Synopsis: Every dress has a history. And so does every woman.
Phoebe Swift’s friends are stunned when she abruptly leaves a plum job to open her own vintage clothing shop in London—but to Phoebe, it’s the fulfillment of a dream, and her passion. Digging for finds in attics and wardrobes, Phoebe knows that when you buy a piece of vintage clothing, you’re not just buying fabric and thread—you’re buying a piece of someone’s past. But one particular article of clothing will soon unexpectedly change her life.
Thérèse Bell, an elderly Frenchwoman, has an impressive clothing collection. But among the array of elegant suits and couture gowns, Phoebe finds a child’s sky-blue coat—an item with which Mrs. Bell is stubbornly reluctant to part. As the two women become friends, Phoebe will learn the poignant tale of that little blue coat. And she will discover an astonishing connection between herself and Thérèse Bell—one that will help her heal the pain of her own past and allow her to love again.
Why I Chose This Book: I love any book that combines England, something lovely, a young woman taking a risk, and a hobby I would love to know more about. In this case, it was vintage fashion. This book has ‘Rachel’ written ALL over it.
First Impressions: I love the illustrated style of this cover. The other versions of the cover are way more generic and dreadful, but this one is warm, inviting, and relaxing. I would like it if the dresses drawn were the ones that played an important role in the book, like the cupcake dresses! But I’m being picky at this point, so I’ll move on.
What I Liked: SO MUCH. From the beginning, it was clear that there was more to her story, and I couldn’t wait to see what she wasn’t telling. Typically, I hate books that rely on deliberately hidden information for suspense, but this was so organic. Phoebe was grieving, and wasn’t in a place to address aspects of what happened until other things happened first. It was such an interesting look into the world of vintage fashion, and within the first few chapters I had mentally added it to my list of dream careers. Also, the love interest was unclear, and I love that.
What I Didn’t Like: This is less of a ‘didn’t like’ and more of a ‘would have been cool’. The dresses are described in such lovely ways, that I would have LOVED to see pictures of the pieces mentioned, even in a gallery in the back. I hated Roxy so so much, and Miles because of his terrible parenting. I wish we’d seen more of Emma, and I would so read a book about her and her hats!
Rating and Recommendations: For fans of The Language of Flowers, fashion, and tastes of WWII accounts.
Final Thoughts: It reminded me so much of Language of Flowers in that I instantly wanted to know more about this world and history. I’m looking forward to adding more of Wolff’s work to my shelves!