Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colourfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.
Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells-like true love-can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realises she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.
You know how a great story makes you feel by the size of the smile spreading across your face as you conclude the last sentence of the final chapter.
This was the first novel I had read from Van Praag and immediately on finishing I added her first debut novel to my wish list.
Personally I would describe Van Praag’s novel as the modern fairytale of the 20th century, complete with magic and a fairy-godmother. The magic within the pages of this story wove around me infusing it’s spell, once I begun I was hooked and found I couldn’t wait to find a spare five minutes to continue reading.
The dress shop of dreams was a very easy read inclusive of strong characters that made the story such a success, beautifully written and one of those stories that leaves you feeling warm inside on finishing. Adventurous enough to have sub stories underlying the current one and ensuring that the characters interlinked with each other setting the scenes that helped to tell the story.