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A Vintage Affair [Paperback]

Isabel Wolff
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
Price: 7.99 & FREE Delivery in the UK on orders over 10. Details
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Book Description

19 Jan 2009

Do fairytale dresses bring fairytale endings?

Every dress has a history, so does Phoebe…

Phoebe always dreamt of opening her own vintage dress shop. She imagined every detail, from the Vivienne Westwood bustiers hanging next to satin gowns, to sequinned cupcake dresses adorning the walls.

At the launch of Village Vintage, Phoebe feels the tingle of excitement as customers snap up the fairytale dresses. Her dream has come true, but a secret from her past is casting a shadow over her new venture.

Then one day she meets Therese, an elderly Frenchwoman with a collection to sell, apart from one piece that she won't part with …

As Therese tells the story of the little blue coat, Phoebe feels a profound connection with her own life, one that will help her heal the pain of her past and allow her to love again.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (19 Jan 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007245823
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007245826
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (69 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 150,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Isabel Wolff read English at Cambridge and was a journalist and broadcaster before becoming a full time writer. A Sunday Times bestseller, her nine poignant romantic comedies are published in 30 languages. Her last novel 'The Very Picture of You' was published in September 2011 and her previous one,'A Vintage Affair' was an Amazon Book of the Year. Isabel's new novel, 'Ghostwritten', set in present-day Cornwall and on Java during the Japanese occupation, will be published in the spring of 2014. Isabel lives in London with her partner, their children, her younger stepson and their cocker spaniel puppy. In her spare time she enjoys playing the piano, tennis, and table football. If you'd like to know more about Isabel please visit www.IsabelWolff.com or see the 'Isabel Wolff Author' page on Facebook. Thank you...

Product Description


Praise for Isabel Wolff’s previous bestsellers:

• ‘Pure feel-good escapism. Perfect’ Sophie Kinsella

• ‘A touching, compulsive read. Love it!’ OK!

• ‘Old passions are re-ignited but should Laura risk everything on a past love or stick with her safe life? A charming, funny and unpredictable read’ Company

• ‘A resigned singleton, Laura’s world is rocked when her first boyfriend reappears. Compulsive’ Heat

• ‘Funny, charming, upbeat and unputdownable’ Marian Keyes

• ‘An engaging creation with a knack in witty one-liners’
Sunday Express


`Romance in a vintage clothes shop - we were sold from line one. Luckily, this book lives up to its hype, and is filled with all the sensory goodness that leads to inevitable comparisons to Joanne Harris - this is an author to bookmark.'
Irish Tatler

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 56 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So enjoyable! 26 Jan 2009
I was stuck at an airport with a few hours to kill when the blurb for this book caught my interest. I picked it up found a spot to curl up in an proceeded to pass some of the most enjoyable hours I've ever spent waiting at an airport and flying home.

The story is about Phoebe Swift who after a major upheval in her life throws up her perfectly good job to open a vintage clothing store. This brings her into contact with Therese, an elderly Frenchwoman who is selling her collection of clothes except for one little blue coat. Phoebe connects with Therese as she shares the story of the blue coat.

The characters are very sympathetically drawn and the story behind the blue coat is both powerful and moving. There's not many chick lit writers who could manage a story about the holocaust as one of the key elements of their novel, and carry it off without it being maudlin or miserable.

All in all, an excellent read that I would highly recommend and that I'll be loaning to all my friends.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars extremenly touching 9 May 2009
Extremely touching...

This is a wonderful and very moving book about friendship, regret and redemption. Firstly, its a poignant story of a friendship between two women (one old, one young) who both feel that they betrayed their best friend - one recently and one during the war. But the book also contains many humourous moments, some intriguing mysteries and a romance. It is in addition very well written - particularly so the descriptions of Provence. As for the clothes that Phoebe sells in her vintage dress shop, I can only say that now I will never look at an old garment in quite the same way. Like Isabel Wolff I will wonder what story it might tell.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly enjoyable... 8 Feb 2009
By LittleReader VINE VOICE
IW's latest offering is wondeful! I enjoyed every page - the pace was perfect and the story was human and very readable.
Phoebe, early thirties, opens up a vintage clothes shop and with it, her life story unfolds. We are swept on a romantic, often witty, always poignant tale of best friends and regrets that can last a lifetime. Mrs Bell, an old lady befriended by phoebe has a sad tale to tell and through it, Phoebe is able to work through some of her own pain.
From the beginning, there is a warmth to this novel and the characterisation is superb - you get under the skin of the central characters and want to stay there. The tale is cleverly interwoven with a few interesting and relevant sub-plots that didn't feel, as they often can, superfluous and like 'padding out'...
I read this in just a couple of sittings and having read, and enjoyed, all of IW's other novels, this is probably my favourite. She writes with a maturity and emotional dexterity that was lacking in her earlier work.
Highly recommended...
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Red Rock Bookworm TOP 1000 REVIEWER
If you love all things vintage (movies, clothing, music, people) you're sure to enjoy A VINTAGE AFFAIR by Isabel Wolfe. This book falls into my special category of "heartwarming but not quite chick-lit". The story of Phoebe Swift a thirty-something year old who, following the death of her best friend Emma, decides to quit her lucrative job with Sotheby's and open a shop specializing in vintage apparel is appealing on several levels. If Vogue is your bible then this book is a veritable who's who of fashion designers and a catalog of their creations from the 20's to the 80's. On the other hand, if you are seeking a story that embraces subjects like love, hate, jealousy, divorce, friendship, emotional and physical loss, coping with grief and guilt and the horrors of WWII you will find those between these pages too.

