Thursday, March 19, 2020

The Dress in the Window by Sofia Grant

Hi all. Hope everyone is staying safe, taking care of themselves, and watching out for loved ones. Books seem to be even more important than ever as this pandemic unfolds and grows. 

I am at home for the next week, so my world is pretty darn small. I'm used to being alone, so that is good. But I do miss going out, seeing my work friends, and especially being with my partner. But I'm in touch with a lot of folks via facebook, texting, snapchat, and facebook messenger. My gym is amazing, and has started virtual workouts every day so I've taken advantage of that. I can officially say they are tough workouts--lots of squats, lunges, and core movements. I am sore! 

As I've on the Bookalicious Babe facebook page, I've struggled to finish any books in the past week. Really struggled. But I've been given a good kick in the butt, thanks to my job. I'm working on doing short videos reviewing books for my library. So, I've set a goal to read a book a day, and do a quick review on each one. It keeps me from watching TV (and cleaning my house) and it's a chance to read from my stacks. And that's where this book came from!

The Dress in the Window has been on my shelves since 2017. I thought it was a novel about two sisters who work together to create a design house. I was wrong. Wow. It kept unfolding and sending me in another direction I wasn't expecting. 

A short recap:  Jeanne and Peggy are two sisters in their late 20's in 1948. Peggy's husband Thomas was killed in WW2, along with Jeanne's soon to be fiancĂ©, Charles. They both live with Peggy's mother in law, Thelma, and Peggy's young daughter Tommie. It's a struggle to make ends meet, with Jeanne working two jobs and doing sewing on the side. Peggy takes care of Tommie, but longs to put her artistic talent to work. Thelma has a few pretty big secrets she's been keeping from the sisters; one especially that could make their lives a lot easier. The dynamic between the sisters is interesting; both envy the other, yet love each other very much. Thelma is resentful of the way her life turned out--her husband died young, and wasn't exactly the best thing around, either. Her son Thomas died in WW 2, and she's got a young granddaughter who she loves, but frustrates her with her wild behavior. 

As the story moves along, you get to know each of the three women better, and understand what drives each of them. It's a tale of the changing choices in women's lives after WW 2; the frustrations of having to choose between family and a potential brilliant career, and the secrets we keep that can come out at the wrong time and destroy fragile relationships. 

It wasn't at all what I expected, but it was better than what I expected. A lot of surprises for sure!  A solid historical novel about a time that I haven't read much about. Definitely would make a good book group discussion. 

Rating: 4/6 for a novel about sisters, mothers and daughters, ambition, natural talent, and the desire to want better for yourself. A fascinating look at the changing women's fashion industry after WW 2. 

Available in paperback, ebook, and audio. 

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