The Secret Lives of Dresses

The Secret Lives of Dresses

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Dora is in love with a man who barely notices her, has a job she doesn’t care about, and dresses entirely for comfort, not style. All a far cry from her vivid, eccentric childhood, growing up with her beloved grandmother Mimi.

However, when disaster strikes, Dora knows she has no choice but to return to her childhood home and take over running Mimi’s vintage clothing shop. And there she makes a surprising discovery – Mimi’s been writing stories to accompany every dress she sells. Romantic, heartbreaking tales about each one’s secret life before it got to her shop…

Dora starts to matchmake these lonely frocks with new owners, but will the stories help her as well? Trading her boring high street clothes for vintage glamour is one thing. What she needs to know is whether she can trade her safe old life – and love – for something better too?

Reviews:

“In this quiet debut novel, fans of McKean’s blog (www.dressaday.com) will be especially captivated by her ability to effectively spice up a consistently steady plot with a heaping of the “secret lives” they have enjoyed for years. It will also appeal to readers who enjoy coming-of-age tales.”

– from Library Journal

“fun to accompany the amusing threesome [as they] guide the heroine down her yellow brick road” — Genre Go Round Reviews

“This
is
just
perfect
for
some
light
escapism
but
might
have
you
reaching
for
the
tissues!” — Village Bookshop

“The Secret Lives of Dresses was an amazing book!  It made me want to open a vintage store.” — Kat’s Creations

“McKean’s gentle, stylish and bittersweet tale is made even more enjoyable due to her obvious love and knowledge of timeless fashion.” —Yorkshire Evening Post

“Although not a book I would normally read, I found this delightful, reminding me that not all literature has to be great, sometimes sometimes it just needs to remind you of joy in all its forms—be it through love, loss, sadness and recovery.” —Gleebooks

“If you would like a great escape into a world of fascinating vintage clothes mixed with some very colorful and lovable (and some not so lovable) characters, pick up a copy of The Secret Lives of Dresses. You won’t be disappointed.” —Along The Way

“This book was an absolute joy to read from start to finish, and I am really pleased to start off my reading year with such a great story. This book has everything for me – a bit of mystery, a bit of love and romance, a bit of sorrow and most of all a well-crafted and enjoyable tale.” —ChickLitReviews

The Secret Lives of Dresses is an absolutely fabulous read: you have such great description of the vintage dresses, mixed with the crazy emotions that an unexpected romance can bring and add a little dash of humour and voila you have the perfect story for a hopeless romantic like myself.” —Snowdrop Dreams of Books

The Secret Lives of Dresses is pure delight from opening page to the riveting end. The dress stories in the book are all short and simple, but highly effective – and add layers to a novel that surprises. Original, slightly quirky but satisfying, this is an outstanding read.” —RadioChick

“I thoroughly enjoyed the story and the characters, as well as the atmosphere of the small North Carolina town. The Secret Lives of Dresses is a charming book about a girl who finally finds where she belongs – a place that’s always been hidden in plain sight.” —Just Another New Blog

Here’s the UK cover:

The Secret Lives of Dresses (UK)

 

The UK edition got some lovely press, in lots of the magazines I buy whenever I’m in the UK as “research”: 

“Love a romance? Love fashion? You’ll lap up this cute tale” (HEAT)

“Style queens and Mad Men fans will love this heart-warming story” (BELLA)

“Sweet and enjoyable… a heartwarming read” (IMAGE)

And there was also a nice mention in this month’s RED.

[Note, all the links above open up jpg/pdf images of magazine pages]

And two lovely blog reviews, too — one from Domestic Sluttery:

“Erin McKean conjures up the most beautiful descriptions of clothes, including a cherry pie print blouse that sent me straight to eBay. In Mimi’s shop, Dora discovers that each item comes with a story, and these were absolutely beautiful… The Secret Lives of Dresses is a heart-warming and lovely book”

and one from ChickLitReviews:

“An absolute joy to read from start to finish… This book has everything for me – a bit of mystery, a bit of love and romance, a bit of sorrow and most of all a well-crafted and enjoyable tale”

Whew! 

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Allison Dean February 18, 2013 at 6:59 am

Erin-

I just finished The Secret Lives of Dresses. I loved it. Sometimes I feel this great sadness when I finish a good book. When I saw that you write a blog I felt some hope that something about Dora would shine through…I’m not ready to say goodbye to this story. Thank you!

Allison

Reply

keren May 29, 2013 at 2:24 am

I’ve had your book sitting on my bedside table for almost a year now. Afraid to read it as it sounds so good and I didn’t want to be disappointed. I started reading it last night and am LOVING it. I also was pleased to find out about the blog-so the adventures can continue long after I finish the book. Thanks for adding joy to an otherwise dull day!

Reply

Beata June 24, 2013 at 10:14 am

Thanks for sharing! Something to take with me for holidays!

Reply

Kelly Williams February 28, 2014 at 8:31 pm

Erin,
Thanks so much for writing this book. I just finished it last night and then just wandered around my house, aimlessly wondering what to do next. I loved this book so much, I wanted to LIVE in it!!

Feel free to write more, I want to know more about my friends in Forsyth!

I am recommending this book to all my friends.

Reply

Aya* August 26, 2014 at 12:09 am

Hi Erin,
I’m from Argentina and I bought your book when I was in Paris last May. I couldn’t read it while I was in the middle of my trip because I really have to be concentrated to read a book and another language that is not spanish.
I absolutely loved the story, the way I felt part of it. I felt so identified with Dora because I had a similar problem with my grandma last year, although thank God she’s fine now. I found that I wanted to know more about the secret stories so I’m here and I love your blog too!
Thanks for the story, it was a little bit complicated for me to understand everything but I could manage to finish the book in just one week!
I wonder if you ever considered to write a second part, I really would love to know what happened next, with the store and with her. But the way the story is right now is perfect! Thanks for bringing me back to the passion of reading, and thanks for making me able to read in english too!
I hope you have a wonderful week and thanks again!
Aya*

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