Hannah Richards has dreamed of the day she could open her own dress shop. She arrives in Coventry, TX, with great joy and anticipation. She'll have to live frugally until she's accepted in the community, but she is ready to to give it a go.
The last thing Coventry needs, according to one J.T. Tucker, is a newcomer selling fancy goods that will entice women to discontentment and a desire to live above their means. Having watched his mother leave his father for a wealthier man, J.T. wants to avoid that kind of heartbreak and humiliation for other families. He has nothing against Miss Richards, and in fact he can't quite match his preconceived prejudices with her open manner and the way she can make friends with anyone, but he has every objection to her chosen profession.
The community is slow to do business with a newcomer, but Hannah is determined to win them over. She develops a close friendship with J.T.'s sister Cordelia, which frustrates the liveryman even more. She can't figure him out - he's helpful and conscientious but they also seem to fall into an argument each time they meet.
Soon it becomes clear that someone with more nefarious motives wants Hannah out of town. Can she keep herself safe and find acceptance in the community even with all the challenges?
I enjoyed the interplay between the two main characters a lot, their differing viewpoints offering a lot of room to explore the issue of enjoying everyday beauty versus being strictly practical in all things. Both Hannah and J.T. have a lot of strengths, including a dedicated faith and shows itself in the way they live their lives. This was an excellent debut novel for Karen Witemeyer in 2010, and I'm glad I had the chance to go back and read it here in 2019!