I usually do not read romance novels, but when I saw Tailor-made on NetGalley and read the description, I thought it sounded interesting and cute and that is what it turned out to be.
Despite their differences, it was clear from the beginning that the protagonists Grace and Dakota are meant to be together. Over the course of the novel, they have to find out if they can overcome the obstacles in their way. I cannot really say if I like one of them better than the other. Grace Henderson is a dedicated tailor, very feminine, and looking for a serious long-term relationship. Dakota Lane is a bike messenger by day and a male model by night, tom-boyish, and only looking for the occasional woman to take home for the night. The two could not be more different, yet they are instantly attracted to one another. Grace is confused as she usually likes feminine looking partners and Dakota, who came to fame modeling male clothes and is often taken for a man, is wondering if she could settle down with Grace.
I really like how Grace’s profession as a tailor is interwoven in the narrative and how the story evolved around it. While New York as a location is not really original, the setting of Grace’s shop is and gives the romance a unique touch – like the suit Grace is making for Dakota. Moreover, it is nice to read about homosexual characters that more or less are not confronted with homophobia. Grace’s family is really supportive of her and wants her to find a woman for life. While Dakota’s family seems less open to their daughter’s lifestyle, this is not elaborated on in the story and their disapproval has more to do with Dakota’s lifestyle than her sexual orientation.
It was nice to see so many happy lesbian couples that are not used as mere plot devices but just as befriended couples of the protagonists. You can detect that Wallace is writing from an own-voice perspective. Moreover, Wallace might not be a professional writer, but she is an experienced one. You will not find awkward dialogue in this novel and the few make-out scenes do not seem fetishised or exaggerated. Yet, the story often is foreseeable and the absence of any big plot twists makes it less thrilling than it could be.
Wallace tried to include elements of the LGBTQIA+ discourse in her novel, e.g. preferred pronouns and in general, characters who identify as anything but straight (not only homosexual but genderfluid etc.). Although Tailor-made is a romance, she still tried to address these important issues for the LGBTQIA+ community.
Although I am not a huge fan of romance novels, Tailor-made is a cute, entertaining read.