A Vintage Affair – Isabel Wolff
I imagined that A Vintage Affair would be your typical chick-lit (not that that’s a bad thing, I love it!), even more so because of the fashion link. However, though the book focuses very much on clothes and fashion, it’s not the vacuous, style-conscious side of it that’s talked about. It’s so much more than that, and that’s what makes this book such a great read.
The main character, Phoebe Swift is in the process of opening her own vintage dress store. It’s something she’s dreamed of for a very long time and is desperate for everything to go to plan. Her passion is sourcing vintage fashion, that is, clothes with a past, and selling it onto a good home. The only downer on Phoebe’s plan is the absence of her best friend, Emma. Emma’s untimely and tragic death has affected Phoebe badly, not least because she feels like she’s to blame.
The book tells the tale of Phoebe’s store opening, the people she meets, the trips she takes and the new (old) clothes she sources. Along the way she meets many interesting people, one of whom has an extraordinary tale to tell. As the heart-rending story of Therese Bell’s little blue coat comes out, many parallels are drawn between Mrs Bell and Phoebe’s pasts and the two reach an understanding which helps the younger woman cope with her grief.
Without giving too much away, this is a lovely book. It’s got all the great parts of chick-lit; sex, love, humour, fun and friendship and also throws in some history, which is another interest of mine. I was glued to this beginning to end. It flows wonderfully, keeps you constantly interested and dying to find out what happens next, and inspires emotion. Overall, a really fun but poignant read.