Select one of the keywords
The Dress Shop of Dreams    by Menna van Praag order for
Dress Shop of Dreams
by Menna van Praag
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2014 (2014)
Softcover, e-Book
* *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Menna van Praag's The Dress Shop of Dreams is a tale of magic, mystery, and mismatched relationships. Cora Sparks' grandmother Etta owns the dress shop in Cambridge, England, and has a very special, magical talent. For Etta's dresses 'unlock the wisdom and wishes of women's hearts, dresses that help them to heal themselves and, eventually, attain their deepest desires.' And when Etta sews a small star into the fabric, the magic is strengthened.

Cora is a scientist, whose emotions have been locked away ever since the fire that killed her parents just before they were to announce a very significant new discovery. Bookseller Walt has been in love with Cora since they were children, but is unable to tell her how he feels. And Walt has his own special talent, 'a beautiful voice, as deep, thick and rich as melted chocolate.' He reads for a Book at Bedtime radio show that has attracted a huge following.

Women who listen to Walt's powerful voice send countless letters. Initially Walt ignores them (he only cares about Cora). But his boss, Dylan, starts to reply to them and begins to care deeply for Milly Bradley. In the meantime, Etta sews a star into something she gives Walt, who speaks of his feelings to Cora - and is rejected once again. Frustrated by their inability to come together, Etta decides it's time to unlock her granddaughter's heart. But Walt tries to forget about Cora and connect with someone else. Guess who? Milly Bradley of course!

What results is A Comedy of Errors and relationships gone awry. Along the way, and with the help of a decent police officer whose marriage is in trouble, Cora solves the mystery of her parents' deaths - and meets a grandfather that she never knew she had (who happens to know Walt well). The Dress Shop of Dreams is a light, sweet and shimmering confection, well worth a read.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Contemporary books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews