CROWNING DESIGN - Leila Meacham
Grand Central Publishing
Virginia, Georgia, and Denver, Colorado - Present Day
A truly beautiful Southern Belle, Deborah Standbridge did have her own dreams of becoming an architect, but she was too well trained by her domineering parents to disoblige them. At twenty-one, her mother succeeded in maneuvering her into an engagement to the son of an old friend and sorority sister. Roger Lawson was entirely happy with his chosen-for-him bride, though he could do without all the pretentious hoopla that goes with a society wedding. (These Southern mamas appear to always get their own way.)
Between the elaborate engagement party and the wedding day, Deborah receives an offer of employment in Denver from a noted architectural firm. For once she does what she wants. She accepts the offer and breaks off with Roger. Not long afterward, Roger is dead and his mother blames Deborah, and so, it seems, does her world.
Deborah is well received in Denver--her new boss very welcoming. After eight years of success, however, when she is assigned to design a complex for the Parker Corporation in an older neighborhood, she has some reservations. The meeting with Daniel Parker, the boss's son, is not smooth sailing. She has a feeling he doesn't like her--something she's not used to from men.
Eventually, Deborah wins Parker to her point of view over allowing two long established small businesses to remain where it is. A relationship grows between the two, but all does not go well with it or the new construction. Is it her fault? Or is there sabotage going on?
First published in 1984, CROWNING DESIGN is highly suspenseful, both as to the work and the possible love match. It's one of those books where everyone has secrets and you wish the protagonists would just talk to each other. But then the story would not be as gripping. It moves right along, packing a lot into just about 200 pages.