Pajama Girls of Lambert Square

The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square

by Rosina Lippi

I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation, smart reviews for modern readers on Sirius XM Book Radio. The book is The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Rosina Lippi.

Pajamas? Girls? Certainly this will be a light and fluffy book about some cute young things getting into all kinds of hijinks before learning a big lesson about true love. Well, no. Not that there’s anything wrong with that but this is not that book.

Pajama Girls refers to Cocoon, the elegant bed linens shop that our heroine Julia owns, lives above, and runs dressed in her — you got it — pajamas.Ê It’s more Martha Stewart than Victoria Secret, so get your mind out of the gutter. The rest of it — Lambert Square — is the kind of postcard Southern town that us Northerners wish actually existed — the townsfolk are quirky and charming and someone always has pie. The town square itself is the center of social life for the town and for Julia in particular in a way that goes beyond a nice place to hang out. It’s all she’s got.

So, a smart if somewhat defensive transplanted business owner, a dream of Southern charm, a cast of friends and neighbors. Like Sam Mendes dared us back in American Beauty, look closer.

The town is dying for lack of industry. The townsfolk are on the verge of open warfare between the righteous and (in their opinion) the unrighteous. And Julia is just barely hanging on. I’ve given you all the clues — she never has to leave her house /slash/ shop or even put her shoes on. Why would she create that kind of life for herself?

Into the mix Rosina Lippi throws Handsome Stranger John Dodge, who’s going to buy himself a little shop in the square, turn a profit, take his cash and flee. Or at least that’s the plan. Because John can’t stand being closed in. I think you can see where this is going. But Lippi’s writing is so subtle that I was well into the book before I realized Julia had any problems at all. John and Julia are helped and hindered on their way with some plainspoken talk from their friends — and those who are less than friendly, but it’s never cute and it’s never obvious.

So The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square is a fairly serious book (although the humor is certainly there) with a slightly cutesy title. Even though I was rooting for Julia to put a bra on and get out of the house, I have to admit that her neatly constructed existence had its appeal.

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