‘Groom by Design’ by Christine Johnson

gbd cjSTORY: The Dressmaker’s Daughters: Pursuing their dreams a stitch at a time

Her Heart and Her Business Are on the Line

Dressmaker Ruth Fox gave up her dream of a husband and children long ago. Her family’s floundering dress shop, her ailing father and her two younger sisters require Ruth’s full attention. Though the handsome new stranger in town is intriguing, Ruth is certain he wouldn’t look twice at a plain spinster of twenty-six.

Sam Rothenburg’s connection with the shy young woman next door is immediate, but he knows Ruth will be crushed when she discovers his real purpose in town. Sam is secretly working to open one of his father’s large department stores in Pearlman, Michigan, which will surely put Ruth out of business. How much is Sam willing to sacrifice to claim Ruth’s heart?

REVIEW: Pearlman, Michigan – 1923

Ruth Fox, age 26, is a very skilled dressmaker at the family’s Fox Dress Shop.  Her older sister, Beatrice, married Blake Kensington whose family was very wealthy in town.  There are two younger sisters, Jen and Minnie.  Mr. Fox has been ill with a weak heart for some time and is a patient at a sanitarium.  Mrs. Fox is staying there with her husband.  Ruth has worked very hard to run the shop and make money for the family’s dwindling finances.  Beatrice wants so much to help her family but her husband refuses to provide any funds to do so.

Sam Rothenburg is in town to build Hutton’s Department Store just next door to the Fox Dress Shop. Sam’s father is a wealthy man who has made his money in many ruthless ways.  Sam works for his father building department stores.  The fact that a department store will be built in town has been kept a secret.  Most people think it will be another type of store.  Sam’s father’s goal is to buy the Fox Dress Shop and then close it down.

When Sam and Ruth accidentally run into one another, Sam introduces himself as simply Sam Roth not wanting her to know who he really is.  He is smitten with her and would love to see her use her talents as a dressmaker in his new store.  Ruth is attracted to Sam but doesn’t feel as though she can think of anything but trying to pay the late mortgage bills and keep the shop open.  She feels she cannot think of herself and her own future until her father is well and the shop financially stable once again.

When Sam’s father comes to town to criticize him on his handling of the soon-to-be open store, Sam realizes that he has simply become his father’s puppet and refuses to bow to the man’s demands.  Sam cares about Ruth and her family and does not want to see them lose their livelihood.

Will Sam and Ruth be able to work through the problems they both have with their families and find a way to have a future for themselves?  This is a sweet story with a lot angst experienced by the characters.

Connie for b2b

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