Title: The Dress Shop of Dreams
Author: Menna van Praag
Genre: Fiction / Magical Realism Pages: 263
First published: 2014
Edition: Kindle e-book
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 passers-by, 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.
It took me a long time for this novel to grow on me. I am happy to say it did eventually, but it was too late to unequivocally say I loved this tale.
The characters did little for me for the first third of the novel, but in the end I did really like Cora and Etta’s characters and stories in particular. Unfortunately, I still did not quite manage to feel engaged by Walt, the male lead.
The novel is magical realism, a love story and a mystery rolled into one. Although I had not quite predicted the mystery all the love stories were pretty predictable and unexciting. The writing was a little distant somehow and I just failed to fall in love with the characters.
That may sound like I did not like this novel, but honestly I think it was quite charming and I was happy to read it. There was no point at which I was bored, but neither did the plot or story excite me. It was okay for me.
4 out of 7 stars