Book: A Vintage Affair
Author: Isobel Wolff
The young Phoebe Swift has always been a lover of vintage clothes – she loves the history, the stories, the scope for imagination about the life of a stylish woman that comes with vintage dresses. After a particularly trying phase in her life, she opens Village Vintage, a shop for hand-picked, stylish vintage dresses. Apart from the joy of running her own dress shop, a dream come true, Phoebe is seeking a new beginning in her life. It is through Village Vintage that Phoebe comes into contact with Therese, an elderly Frenchwoman, who wants to sells her some vintage garments. What intrigues Phoebe about Therese is a pretty, blue coat that she seems unable to part with. Slowly and gradually, Phoebe becomes friends with Therese, and what follows is a series of conversations on why the blue coat is so very dear to her. Phoebe is enraptured by Therese’s story, not the least because she can draw some parallels with it in her own life, too. A Vintage Affair is as much the story of Therese, as it is about Phoebe.
I picked up this book (at an exorbitant price, I must say) because I was utterly charmed by its plot and desperately wanted to read it. Sadly, however, it fell flat on my expectations and I ended up disappointed.
The dresses in the book do sound delicious, and I was enchanted by the author’s descriptions about them. Phoebe’s ruminations about the various vintage dresses that she buys and their previous owner’s lives had me enthralled. I so wished I could see pictures of each of the lovely dresses mentioned in this book.
All the charm of the book ended, for me, at the descriptions of the vintage dresses, though. I didn’t find the plot too appealing. Phoebe and Therese’s life stories start off on a promising note, but goes on to fizzle out, disappointingly so. I felt utterly let down by the ending of the story, after having waded through pages and pages and pages of longish descriptions and extravagantly narrated details. Yes, the book could have been cut down by at least 50 pages or so.
I liked the fact that both Phoebe and Therese have been depicted as intelligent, strong women, capable of thinking on their feet. All the characters, in fact, have been drawn out very beautifully, and they sound very realistic. I particularly liked the character of Dan, Phoebe’s journalist friend, the first one to interview her after Village Vintage opens.
All in all, I ended up not very satisfied with my experience of reading this book. Of course, as I always say, it could be just me.
Have you read this book? What are your thoughts about it?