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3.6 out of 5 stars
The Secret Lives of Dresses
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 15 January 2011
First of all i need to say that i don't like Chick lit. infact i tend to be wholly disparraging towards it and people who read it. But i wouldn't say that about this book, in fact im not even sure it can be classed as chick lit. Its a wonderful book and though their is a little bit of romance in this book. This is more a book concerned with the relationship of a girl with her grandmother and finally discovering the reality of the saying the clothes maketh the man.

I really enjoyed it and would reccomend it to others.I like how it coaxes the readers to think about the need for fufillment in their lives as well.

Its a beautiful read.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 12 February 2011
Despite the other reviews for this book I found a book where the predominant content is strokes,hospitals,death,funerals and arguements over estates left totally spoilt what I thought would be a nice read. I was hoping for more focus to be on the dress stories and the charm of the vintage shop and its contents.Starting a book with the main female lead stopping off at her Grandmother's house and spending time trying to decide what vintage dress,shoes,accessories etc she could wear to the hospital when she has only just found out about her grandmothers stroke in extremely poor taste-so what that you are wearing an old t shirt and chinos because youve driven straight there from your coffee shop job- just get to the hospital for goodness sake your grandmother is gravely ill!!!!!So please take all this into account as it spoils what could have been a lovely story!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
The book begins with our main character Dora finding out that her grandmother Mimi has had a stroke. Because of this, the only way we actually see Mimi throughout the book is the flashbacks that Dora regularly treats us to, but these are enough to get an idea of what Mimi is like and why Dora loves her so much. Dora herself isn't exactly into fashion, so when she steps into Mimi's vintage clothing store, she's a bit bereft and unsure about what to do. This is where Maux and Gabby step in. Maux has worked for the store for a few years, and is a loud, brash personality that contrasts well with the sedateness of the rest of the book. Gabby is Mimi's somewhat adopted daughter - she's been living with Mimi and Dora long enough to be so anyway, and was a bit of a puzzling character, we didn't get to find out much about her, and her story wasn't forthcoming during the book. Either way, both characters were good, and I especially liked Maux, she really lit up the book when she was in scenes.

Although the book is called "The Secret Lives of Dresses", in my opinion there just weren't enough of these stories inside! The idea is that whenever Dora sells a dress, there may be a Secret Life behind it that Mimi wrote for that dress, and she gives it to the person who buys the dress. I absolutely loved these little tales, and I feel they really added something to the book, and felt so different. For me, however, there just weren't enough of them and I would have loved a lot more interspersed throughout the book as they were so lovely. Dora's utter belief and love for them also makes them more special, she sees them as an attachment to her beloved grandmother, and its fun to read all about the dresses and what sort of life Mimi thinks they will have lived.

This book was an absolute joy to read from start to finish, and I am really pleased to start off my reading year with such a great story. This book has everything for me - a bit of mystery, a bit of love and romance, a bit of sorrow and most of all a well-crafted and enjoyable tale. The characters are all excellent, the book only has a small cast but it suits the book completely, and makes it feel more intimate when you read it. There were a few characters I didn't like so much, Aunt Camille is one of them but is a brash contrast to the other more lovely characters, my favourite of which was Dora. She really does grow during the book, and I really enjoyed going on her journey with her. It's a lovely story, and I certainly do recommend it.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 22 March 2011
I found it difficult to get into this book, or even care about the characters. Dora's grandmother has suffered a stroke but Dora finds time to browse through a selection of vintage clothing, chat to her distant relative and muse about her past in general before going to the hospital. A punchier, immediate beginning would be more grabbing. The chapters are way too long (chapter one is 58 pages) for this type of (supposedly) commercial novel. This was a great premise, the cover is attractive but it just didn't hook me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 9 September 2011
Not even good enough for light holiday reading. This one got left in the hotel lobby book exchange. Whereupon it reappeared rapidly; someone else didn't think much of it either!

This is just SO badly written by an author (blogger) who obviously hasn't written fiction before. Whole chunks are easily skippable (including the letters), Dora is not in the slightest bit sympathetic, she is weak, drifting, a doormat. I won't spoil the ending if you do intend to buy it but suffice to say it's hackneyed and can be spotted a mile off. The women characters are all horrible and the men weak, horrible or dreamboats.

Avoid.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 1 May 2011
This novel is an absolute delight to read. At the centre of the story is a vintage clothing store managed by Dora's grandmother who is taken seriously ill. Dora steps in to look after things and realises there is more to a dress than just the look of it. An engaging read, full of colourful characters, particularly some of the awful relatives, I wholeheartedly recommend this to lovers of romantic fiction with a twist. Enjoy, I did!
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on 1 March 2011
When Dora's grandmother, Mimi falls ill, Dora finds herself fleeing to her bedside. Seeing no choice but to stay she takes takes it upon herself to take over the reins of Mimi's vintage clothes shop to stop it from being run into the ground. It is while she is it the shop that she discovers that her grandmother has been writing stories for some of the dresses in her shop which she passes on to the dresses new owners.

I would say that the story is relatively simple and there are no big shocks or surprises in the book however, it is a plesant and soothing book that left me smiling when I finished it.

There are a number of flashback scenes throughout the book which help us to get to know the real Mimi and her involvement in Dora's life. The cast of characters is somewhat small and I can't say that there were many of them that I warmed to which I think made me like and support Dora more as the book went on.

Overall, this is an enjoyable book which happily passed a few hours away.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 2 March 2011
I bought this book based on the blurb, as I thought that the story would be intriguing and entertaining. It wasn't: it isn't very well written and the pace doesn't really pick up. Buy one of the Annie Valentine books or a Shopaholic for a way better read.
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on 5 February 2011
i bought this book as from reading the back it seemed like a great story where the dresses all have a secret life, who owned them before, where they were worn etc. The book could have explored more on the secret lives to give you a better insight into them - what would have been great is if the secret life was linked to some famous women such as legends in music and film to add a bit of glamour to it. Think this book is good if you are having a lazy time on the beach or on a long journey - overall it's ok but not great.
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on 30 December 2013
Absolutely stunning book. I very rarely read so called "chick books" and most of the time i am sort of disappointed. Luckily not in this case. I loved the read and was really sad when I finished. The book has a lovely climate, is nice and tells about nice people and I love it! There are so many not so nice people around at the momemnt that reading someting opposite was like therapy :)
The book is about love but not very much in a romantic way which to me is only another advantage. Recommend it full heartedly :)
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