Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Alice's Review: Vintage

 photo Vintage_zps06f25abf.png

Author: Susan Gloss
Series: None
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Publisher: William Morrow & Company
Pages: 320
Obtained: Publisher
Genre:  Contemporary, Womens Fiction
Rating: 4
Bottom Line: Quirky shop owner's coming of age.
Grab, Just get it at the library, or Remove from your TBR list? Grab
Summary:  At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell . . . and so do the women who are drawn there.  Violet Turner has always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. When she is faced with the possibility of losing it, she realizes that, as much as she wants to, she cannot save it alone.  Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect 1950s wedding dress, she discovers unexpected possibilities and friends who wont let her give up on her dreams.  Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her old clothes, remnants of her past life. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears she has nothing more ahead for her.  An engaging story that beautifully captures the essence of womens friendship and love, Vintage is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal and hope when we least expect it. ~powells.com

Review:  Vintage is a great story about the owner of a vintage clothing and goods store in a Midwestern city and the wonderful people who cross her path.

I’ll start by saying that I loved the location. I never once thought I would enjoy a visit to Madison, Wisconsin until now. It’s the kind of novel where the city itself is a main character. Madison is as eccentric and charming as her inhabitants. It’s also a place pictured myself completely enjoying and one I have added to my Places To Visit list.

I loved the characters. Violet was quirky and entertaining. I enjoyed her journey, her great sense of style, and her overall way of life. She was always true to herself and never wavered on what was important to her. The downside was she was very set in her ways and as the saying goes, couldn’t see the forest from the trees. There were times when I had to roll my eyes at her and the choices she made. If she were my friend, I think I would have shaken some sense into her on more than one occasion.

April was insightful, mature beyond her 18 years. She was dealt with a lot and handled it with grace that is uncharacteristic for someone her age. Yet she felt the most authentic of all the three women.

My favorite was Amithi Singh. The way she dealt with her husband’s betrayal was sad and heart wrenching. My heart went out to her. As a first generation American myself, I appreciated how she had to balance the old country with her new world. She was everything you would expect her to not be. Bold, daring, and finally ready to start living the life she wanted.

I really enjoyed this novel. I could see myself at Hourglass Vintage, browsing the displays and chatting with Violet, hearing her tell the stories of the unique pieces in her shop. It was a fun time, however you know how authentic I like a story to feel. Novels, although works of fiction, need to be real in order for me to enjoy them. Mostly though, a novel needs to have life and a soul. Vintage started out with all that but somehow lost a bit of the soul in the end. I think it was because the ending was too perfect. There were a few things that happened at the end that didn’t make sense to me. As my boyfriend likes to say, things happened to “move the story along.” I think it did Vintage a real disservice because it didn’t feel organic and I questioned the authors choices.

That’s the only minor flaw I found. Overall, it has great characters, a great setting and a whole lot of happy endings all around.



Beth Hoffman March 25, 2014 at 3:08 PM  

I love when a location in a novel becomes a character. Terrific review! This one is going on my list.

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