TITLE: The Secret Lives of Dresses
AUTHOR: Erin McKean
INFO: Paperback, Fiction, 290 pages
PUBLISHED: 5-Spot, 2011
SOURCE: Received from Publisher for Review
FROM THE BACK COVER: Dora has always taken the path of least resistance. She went tot he college that offered her a scholarship, is majoring in "vagueness studies", and wears whatever shows the least dirt. She falls into a job at the campus coffee shop and a crush on her cute boss...and has no idea what she's going to do next.
But when Mimi, the grandmother who raised her, suffers a stroke, Dora rushes back home to Forsyth, NC, and finds herself running Mimi's vintage dress shop. The store has always been a fixture in Dora's life, though she grew up more of a jeans-and-sweatshirt kind of girl. Before Dora even knew how to write, Mimi taught her that a vintage 1920s dress could lift a woman's spirit. While there, Dora befriends Mimi's adorable contractor, Conrad. Is he after Dora, or is he working from a different blueprint? She also makes a curious discovery: Mimi has been writing down-and giving away-the stories of the dresses in her shop.
Battling building codes and selfish relatives, Dora ultimately finds herself willing to face whatever may stand in the way of her staying in Forsyth. She can trade her boring clothes for vintage glamour, but can she trade her boring life for one she actually wants?
MY TAKE: The first word that pops into the mind with the book is "sweet". It truly was a sweet story that made you feel good after reading it. (It also made me want to run out and find some pretty vintage dresses..)
The author did a lovely job of creating likable characters in Dora, Conrad, Gabby and Maux. I felt like they were all friends of mine. I also couldn't stand the "other" half of the family: Uncle John, Aunt Camille and cousin Tyffanee. They were perfectly horrible people that make you glad they're not your own relatives.
I really enjoyed the premise of the story regarding the dresses' secret lives. While some of the dress stories were a bit long, they were interesting. It was a very creative way of sharing some of the histories.
Dora's love life was a bit of a mess. She couldn't decide if she was in love with her boss Gary or if she had feelings for Conrad, her grandmother's contractor pal. I liked the flashbacks that shared Dora and Mimi's relationship with the reader. Maux and Gabby were a lot of fun to get to know. Their fierce protection of Dora was heartwarming.
Highly recommended as a sweet, feel-good story that will definitely make you want to rethink your wardrobe!
WHERE TO BUY IT: Amazon and The Book Depository
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