Tuesday, April 25, 2017
REVIEW: The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag
Author: Menna van Praag
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: December, 2014
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Buy The Book: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible
Description: Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her Grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.
Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells—like true love—can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.
My Thoughts: An enjoyable story by new to me author Menna van Praag, The Dress Shop of Dreams could have used more magic to really knock my socks off. The magic that is referred to and inferred throughout this book really doesn’t have an impact on any of the characters and certainly not brought on by Etta. The magic of this story is that it resides within each of the characters and is up to them to reach for it and bring it to life within their lives.
This story is not a fast read. It’s very methodical and moves at a snail’s pace at times. Normally, that would annoy me, but with so many characters and their stories overlapping and intertwining with one another, if this book moved faster than it did, I would have been hopelessly lost.
Parts of this story made me laugh, made me cry and made me so angry I wanted to throw the Kindle against the wall in frustration. The magic awaiting all of the characters was a joy to behold and I had a hard time deciding which character was my favorite.
My Final Verdict: This is not a great book or what I would call “keeper-shelf”, but it was a good story that kept me engaged and interested in the characters and what would become of them all. I recommend this book to readers who have a curious nature about what will happen next.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy of The Dress Shop of Dreams from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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