Published: March 25, 2014Publisher: William MorrowPages: 310Received: for honest review via publisher and TLC Book ToursA sparkling debut novel in the vein of The Friday Night Knitting Club, centered around a Midwestern vintage clothing shop and a group of women who eventually transform the store and each others' lives.
At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell . . . and so do the women who are drawn there.
Yellow Samsonite suitcase with ivory, quilted lining, 1950s...
Violet Turner had always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. Though she knows the personal history behind each precious item she sells, Violet refuses to acknowledge her own past. When she is faced with the possibility of losing the store, she realizes that, as much as she wants to, she cannot save it alone.
Taffeta tea length wedding gown with scooped neckline and cap sleeves, 1952...
Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect 1950s wedding dress, she discovers unexpected possibilities and friends who won't let her give up on her dreams.
Orange sari made from silk dupioni with gold paisley design, 1968...
Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her old clothes, remnants of her past life. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears she has nothing more ahead for her.
An engaging story that beautifully captures the essence of women's friendship and love, Vintage is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal and hope when we least expect it.
This debut novel by Susan Gloss is such a beautifully written blend of womens stories. You follow characters of all ages and in all stages of life and they weave together in such an elaborate way. From teen girl dealing with an unplanned pregnancy who is all alone and a thirty-something shop owner who doesn't know what she's missing to a middle aged woman whose marriage is on the rocks and a senior who knows that you need see the beauty in every day before you realize it's your last.
This book was just what I needed and this point in my life. It was the perfect mix of being a mother, a lover, an independent woman and figuring out who you really are. I'm not quite at some of the spots these women were at, but some of the stories made me think about my past, my present and my future. Not many books can make you stop and think about all the times in your life. It has made me think about what I want in my future, who I want to be (since people area always growing and changing) and who I want to be to others.
April is such a smart girl who is in a sticky situation. She's all alone and pregnant. Her Mom passed recently leaving her to deal with an estate at 18 years old and her fiance cancels their wedding even though he knows she is pregnant. She works hard for everything she has and makes the best out of the situation she is in. She bonds with the others and makes new friends.
Amithi has never worked outside the home since moving to America from India on right after her arranged marriage takes place. Her whole life has been to take care of her husband and daughter and after something shakes the core of her relationship with her husband, she decides it's time for her to figure out what she really wants in life. Time for change.
But I think the person that I identified with the most was Violet because she is within my age group, is a strong, independent woman and also a romantic at heat (even if she tries not to let it into her life at first). Violet is the main character in the book as it is her vintage clothing shop that brings all of the women together. They share their stories slowly in alternating chapters – Violet, April and Amithi are the three main characters and Betsy is the older mentor to Violet who is mentioned throughout the story.
Another thing that is great about this story is how each woman shares bits of their story with each other and that helps the others to look at their own lives differently. April learns to trust again, Violet learns to love again and Amithi learns to go with her dreams. But in the end it's this message that means the most to them all - “...a pretty thing isn't worth much if you can't share it with anyone. It's just a thing. Only when you let others enjoy it, too, does it become truly beautiful.” (pg. 257)
The last little thing I will mention is how fun it was to have each chapter start with a vintage item (clothing or accessory) with the story behind where it came from. This little touch just added to the idea that everything has a story.
About the Author:
Susan Gloss is a graduate of the University of Notre Dame and the University of Wisconsin Law School. When she’s not writing fiction, Susan can be found working as an attorney, blogging at GlossingOverIt, or hunting for vintage treasures for her Etsy shop, Cleverly Curated. She lives with her family in Madison, Wisconsin.