Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Little Black Dress: A Review

Susan McBride - Little Black Dress

When Was It Released? 23rd August
Where Did I Get It From? Stephanie Kim at William Morrow kindly send this to me in exchange for an honest review
Who Published It? William Morrow

As Coco Chanel once famously stated “every girl needs their little black dress." Well Susan McBride’s new novel Little Black Dress follows this premise but takes it one step further. What if that wonderful little black dress didn’t just make you look and feel amazing it did much more? How much more? Well it showed whoever wore the dress what their future holds. Would Coco Chanel still be telling us all we need our little black dresses if they all did this?

Antonia (also known as Toni), is a successful business women with her own thriving business and a relationship that seems to be going well. Life seems to be running along smoothly for Antonia, until her mother, Evie, suffers a stroke, forcing Antonia to return to her home of Blue Hills. Antonia, with the help of her mother’s housekeeper, stumbles across more secrets than she ever dreamed existed in her childhood home. Antonia vows to uncover these secrets and understand her mother’s life, before it is too late, including the story of her aunt Anna who disappeared fifty years ago the night before her wedding. Will Antonia be able to handle the secrets she reveals or are they just better left in the past? Antonia will not only learn about her family, and a little black dress that just may be magical, but she will also learn some home truths about herself too.

I can’t believe that I am admitting to this but I have never read any of Susan McBride’s previous work, although I have heard many great things about The Cougar Club. Well let me tell you that’s about to change, from now on I will be searching out everything written by Susan. After reading Little Black Dress I can’t wait to read more from her. I loved Little Black Dress from the first page to the last, with the concept of fate, the path your life takes and a little magic thrown in, being fresh and new in relation to many topics that chick lit authors tend to focus on. I fell in love with Evie and Toni almost straight away, and as the novel progressed I found myself hoping that Evie would recover in such a way that sometimes I forgot she was she just a character rather than a real person. I wanted to be friends with both of these ladies, even though they were both older than I am, I felt that I could relate to them in many ways. I particularly liked the way in which both the present and past stories are told in relation to each other, switching from one chapter being in the past to the next being in the present. The story flowed easily without losing track of what was going on with each character at any one time.

I am a firm realist and don’t tend to enjoy novels or movies with magical elements in them as I do not find them realistic to life. Some people enjoy novels about magical elements, finding that they transport them off to a different world, however I prefer my novels to have some realism to them. And while Little Black Dress is very relatable in many senses I found that I did not enjoy a large amount of the magical elements in this book. I feel that if more information was given as to where the dress came from before it came to be in the shop I would have enjoyed reading about it more. I would also have liked to have heard more of Anna’s story, where she was while she was gone and what she was thinking and feeling.

Overall I loved this book and would defiantly recommend it, even to those of you who don’t usually like magic mixed in with your chick lit (that would be me before reading the novel). Little Black dress is a sentimental look into family relationships and in particular that special bond between mother and daughter. This novel is filled with hope, magic and love, told with Susan McBride’s sparkling wit. This novel will leave you feeling like a child again, asking yourself the question, does magic truly exist?  

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