'm sure there were plenty out there who chomped at the bit to branch out and do something more. Hannah is the perfect picture of that woman.

April W Gardner said...

Posting for Michelle Massaro:
How often do we find ourselves more drawn to the rough and tumble bad guy in a novel instead of the gentle and soft-spoken hero? We may claim we want a man who "understands us and isn't afraid to carry our purse", but when we strip our characters of testosterone, muscles, and even a bit of a temper when the need arises, we also end up stripping them of all manly appeal. So I like a good rough hero who stands his ground. Even if his woman does need to set him straight. That's what she's there for, right? =)

As for the clothes, I'd like to enjoy them at a costume party but PTL for denim and cotton tees with graphic prints!

Jennifer Slattery said...

It appears blogger may be having a problem with their comments. I've had trouble getting comments to go through, and received an email from another COTT staff member who received an email from a reader who said they had trouble posting as well. (Wow, short story long. lol)

From Anonymous:
oh, my, I just opened the book, finally, at lunch, and had to make myself quit after the 6th chapter! What fun! I know the spunky heroine is cliche, but hallelujah for Hannah who knows how to work a screwdriver. I so loved the part where she fell through and had to stoop to ask JT for help, and especially his reaction. He was resigned to helping one more (get it?)less-than-needy female, and look what happened!

Like so many "free" Kindle releases, I'm so hooked that I have to go buy the author's other stories.

Thanks, Karen, for a very fun read!!

And...if anyone else is having trouble posting comments, shoot us an email and we'll get it up for you. Hopefully this is a temporary problem.

April W Gardner said...

Posting for Jennifer Slattery:
I've often wondered how I'd react if transported back in time a few hundred years. Things certainly have changed.

As to the type of heroes I find heroic, April and Michelle, you both raise great points. Kind and sensitive is one thing (I've got a teddy-bear for a husband) but as women, we'd do well to remember and accept the differences between genders.

As to the question on ministry jealously...I don't think I've experienced that personally, although I have served in a church that often was a bit more "political" than I liked. When new ministries were suggested, they were viewed as enhancing or detracting from other ministries that were already running. This bothered me because I tend to think God works in numerous ways and our role is not to box God in but instead, to follow His leading. In the situation I referenced, I think it was more a numbers game. And although numbers are good because they represent people, our focus must never turn from the people and our Savior and onto our selfish ambition that seeks success. If that makes sense. But now...I'm stepping off my soap box. lol

Karen Witemeyer said...

How wonderful to see your comments! [Those that are going through. :-)]

I'm a sucker for rugged alpha males in the novels I read (and write), but in real life, I'm glad my man has a a softer side. He can bring out the alpha when the situation calls for it, though.

Anonymous - I'm so glad you are enjoying the story. I love it when a heroine completely demolishes a hero's preconceived notions. I, too, cheered Hannah on when she handled those tools like a pro.

Jennifer - Thank you for sharing your experience with ministry. When I was developing Jericho's character, I asked myself a lot of tough questions. One of them being, how do you feel when you believe you are doing what God wants you to do only to have him step in and turn you in a different direction. Confused? Frustrated? Discouraged? Yes to all three. So many times we want to serve God, but only in the way that we are confortable with. When he tries to redirect us, we resist. At least I do. Thankfully he is patient with our stubbornness and will often send us people to make the adjustmenet easier.

Julie Arduini said...

I'm chiming in late but I started the book and sounds like I'm not as far in as the rest. When I open a book set in that time frame I fantasize that I would be like Laura Ingalls Wilder and do great wearing those clothes living that way. About half way in I then come back to reality and realize I was born in 1970 for a reason!

As for the ministry, I can so relate to Jericho. I love encouraging others and passing out info to help others but this year it is as if every person I've encouraged this year has not only been published but found favor, great favor with key people. At first I was frustrated but now I know there time is now and as long as I'm in His will, there is no place I'd rather be...not even on a national stage speaking.

Jen said...

I agree, Julie! (Born 1974.grin) And I certainly understand how you feel. What a great attitude choice you made! And I can't wait to rejoice with you when God starts opening those doors for you! (And I sure hope you come back to COTT!)

Lisa Lickel said...

Born in the 70s? Sheesh!
Delighted to see you Karen. Great story!
Yes, definitely have had some frustrations over the ministry, mostly over the church we'd been at for all of our married lives until a couple years ago.

Love the seamstress stuff. I'm about to do some sewing. I've done some displays with quilting and my antique Home treadle machine. Just love showing it around, and it still works.

Karen Witemeyer said...

Lisa - How fabulous to have an old treddle machine! I have a basic knowledge of sewing and have made several garments over the course of my lifetime (though none recently - who has the time?), but a seamstress I am not. I so envy those of you who can whip things together with or without a pattern.

Part of the reason I loved Hannah's character was the fact that I could create her to be so much better than myself. That, and it was too much fun digging through all those old fashion magazine and drooling over the elegant dresses. :-)

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