Saturday, March 29, 2014

Book Review: Vintage

VintageAuthor: Susan Gloss
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow & Company

A sparkling debut novel in the vein of The Friday Night Knitting Club, centered around a Midwestern vintage clothing shop and a group of women who eventually transform the store and each others' lives.

At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell . . . and so do the women who are drawn there.

Yellow Samsonite suitcase with ivory, quilted lining, 1950s...
Violet Turner had always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. Though she knows the personal history behind each precious item she sells, Violet refuses to acknowledge her own past. When she is faced with the possibility of losing the store, she realizes that, as much as she wants to, she cannot save it alone.

Taffeta tea length wedding gown with scooped neckline and cap sleeves, 1952...
Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect 1950s wedding dress, she discovers unexpected possibilities and friends who won't let her give up on her dreams.

Orange sari made from silk dupioni with gold paisley design, 1968...
Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her old clothes, remnants of her past life. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears she has nothing more ahead for her.

An engaging story that beautifully captures the essence of women's friendship and love, Vintage is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal and hope when we least expect it.

Violent sensed the girl had a story to tell, and listening to other people’s stories was her specialty.

Every item in the boutique had a story behind it, from a Missoni caftan to a Fendi baguette bag with the tags still on it. If Violet didn’t know the real story behind something, she liked to use her imagination.

This baby was her only hope for having anything that resembled a family.

Three women bond in a vintage dress shop. This sounded like a story that was right up my alley. Turned out, I was right. I have always been so intrigued by stories with multiple viewpoints, and this one is no exception. Firstly, there is Violet who owns Hourglass Vintage, where the three women meet, and is about to be evicted from her beloved store. Next, there is April a pregnant, unwed teen who is and out of luck and options. And lastly we have Amithi, who has just discovered that her marriage was not all that she thought it was, nor was it founded in love and stability. These three women, each dealing with different dilemmas, but somehow use them to bond over beautiful vintage gowns.

This book very much centers around the idea of hope. The story took me to such a happy place. Violet’s store, Hourglass Vintage, is where most of the story takes place. Not only are the lives of the three women mentioned above shared with readers, but also many customers who visit Violet’s shop. Many of her customers are dealing with their own struggles just like Violet and her friends. Even though through much of the story Violet is facing eviction, she learns to rely on the comfort that her customers truly bring to her life.

Friendship is a strong theme throughout this book, and this idea grows more and more as the three main characters bond. They bond over their past and their present, and hopes they have for their futures. This book will be a true treat for anyone who loves women’s fiction. Did I mention this was a debut novel? Yes, and such a remarkable one!

***A free copy of this book was provided to me by the publishers at William Morrow in exchange for my honest review***

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