Tuesday, September 2, 2014

The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna Van Praag

What They Say.......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.

What I Say.......So many parts of this book I really enjoyed.  I loved the magical realism, and I loved the interwoven stories.  I loved Etta and Walt and the Saint, heck, I even liked Milly.

But I never got invested in Cora.  I get that she was a scientist so feelings weren't her strong suit.  But she was so completely closed off that it actually made me not care too much about her, or care too much about her story.  I ended up feeling like Walt deserved better.

But I was enjoying Etta's story, and even following the mix up that was Walt and Milly, but the mystery storyline seemed really awkward, like it was plopped in the middle of the wrong bookAll the science jargon seemed really jarring and the detective's storyline with his estranged wife just seemed weird.

Having said all that, I'd read the author again.  There was enough good to offset the weird.

3 Stars

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