Wednesday, March 2, 2011
The Secret Lives of Dresses...Review
Dora has always taken the path of least resistance. She went to the 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 college coffee shop, and a crush on her flirty boss, Gary.
Just when she's about to test Gary's feelings, Mimi, the grandmother who raised her, suffers a stroke. Dora rushes back home to Forsyth, NC, and finds herself running her grandmother's vintage clothing store. 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 she even knew how to write, Mimi taught her that a vintage 1920s dress could lift a woman's spirit.
While working there, Dora befriends Mimi's adorable contractor, Conrad. Is he after Dora, or is working from a different blueprint? And why did Mimi start writing down--and giving away--stories of the dresses in her shop?
When Mimi dies, Dora can't get out of town fast enough and cedes control of the store to her money-hungry aunt who wants to turn it into a t-shirt shop for tourists. But ultimately, she returns to Forsyth, willing to battle whatever may stand in the way of her staying there. Dora can trade her boring clothes for vintage glamour, but can she trade her boring life for one she actually wants?
When Dora returns to her hometown to see her ill grandmother, she is at a crossroads and unsure of her future. As she begins working in her grandmother's vintage clothing store she discovers friends and a completely unexpected life, complete with the handsome man and annoying relatives.
When Dora discovered the origins of the dresses' secret lives, I was pleased that it hadn't been completely predictable. I wasn't quite sure what to expect from this story, but I was pleasantly surprised. The characters are likeable. The premise is interesting and the secret lives are fascinating. I love the idea that a dress could have a history and an opinion of its owners and experiences being worn. What a terrific way to look at clothing.
My only complaint is the unnecessary profanity. Even thought it was one character and meant to be part of her personality, it's still disappointing to see it in print.
An enjoyable story and one I can easily recommend.
Thanks to my local library for having a copy I could borrow. You can learn more about Erin McKean and the secret lives of other dresses here. You can purchase your own copy here.
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