#bookreview – The Pyjama Girls of Lambert Square – by Sara Donati

This is the second book by Sara Donati (aka Rosina Lippi) that I’ve read this year and she is rapidly becoming a favorite author. Though I don’t rate this one quite as highly as THE GILDED HOUR, what I recognize most is the same depth and dimension in all the characters, even though the two plots couldn’t be more different. Awarded four stars on Goodreads.

pyjamaThis time, the two main characters are Julia Darrow, a young widow running a fancy linen shop (including pajamas) in the small Southern town of Lambert Square, and John Dodge, a 40-ish free spirit who likes to buy, fix up, and sell small businesses. At its heart THE PYJAMA GIRLS is a budding love story, between two people with issues around commitment and intimacy. But there are no easy fixes here and Donati’s end does not tie everything up too neatly.

Instead, the story is much more realistic. These characters are human– they make mistakes, they change slowly, they wrestle with internal demons, then slowly move cautiously toward each other.

In addition, there are a host of other fascinating characters (and dogs) who are nearly as fully developed. An Afro-American divorced worker at Julia’s shop, trying to balance the needs of her precocious 10 year old with her new romance with a white man. There’s a curmudgeon with an encyclopedic knowledge of antique pens. A super-smart woman mayor who expertly reads every personality in town. And about a dozen others, all with believable and distinctive personalities. Like any small town, they all keep up on each other’s business and offer lots of unsolicited advice. Having just finished the book, I wish I could visit the town and meet them all.

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