Title: Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing
Author: Kathy Cano-Murillo
* A big thank you to Kathy Cano-Murillo for sending me her books to read and share with all of you!
Scarlet Santana is anything but boring– in fact, her bold personality, brightly colored dresses, and big dreams are sometimes too much for even her to handle. In Miss Scarlet’s School of Patternless Sewing, Scarlet takes a leap of faith and hosts a sewing class to raise money to fund her biggest dream of all– becoming a fashion designer. Scarlet proves she will do anything to make her dreams a reality– even if it means disappointing the ones she loves the most. she questions whether her dreams are worth chasing at all.
Scarlet’s dream summer is to go to New York City and enter the Johnny Scissors Emerging Designers Program. Johnny “Scissors” Tijeras is the nephew of Scarlet’s idol, Daisy de la Flora. Scarlet loves Daisy so much, she even dedicated a blog to her. Scarlet’s sewing class lets her connect with her followers, pay homage to Daisy, and pursue the fashion program.
The novel’s biggest strength was its characters. They are entertaining and exciting, filling the novel to the brim with a light-heartedness that makes the novel a breeze to read. The women who join Scarlet’s sewing group are fun to read, with each of them having their own distinct personalities and quirks making them dynamic and unforgettable. Readers will be able to feel the love, support, and care they have for each other through the page.
One of Scarlet’s students, Mary Theresa, is a workaholic mother who doesn’t have any sense of a healthy work-life balance. Her storyline is a rollercoaster ride of emotions that will give readers hope, inspiration, and motivation to take charge of their own futures.
Unfortunately, at times some of the characters feel a bit saturated and unnatural. Scarlet specifically sometimes feels a bit too dramatic on the positive/ hopeful/ gullible end of the spectrum. Though no one wants their protagonist to be perfect, because of her excessive nature, Scarlet was not always the most likeable character.
Additionally, the antagonists of the novel often read like caricatures; they are completely devoid of any awareness of their patronizing, narcissistic nature, nor do they feel any remorse for those that they have wronged. Because of their lack of complexity, these characters often diluted the more tense, serious moments in the novel.
Despite having two engineering degrees that could easily land her a six-figure job, Scarlet recognizes her talent, passion, and potential in fashion, and constantly struggles to convince her family to trust her in pursuing her dreams. The family dynamic between Scarlet and her family is not only relatable and realistic, but it added an emotional depth to the novel that takes it from a light read about finding the good in all challenges, to an empowering story of transformation and growth.
The romance in the novel is refreshing; staying true to the novel’s sentiment of being the best version of yourself so you can best love, help, and serve others, the romance storyline takes a course that is unexpected– in the best way possible.
Full of color, texture, and charm, Miss Scarlet’s School for Patternless Sewing is the perfect book for uplifting women of all ages. Cano-Murillo’s writing is filled with positivity that radiates off the page. Readers will feel like they have a girl group supporting them all the way through the characters’ journeys to believing in themselves, stepping into their power, and discovering their highest potential.
Rating: 8 out of 10