Friday, April 17, 2015


Susan Gloss


Genre: Fiction

Summary (from Goodreads): 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.

Review:  I generally like books where different women come together, forge friendships, and support each other through various life issues, and this book was no exception.  It reminded me of Debbie Macomber's The Shop on Blossom Street and Mary Alice Monroe's The Book Club and several other books that I've read and enjoyed.  The major difference is that this book is set in a vintage clothing shop, and each chapter starts out by describing a vintage item that is important to one of the main characters.  Violet was a beautifully drawn character, a strong modern woman who goes after what she wants; she has a love for discovering the story behind the old pieces of clothes that she owns, and also has an interesting tattoo.  April was very mature and responsible for her age, it was difficult to believe that she was only 18, but she immediately tugged on my heartstrings as she prepared to shoulder single-motherhood.  Amithi was the least sympathetic character, simply because it didn't feel like she got as much story time.  I think this book would have benefited from being a little longer, so that more could be revealed about Amithi, and so that the love story between Violet and her boyfriend could have taken longer to develop.  There were times the dialogue didn't ring quite true, and I felt like the characters in general didn't act very practically, but overall this was a delightful book to read on a beautiful spring day.  Oh, it was also fun that it was set in Madison and that I recognized some of the places and traditions.

Rating: 4 stars

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