The Dress Shop of Dreams
by Menna van Praag
Ballantine Books, 2014. 336 pgs. Fiction
Cora Sparks lives a safe, emotionally detached life as a research scientist in Cambridge. Since her parents’ mysterious death years ago, Cora has avoided relationships with anyone but her grandmother, Etta, whose magical dress shop offers customers what they need most. When Etta’s magical meddling forces Cora to face her emotions, she has to process the loss of her parents and her feelings for Walt, the boy next door who has loved Cora all his life.
The Dress Shop of Dreams was a pleasant read. Fans of the magical realism of Alice Hoffman and Sarah Addison Allen might enjoy the story, although I didn’t find van Praag’s writing or characters quite as compelling or fleshed out as those authors’. In general, though, The Dress Shop of Dreams was a cute, romantic, escapist read with a surprising element of suspense.