Tuesday, February 3, 2015

The Dress Shop of Dreams - Review & Giveaway

Review by Deb Czajkowski
Do you believe in magic?  Not the Abracadabra kind nor that of the Harry Potter wizarding world.  But the kind of magic that hopes and dreams are made of, the kind that helps you believe in possibilities and dreams really coming true?

Etta not only believes in this magic, she subtly, even secretively, shares it with her customers in her little dress shop called A Stitch in Time.  In fact, her magic is always dispensed in two ways:  one, with a few carefully chosen words of encouragement and empowerment, and two, six tiny tucks that form a red star that she sews into the seam of each customer’s new gorgeous gown.

Cora, Etta’s granddaughter, is a scientist whose life centers around a university laboratory where her focus is on creating a food that will feed starving nations, i.e. the next best thing to world peace: solving world hunger.  For Cora, if it can’t be scientifically proven, it just doesn’t exist. So, her feelings about magic?  That’s not hard to figure out!
Cora’s childhood friend, Walt, has always loved books, and he knew from the minute he first saw the bookstore on All Saints Passage that he’d one day own it.  Today his days and most evenings are spent in his bookstore, but Walt has a secret: He is The Night Reader at the local radio station.  Despite his overall extreme shyness, his voice is heaven-sent, and his listeners have fallen in love with him.

We know Walt’s (other) secret:  He gave his heart years ago to someone who barely acknowledges his presence.  Can he get his heart back and move on?  Cora learns she has a secret, well, a mystery really, in the untimely deaths of her parents twenty years ago.  Can she solve a case that old?  Etta has a secret, too, a very personal one, one that just might be better left alone.  Or not?

Author Menna Van Praag weaves what she refers to as magical realism throughout The Dress Shop of Dreams.  As I turned the pages that revealed deepest desires and long-held secrets, I found myself firmly in Etta’s camp. I choose to believe in her red star magic while I watched various each character’s reality –and secret- come to light. Van Praag has a delightful way of keeping her story true-to-life with just enough fairy-dust optimism to keep one hopeful to the end. The Dress Shop of Dreams is an enjoyable read.

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About the Author:
Fifteen years ago I wrote my first novel. Ten years later, with six unpublished manuscripts & a stack of rejections, I self-published my novella, Men, Money & Chocolate. Nine months later I sold it to Hay House and today it’s been translated into 26 languages. The sequel, Happier Than She’s Ever Been, followed a year later.
The House at the End of Hope Street was published by Penguin in 2013. Random House will publish my next two novels: The Dress Shop of Dreams (Jan, 2015) and The Cambridge University Witches (Jan, 2016). I’m currently working on my new novel, The Lost Art of Letter Writing.

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Penguin Random House is giving 1 lucky winner a print copy of
The Dress Shop of Dreams

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