Thursday, July 27, 2017

Book Review - The Dress in the Window by Sofia Grant

Book Synopsis
World War II has ended and American women are shedding their old clothes for the gorgeous new styles. Voluminous layers of taffeta and tulle, wasp waists, and beautiful color—all so welcome after years of sensible styles and strict rationing.

Jeanne Brink and her sister Peggy both had to weather every tragedy the war had to offer—Peggy now a widowed mother, Jeanne without the fiancĂ© she’d counted on, both living with Peggy’s mother-in-law in a grim mill town.  But despite their grey pasts they long for a bright future—Jeanne by creating stunning dresses for her clients with the help of her sister Peggy’s brilliant sketches.

Together, they combine forces to create amazing fashions and a more prosperous life than they’d ever dreamed of before the war. But sisterly love can sometimes turn into sibling jealousy. Always playing second fiddle to her sister, Peggy yearns to make her own mark. But as they soon discover, the future is never without its surprises, ones that have the potential to make—or break—their dreams.


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review
The Dress in the Window tells the story of two sisters living in a mill town post World War II.  They are both alone (Peggy is a widow with a young child, and Jeanne lost her fiance), so they live with Jeanne's mother-in-law.  Although they are very poor, they both are talented and go into business together designing dresses.  Even when they have success, they have conflict with each other and struggle to find happiness.

The writing in this book is beautiful.  The descriptions are vivid and lyrical.  The book begains with a visit to Brunskill, Pennsylvania in the Winter of 1945.  It is told in second person, and "you" are visiting an old abandoned woolen mill where a couple has a late night tryst.

The book then shifts to telling the story from different viewpoints:  sisters Jeanne and Peggy, mother-in-law Thelma, and later, Peggy's daughter Tommie.  The storyline moves from 1948 to 1953.

I loved the dressmaking details in the book.  Each long section was titled after a fabric, and the narrative in that section fits intriguingly in with the fabric.   For instance, the first section is Taffeta, and it tells how making a taffeta dress changes the sisters' lives.

I found a lot of the storyline sad:  the bleak mill town, the sisters' struggles with money and later with each other.  However, it was beautifully written, and the historical details were interesting and well realized.

The Dress in the Window will be of interest to fans of historical fiction, and especially to anyone interested in fashion and dressmaking.  

Author Bio
Sofia Grant has the heart of a homemaker, the curiosity of a cat, and the keen eye of a scout. She works from an urban aerie in Oakland, California.

Find out more about Sofia at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.

1 comment:

trish said...

I love the idea of each section being titled after a fabric! I don't personally sew clothes, but I enjoy reading about the process.

Thank you for being on the tour!