Each item at the Village Vintage shop represents a fragment of one person's past and another's future. I will refrain from recounting the story for that would ruin your pleasure in forming your own impression of each individual for yourself. Suffice to say that Isabel Wolff has created a novel filled with endearing and memorable characters whose life stories will intrigue you and take you on an emotional roller coaster ride.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Nicola F (Nic) TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I was so looking forward to reading this book, particularly after having recently read `The Dress' which explores a similar premise of romance and vintage clothing. Personally, I found this book infinitely better than that one- it is beautifully written and has a lot more substance about it than I'd initially anticipated. The characters are very well drawn and the settings are very vividly depicted- from London to Provence. By the time I'd finished this book I really felt like I knew Phoebe and her life very well indeed.

Phoebe Swift hasn't had the best of times recently. She decides to quit her job at Southerby's and live her dream- that of running a vintage dress shop. As Phoebe gets swept up in the drama of her shop, it comes with a few unexpected dramas of its own...

If this summary makes this book sound a little bit frothy, then I apologise, because it genuinely isn't. The pretty girlie cover makes it out to be typical chicklit when in actuality the book interweaves a couple of serious plot lines- including that of the Holocaust. I was really surprised to find myself blubbing on the train at a couple of points in this book as the storyline veered off into that territory actually- this is the first `chicklit' that has ever made me cry!

I feel like I have had to deduct half a star, merely because there was a bit of a jump forwards at the end, and everything felt tied up perhaps a little bit too quickly when it came to Phoebe's love life. I for one would have liked to have had a little bit of explanation as to how such things came about- for me that is the best bit of a romance novel! Despite this little niggle at the ending being a bit too quick though, I genuinely loved this book. It was a wonderful read and I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it if you like contemporary romances with a little bit of a difference.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars A really good read
This was the first ( an best so far) Isabel Wolf I have read, several since. A clever, thought provoking plot. Was sorry to finish it.
Published 3 months ago by Budcat
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome story
Read this entire book on a plane journey.Inspired me so much that I came home and opened a Vintage store!
Published 4 months ago by Ann Entwistle
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting but a bit far fetched!
The main plot and sub plot with the old lady are both a little far fetched I think. Both situations seem to involve dramatic responses to difficult issues, but I thought it all... Read more
Published 6 months ago by Jacqueline Reed
4.0 out of 5 stars Easy fun read
Good old fashioned yarn of a book. Rainy day comfort reading with one or two thought provoking issues included. Challenge anyone not to enjoy. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Sarah
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable story.
I like(most)of Ms Wolff's work so was looking forward to my holiday reading, which included this book and 'The Making of Minty Malone' and 'Out of the Blue'. Read more
Published 8 months ago by lyssa
5.0 out of 5 stars What a beautiful story
I have never read a book by this author before, and I just couldn't put it down. A good plot with many twists and turns and a happy ending too. Enjoy!
Published 10 months ago by 123 Jump
5.0 out of 5 stars perfect for any vintage lover
good and reasonable condition for a second hand copy.

One of my new fave books. A typical chick flick/romance telling a cute story with a surprisingly dark twist. Read more
Published 11 months ago by josella caci
5.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyed every minute of it
This was a really good read :) Shame when it came to the end. Well written & very enjoyable. Please read it.
Published 12 months ago by Carajan
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoroughly entertaining
I really loved this book. The characters were very realistic and i loved the story behind every customer who bought a dress from Phoebe's vintage dress shop (a bit like Chocolat)! Read more
Published 12 months ago by Lancaster Lucy
3.0 out of 5 stars Cupcake Dresses
It would have done well as a picture book... I kept having to stop and google vintage clothing as I read but as a result have fallen in love with cupcake dresses. Read more
Published 13 months ago by CJuniperG
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