Book flap: When Julia Darrow’s life in Chicago falls apart, she moves to small-town South Carolina and opens a shop specializing in luxury linens. Five years later she’s satisfied with the life she’s made for herself: Cocoon is doing very well; she wears designer pajamas all day, every day; she’s got a houseful of foster dogs; and she has friendly, efficient, if quirky, employees and all the other Lambert Square shop owners to occupy her. Julia has no interest in going anywhere.
John Dodge grew up an army brat and he’s still a rover: the idea of sticking to one place gives him hives. He makes a living moving around the country, fixing up small businesses on the brink of disaster. The newest venture to capture his imagination is an odd little shop that specializes in collectible pens, located in a renovated printing plant in the Deep South. He arrives in Lambert Square on a sunny fall day, and on his first morning there he runs into bellicose fishermen, curious tourists, a former underwear model who is now the no-nonsense mayor, a dozen friendly new neighbors full of advice on how to clean his bathtub and where to go to church, and Julia Darrow, walking across Lambert Square, in pajamas. When he goes to Cocoon to introduce himself, Dodge ends up spending a fortune on linen and asking Julia out to dinner. He takes her refusal in stride, but he also comes away with the distinct sense that there’s something going on with this woman from Chicago, something below the surface that she never lets anybody see. He is warned, right from the start: Don’t set your sights on our Julia. She’s shut up tight as a Chinese puzzle box, nary a seam to be seen.
But Dodge likes puzzles, and he’s really good at fixing things. There is a collision in the making, and all of Lambert Square is watching.
The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square is why I like to read. It is an entertaining tale filled with interesting and humorous characters. Rosina Lippi has a talent for local color. I felt like I was in Lamb’s Corner, shopping in Lambert Square and enjoying a meal at Annabeth Tindell’s place.
And then there is the story of Julia and (John) Dodge. But you need to find out about that on your own. I found myself smiling through much of this book. If you’re looking for a book to take you away, ‘Pajama Girls’ would be a great choice.