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 colourfully 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....
©2014 Menna Van Praag (P)2015 Recorded Books Inc
"Dresses, dreams, magic and mystery swirl in this enchanting novel. The Dress Shop of Dreams is the book to read before turning off your bedside light." (Nancy Thayer)
"Big-hearted, beautiful and brushed with magic, this novel celebrates life’s moments of joy, possibility and transformation. Menna van Praag’s writing is bright with sparkles and lovely grace notes." (Susan Wiggs)
Did the author ever meet a dedicated scientist? Did she ever try to count leaves on a plant? [Hint: what proportion of the leaves can you see?]
Take a totally unbelievable and unlikeable protagonist, put them in highly unlikely situations, and give them stilted dialogue.
Then add a narrator who makes an exhibition of her elocution...
No, I didn't finish the book. I only have so much time to waste. Wasting the money on it was bad enough!
Mostly loved it and found it gripping. Well written except for the periodic lapses into cloying Mills and Boon style descriptions of attractive men. Narration brilliant 99% of the time.
I review books and audiobooks, mostly mystery, police procedurals, That's about it!
A Serendipitous Purchase ...
This book is so very different to my usual crime fiction picks that even I wondered why I bought it. The thing is, I was in a bit of a reading slump, the audiobook on my app was awful, in both content and quality, so I returned it to Audible, something I rarely do.
I opened my Audible Australia page ready to spend my new credit and there, floating along on the slider, was this book entitled “The Dress Shop of Dreams” and I was, quite simply, drawn to it.
A whimsical turn in behaviour for me I can tell you!
I was rapidly immersed in this entrancing story of clever Cora the scientist who lived for two things; her work and to discover the truth surrounding the death of her parents. Her Aunt Etta who, in her own special way, liked nothing better than to make right the troubled lives of others, and Walt, hapless Walt who had loved Cora since childhood.
The most fascinating aspect of the story is Etta’s Gift. She would just know if any of her customers were in need, she would sew her little red star into a dress and persuade them to try it on. Immediately they would feel transformed, and able to do whatever it took to change their lives for the better.
The story is, in fact a little more complex than it at first seems, there’s a little magic, a little love and a little mystery.
I thoroughly enjoyed this heart warming story and was very happy to sit back and let the mystical tale wash over me.
Narrated by the fabulous Jane Carr, a voice that most listeners will recognise. Jane Carr has an acting resume as long as your arm including many popular television series.
I can’t fault her performance, she is a true professional . Every character is given a distinct and appropriate voice, eliminating any doubt as to who was speaking, that is a huge plus. Pacing is perfect, and she brings a sparkling vitality to the words and so bringing the story to life
I’m glad that I disregarded the “chicklit” label!
This book earned 5 Stars for the sheer enjoyment and pleasure it brought.
"21st Century Jane Austen"
As a fashion designer, I loved the in depth descriptions of the sumptuous fabrics inside the magical dress shop. The story revolves around unrequited love and the importance of having a basic confidence in oneself to make your own magic happen. The chapters end with bombshells... be warned... you won't be able to stop listening!
"Escapism at his worst"
Full of common places about love and uncommunicative and manipulative females characters with the notable exception of the protagonist.
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