The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag is one of the She Reads Books of Winter and yet another one I really enjoyed. I have yet to encounter a bad book club pick by the She Reads ladies that I haven’t liked and I love that my reading interests seem to match theirs! I listened to the audiobook which is narrated by Jennifer Carr. I’ve never listened to her before but I thoroughly enjoyed the tone of her voice and way she brought this story to life for me. The Dress Shop of Dreams is a charming and delightful tale with a dusting of magic and I loved it!
Having lost her parents years ago Cora Sparks, a scientist, now spends her time in the lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. As much as Cora has a scientific mind her grandmother leans toward the more mystical side of life. While her dress shop looks quite ordinary to anyone passing by it is anything but. This quaint little dress shop holds a secret and that secret lies in the hands of Etta and her needle and thread. With a few stitches she sews a little magic into her gowns that has the ability to release a woman’s deepest desires.
Etta wants nothing more than to see Cora fall in love and be happy but Cora is a scientist who doesn’t really believe in all the drivvle of love. Still Etta is determined to work a bit of her magic on her own granddaughter but instead of sewing a few stitches into Cora’s dress she decides instead to sew the stitches into Walt’s collar. Walt has been in love with Cora for as long as he can remember but he is so shy that he’s never had the nerve to tell her. This is what Etta is hoping to change. Maybe if Walt tells Cora how he feels she will open herself up to his love. Unfortunately all does not go as planned but even so the events that do take place hold the power to change Cora’s life forever.
This is just a wonderful story that makes you feel good. I liked everything from the English setting to the romance and even the mystery that was woven throughout the pages. Most of all I loved the magical tone of the novel and felt carried away by it. Highly recommended!