Thursday, August 18, 2011

Alice's Review: Little Black Dress

Little Black Dress: A NovelSummary:  Two sisters whose lives seemed forever intertwined are torn apart when a magical little black dress gives each one a glimpse of an unavoidable future.

Antonia Ashton has worked hard to build a thriving career and a committed relationship, but she realizes her life has gone off track. Forced to return home to Blue Hills when her mother, Evie, suffers a massive stroke, Toni finds the old Victorian where she grew up as crammed full of secrets as it is with clutter. Now she must put her mother’s house in order—and uncover long-buried truths about Evie and her aunt, Anna, who vanished fifty years earlier on the eve of her wedding. By shedding light on the past, Toni illuminates her own mistakes and learns the most unexpected things about love, magic, and a little black dress with the power to break hearts . . . and mend them. ~amazon.com

Review:  Some of the hardest reviews to write are those for novels that I love. Yes, this was a hard one. I was hooked from the very beginning. Little Black Dress has dual protagonists: Antonia, a success business woman in her early 40s who did all she could to escape her small town life, and Evie, Antonia’s mother, a woman loyal to the memory of her family but distant from them.

The novel begins with Evie having a stroke and being put into a medically induced coma. Toni comes to her bedside, full of regret and wishing for a relationship that never existed. And so begins their story, told in the present through Toni and the past through Evie.

This novel is incredibly poignant. I loved Evie’s journey. I thoroughly enjoyed how simply it was told, in her voice. Her chapters were the ones I couldn’t wait to read, the ones I loved the most, the ones that brought me to tears. Actually I really liked everything about Evie. She did her best to raise Antonia in a way that cultivated her freedom. She had the romance of a lifetime with her husband Jon. She was fiercely loyal to her mother and father, to their memory and their family business. So many times I wished I could have sat done for a cup of tea with Miss Evie, to ask her questions and hear her stories.

One of the reasons I was so pleased with the story is that it had a bit of the jean magic found in Anne Brashares’ Sisterhood novels. I love the idea of a piece of clothing that fits everyone equally and has the power to foretell the future or make the wearer incredibly propitious. I also loved that family and history was at the core of Little Black Dress.

Not all of it was peaches. Anna’s story (Evie’s vanishing sister) didn’t quite gel for me. I still don’t quite understand her journey. There is one thing that doesn’t fit into the Anna we meet. However if I’m being honest, I chose not to understand because I thought her journey was heartbreaking and sad.

I really enjoyed this novel. Enjoyed doesn’t express it enough. This is the kind of novel I wanted under my pillow at night so when I slept, I’d dream about Evie and that magical little black dress. Heck it made me wish for a charmed little black dress of my own.

Final Take: 4/5





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1 comments :

Amy August 24, 2011 at 11:50 PM  

Great review! I luv reading books where the main characters are close friends, sisters, etc. And I luv magic, ever since I was a little girl. The hobbit and the Chronicles of Narnia were my two fav as a little girl.

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