A Tailor-Made Bride, by Karen Witemeyer, was published in 2010 by Bethany House.
Jericho “J. T.” Tucker wants nothing to do with the new dressmaker in Coventry, Texas. He’s all too familiar with her kind—shallow women more devoted to fashion than true beauty. Yet, except for her well-tailored clothes, this seamstress is not at all what he expected. Hannah Richards is confounded by the man who runs the livery. The unsmiling fellow riles her with his arrogant assumptions and gruff manner, while at the same time stirring her heart with unexpected acts of kindness. Which side of Jericho Tucker reflects the real man? When Hannah decides to help Jericho’s sister catch a beau—leading to consequences neither could have foreseen—will Jericho and Hannah find a way to bridge the gap between them?
Thank goodness the content of the book doesn’t reflect the absolute awfulness of the title. A Tailor-Made Bride is a title that is trying so hard to be witty and punny, but fails miserably and ends up being embarrassingly cheesy and the reason why you would want to hide the cover of this book if you carried it around in public.
But bad title aside, the content of the book actually does manage to be witty in places (of the historical romance I’ve read and reviewed on this blog so far, this one probably has the best humor) and the Christian aspect of it goes beyond vague prayers and occasional thoughts directed towards God as with most. The love interests actually debate theology and Scripture and although the whole “fashion=vanity” is laid on slightly too thick, especially at the beginning, Witemeyer does manage to strike a fine balance at the end without making anything seem overly preachy.
Although I liked how Witemeyer handled the Christian content, I was less impressed with the plot and characters. The plot is predictable, as these types of plots usually are, and although I understand the reason to generate tension and conflict, I found the more dramatic parts of the book, well, overly dramatic and just a thinly veiled reason to have Jericho and Hannah make eyes at each other and/or admire each other’s bodies and/or think longingly about their feelings for the other person and/or think about how their love was never meant to be. Hannah and Jericho did have some decent moments together, and some of their conversations were quite witty and humorous, but as characters they weren’t very original or very interesting.
Also, I absolutely hate it when books that take place in towns and cities feel so empty because they only revolve around two or three characters. For the first three-quarters of this book, you would think that Jericho, Hannah, and Cordelia are the only three people who live in Coventry, with occasional visitors Tom and Ezra. It’s only when the festival arrives that more people show up. I wanted to see more interactions with the people so that the town felt like a town and not just a setting for a romance.
Recommended Age Range: 14+
Genre: Historical Fiction, Christian
“You must vow never to name any of our sons after Canaanite cities. I may have developed a new appreciation for Jericho in recent months, but no boy should be saddled with a name like Gezer or Eglon.” His body convulsed in an exaggerated shudder.
Hannah’s lip protruded in a delicious little mock pout. “Oh. But I had my heart set on naming our firstborn Megiddo.”
A Tailor-Made Bride does some things (humor, portrayal of Christianity) better than other books of the genre, but it’s still far from an impressive historical romance. The title is awful, the town of Coventry feels empty which actually makes Hannah and Jericho seem self-centered, and the romance bit is overly dramatic and way too obviously intended to make readers react/squeal/sigh/whatever.
You can buy this here: A Tailor-Made Bride