Thursday, April 17, 2014

Vintage by Susan Gloss

3 Star

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.

Yellow Samsonite suitcase with ivory, quilted lining, 1950s...
Violet Turner had always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. Though she knows the personal history behind each precious item she sells, Violet refuses to acknowledge her own past. When she is faced with the possibility of losing the store, she realizes that, as much as she wants to, she cannot save it alone.

Taffeta tea length wedding gown with scooped neckline and cap sleeves, 1952...
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 won't let her give up on her dreams.

Orange sari made from silk dupioni with gold paisley design, 1968...
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.

Kathryn - 3 Star

Violet has a lot invested in her vintage clothing store and it made me a little nervous that she seemed to have few links to her past- there are times throughout Gloss’ novel when Violet’s grandmother is mentioned but not a lot about parents or friends from her home town.  Her fleeing from the place she grew up was blamed solely on her ex-husband so I wished there had been more positive glimpses into her past. 

The vintage clothing shop is much more than a business and that is the basis of the novel’s story.  Each woman than touches the store has a bigger story to tell than the small moment that relates to the clothing item she brings in and I liked that Gloss introduced or reminded us of the characters by using the clothing they were selling. On occasion the link between item and person seemed a bit stretched and I didn’t think the item was really worthy of the chapter that unfolded, but, on the whole I liked the idea of the piece being a part of the woman and therefore bringing with it a moment or memory of her life. 

While I enjoyed this novel I did find it a bit slow and meandering…and though Vintage was a fun read I didn’t take away anything particularly spectacular except the concept itself. My instinct is to suggest that the secondary character of Betsy might have been a better third main character than Amithi or that Amithi needed to become a stronger presence in the story as it unfolded.  And while Violet was likeable I didn’t find much to relate to for me.

Vintage is on the whole a good chick lit novel with likeable characters and inter woven relationships but it didn’t linger with me like some other recent reads.

Thank you to William Morrow for our review copy. All opinions are our own.

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