July 17, 2013

Review | A Vintage Affair

Author: Isabel Wolff
Published: January 19, 2009
Publisher: Harper
Pages: 432
Genres: Historical Fiction, Mystery, Romance, Women's Fiction, World War II
Rating: ★★★★☆
Reading Guide from LitLovers

(from Goodreads)
Every dress has a history. And so does every woman.

Phoebe Swift’s friends are stunned when she abruptly leaves a plum job to open her own vintage clothing shop in London—but to Phoebe, it’s the fulfillment of a dream, and her passion. Digging for finds in attics and wardrobes, Phoebe knows that when you buy a piece of vintage clothing, you’re not just buying fabric and thread—you’re buying a piece of someone’s past. But one particular article of clothing will soon unexpectedly change her life.

Thérèse Bell, an elderly Frenchwoman, has an impressive clothing collection. But among the array of elegant suits and couture gowns, Phoebe finds a child’s sky-blue coat—an item with which Mrs. Bell is stubbornly reluctant to part. As the two women become friends, Phoebe will learn the poignant tale of that little blue coat. And she will discover an astonishing connection between herself and Thérèse Bell—one that will help her heal the pain of her own past and allow her to love again.

When I first started reading this book, I didn't think I'd like it, but as I kept reading, I got more and more into it and was able to connect with the characters more. I think the thing that put me off the most was all the fashion terms and lines.

I don't know anything about fashion, so it might as well have been another language for me. Because of that, there were whole paragraphs at times that made absolutely no sense to me. Even though this was the case, there were plenty of parts that were easily understandable making the story enjoyable. It was mostly when she was going through clothes that it happened. For fashion enthusiasts, this could possibly be very informative and make the story interesting. For regular everyday people like me though, I think I would have enjoyed it better if there was less terminology.

There were two things in this story that I didn't expect that were a surprising plus. [Show Spoiler] 

Aside from the fashion terms, there was one more element that frustrated me crazy, the boyfriend's daughter. Roxy was obviously a spoiled brat. It frustrated me how much control Miles gave her over his life. It was more like she was a disgruntled wife rather than his daughter.

An surprisingly fun read with a few twists and turns that I hadn't expected. Wolff does a wonderful job of portraying human character. She had a very descriptive writing style that paints a beautiful picture of the scenes without being excessive. Definitely a good choice for a book club discussion.

- I feel really bad now because I hadn't finished the book in time for my book club, so they didn't really have a discussion. :(

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