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cover28439-mediumIn By Design, Emmie Brewster is not having a good year.  She’s in a dead end job and a dead end relationship, plus she’s just celebrated the first anniversary of her mom’s death.  What she doesn’t need is to see what fabulous lives her high school classmates have.  When a gorgeous man comes in to her office to hire her boss’s interior design firm, she thinks that things could be looking up.  Just as fantasies start to take root she finds out he is involved with one of those successful classmates … a married classmate.  Will she listen her friends and learn to go after what she wants – a better job, a better man, a better life?

It took me a while to read this one and I’m not sure why.  I think the very beginning might have been a little slow but once I got into it I just couldn’t put it down.  I’d try to find a stopping point to do those mundane, everyday things (like cook and eat) but I’d get to the end of a chapter and find myself compelled to keep reading.

Emmie has a horrible boss who treats her like a nobody and, even though she has a design degree, she’s not allowed to do more than get coffee.  Her boyfriend runs around on her and comes back when it is convenient.  Now that her mom has died, it seems like her dad wants nothing more than to explore the world, ignoring Emmie in the process.  And then she finds out that the new guy she’s been crushing on may or may not be dating a married woman.  It’s a complicated, messy situation but definitely one that you could easily see happening in real life.

She does have support, though – wonderful, sweet, quirky people who are a treat to read.  And she eventually learns to find that inner woman who knows who she is and what she wants and is brave enough to do something about it.  Some people may not approve of Graham – either his actions before or after meeting Emmie – but I thought the resolution to all of their issues was beautifully done and I cheered for Emmie through the last third of the book.

By Design is an engaging story not only about finding love, but also about finding yourself.