About the book:
In this story of sisterhood and unexpected paths, Gaylen Syler-Boatwright flees her unraveling marriage to take refuge in a mountain cottage owned by her deceased aunt. Burdened with looking after her adult sister, Delia, she is shocked to find a trail of family secrets hidden within her aunt’s odd collection of framed, painted dresses. With Delia, who attracts trouble as a daily occupation, Gaylen embarks on a road trip that throws the unlikely pair together on a journey to painful understanding and delightful revelations.
Steeped in Hickman’s trademark humor, her spare writing voice, and the bittersweet pathos of the South, Painted Dresses powerfully captures a woman’s desperate longing to uncover a hidden, broken life and discover the liberty of living authentically, even when the things exposed are shrouded in shame.
Let's see: well-written...check; compelling...no; interesting...check; did I like it...not really.
I had high hopes that I would enjoy this novel. Set in the south, it's the story of Gaylen and her sister Delia. When their father dies, Gaylen returns to small town North Carolina for the funeral. Her marriage is in disarray and she needs some time away. She and her sister travel to their aunt's mountain cabin for some solitude. Her sister is a bit wacky and attracts trouble.
Gaylen uncovers many questions about her deceased mother and the family secrets. At her aunt's cabin, she discovers a collection of painted dresses: actual dresses her aunt mounted and painted over or embellished, and then framed. Each dress is marked with a note of to whom the painting should be given. On the run from a hit man after her sister, the two of them embark on a journey to return the paintings. Along the way they have some adventure and each time they drop off a painting, they find another answer to their family story.
Predictably, they reconcile their own differences, Gaylen and her husband reconnect, and they find out the answers to their questions.
In theory, it sounds like a great story. And, in some ways, it is. I just didn't connect with the characters. I didn't care if Gaylen reconciled with Braden. I didn't care if they ever found Truman and found out why he was really in prison.
I had to force myself to finish it, and truth be told, I skimmed the last part. It was easy to do and I still didn't miss any details.
I can't recommend it.
Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. If you're so inclined to purchase it, you can do so here.