Friday, 2 January 2015

The Dress Shop of Dreams - Menna Van Praag




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.


I admit the title of this book had me at "dress". I love fashion and sewing, for me this book didn't deliver quite enough of either. It's not really all about the dress shop but more about her Granddaughter Cora. There is also a heavy dose of magic and not much realism so be prepared to suspend your disbelief and enter a little part of wonderland. Misunderstandings also feature strongly in the book, I had to keep reminding myself that this would surely all work out ok in the end.  Around two thirds of the way through the book takes more of a whodunnit turn and I began to enjoy it for that element.
It's probably just me but I kept thinking the book was set in America, maybe the names and the fact that I don't know of any bookshops that serve Cherry pie! Each time Oxford or Cambridge was mentioned I got a reminder that this was indeed set in England.
I would love to visit a Street that had this wonderful dress shop and a bookshop serving Cherry pie.
I'm giving this book a maybe, only because it won't be to everyone's taste due to the "magical" elements.

I'd like to thank Random House Publsihing and Netgalley for letting me have a copy of this kindle book to review.

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