Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Little Black Dress

Little Black Dress, by Susan McBride.

I never meant to resurrect the dress. I had intended for it to remain out of reach so that there would be no more meddling. But I awoke before dawn with tears in my eyes after another strange dream bout Anna, and I knew I had to find it.

From the press release:
"Antonia "Toni" Ashton has worked hard to build a thriving career and a committed relationship, but she realizes her life has gone off-track. Forced to return home to Blue Hills when her mother, Evie, suffers a massive stroke, Toni finds the old Victorian where she grew up as crammed full of secrets as it is with clutter. While taking on the task of getting her mother's hosue and affairs in order, Toni discovers a mysterious black dress, woven from spider's silk. Toni soon realizes that the dress is more than an old relic; it is enchanted with magic that allows the wearer to glimpse into the future. As she looks to her own future, Toni uncovers long-buried secrets of her family's past. Through the dress Toni reconnects with her mother Evie and learns of her long-lost aunt Anna, a reckless woman who disappeared fifty years ago on the eve of her wedding. Alternating between the voices of Toni and Evie, LITTLE BLACK DRESS is expertly intertwined with dark secrets, enlightening lessons, and unspoken love of a rich and complicated mother-daughter relationship."

This novel reminded me a lot of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, in that the magic "little black dress" fit Evie, her sister Anna, and Toni (Antonia). Readers who are a fan of that series, as well as those who like supernatural books/movies like Practical Magic, will enjoy this book, as well as pretty much ANYBODY who enjoys a good read. The narration is done by Toni and Evie, in alternating chapters, even though Evie is in the hospital in a coma, which forces Toni to return to Blue Hills, a tiny little town about an hour from St. Louis where she lives and operates her business, Engagements by Antonia.

I really liked how Toni's chapters were told in the present, in which we learn of her relationship - a bit strained - with Evie, and Evie's chapters were told in the past, in which we learn of her rebellious sister Anna and exactly what happened surrounding the circumstances of Toni's birth. The little black dress, of course, is ever-present within the entire book, and it begs the question: if you had a dress or some sort of talisman that could tell the future, would you use it? Or would you stay away from it?

4.5 stars out of 5.

*Check back later this week for an interview with the author, Susan McBride.

*Disclosure: I was provided a copy of this book to review; the opinions listed, however, are of my own.

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