Tuesday, July 7, 2009

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

3 Star

When Phoebe Swift quits her job to start her own vintage clothing shop in London, she adores searching for the dresses and loves even more when they're bought and loved by someone new. As she gets her business off the ground, she finds herself dealing with her increasingly demanding mother, being pursued by two different men and still haunted by her past. When she meets Thérèse Bell, an elderly woman selling her vintage clothing collection, they become friends and eventually Phoebe finds out the story of the little blue dress the woman covets and reveals her own dark past, learning to move forward along the way.

Lydia - 3 Star

I thought A Vintage Affair was a cute and enjoyable read. I loved reading about the vintage clothing, and found the details interesting which I didn’t think I would, so the author did a great job at mixing in the details with the storyline for us without vintage experience. I also liked Mrs. Bell’s story and Phoebe’s parent’s storyline. I liked Phoebe, but wasn’t particularly drawn to her and definitely did not get emotionally attached. I stayed detached, but maybe that’s because her character largely was too.

I was not blown away by anything in this novel, yet I don’t have anything negative to say. I have a terrible feeling that this book might eventually become unmemorable, but maybe not as I’ll likely remember Mrs. Bell’s story. It’s not usually one you usually find in chick lit.

A Vintage Affair made me smile in spots, but didn’t laugh out loud too often, nor did I shed any tears. I did find it a little sappy and predictable in parts, especially those that bought the ‘cupcake’ dresses. Overall, I’m rating this as a 3 star because, although I enjoyed it, I’m not sure I would recommend it over other books.

Kathryn - 3 Star

Vintage Affair is the name of the vintage clothing shop that the protagonist, Phoebe, opens at the beginning of this single girl lit. I liked Phoebe a lot and really loved all the details about the clothing throughout the novel. I’m not a vintage clothing girl but loved the descriptions and could picture them on the mannequins, waiting to be bought. I also really believed in Phoebe’s passion for the whole business of vintage clothing, from buying to repairs to displaying to selling. She was entirely convincing in that respect.

I did, however, have a harder time believing the rest of her character. She seemed so strong a person in business that I would have expected her to be stronger with her relationships. Her love interest, Miles, although sweet, seems to be far too much of a pushover with his daughter to be interesting to Phoebe, and yet she keeps trying for most of the novel. That was irritating.

However (again), I really loved the friendship with Mrs. Bell and was desperate for that storyline to get some joy out of the deep sadness. I was really interested in her shop assistant, the shop customers and her friend Dan which did make up for the Miles bits.

I enjoyed this but I think I would have liked it more if her love interest had been better or just gone altogether!

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