Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Review: Vintage by Susan Gloss

Have you ever wondered about the stories behind old things? Vintage furniture, cars, clothing? Anything that had owners before you?  I certainly have.  But it's more than just things that have past stories. People do too. And they carry those stories, good, bad, or neutral, with them forward into the future. Susan Gloss's new heart warming women's fiction novel, Vintage, shows this quite clearly.

Violet owns a vintage clothing store in funky Madison, Wisconsin. She is living her dream, working and owning Hourglass Vintage. She has built her store up to be successful and she is generally happy with her life, even if she sometimes wants just a little more, like the family her best friend now has. When the story opens, a teenager comes in to try and return a wedding dress she bought at the store. When Violet tells her that she doesn't accept returns, the girl leaves the dress and disappears before Violet can speak more to her.  Then an older Indian woman comes in to sell some of her saris and jewelry, items for which her Americanized daughter has no need or want. As Violet is consulting with this customer, a man comes in to serve her eviction papers.  Her landlord wants to sell the building to a developer. Violet has first right of refusal but there's no way she can raise the funds to buy the building. Determined to keep running her shop and not think about what moving would entail, both the teenager with the unneeded wedding dress and the older Indian woman come back into Violet's store and then her life as friends.

April is all alone since her mother's death several months prior. She is only eighteen and she's pregnant.  Her college senior fianc√© has called off their wedding and dumped her. She is quite smart and has a scholarship to college in the fall if she can figure out how to juggle the coming baby with school. When she meets with Betsy Barrett, one of the women in charge of the scholarship and tells Betsy about her situation, Betsy promises to try and find an internship for April until school starts. As a wealthy philanthropist and an advocate for women, Betsy lights on Violet's store as the perfect place for April to gain some real world working experience. Violet is uncertain about letting anyone touch her beloved store despite needing help with bookkeeping and organization. But when Betsy tells her April's story and she discovers that April is the girl who returned the wedding dress, Violet takes her on. When April helps Violet come up with an idea that could help save the store, lovely Amithi, the older Indian woman, who has continued to sell off the things that her husband has given her over the years, is enlisted as a master seamstress.

Each of the three main characters has unhappiness and difficulty in her life but they all stand on the threshold of something new. And as they each face the different challenges that life has thrown their way, an unplanned pregnancy, long term infidelity, the death of a parent, the search for love, and a growing desire for a child, they do so stronger for the relationship and support they've built amongst themselves. Each of the women is very different and has a distinctive voice. And Gloss has described the feel of Madison as a small but vibrant city beautifully.  The chapters all start with the description of a vintage piece from the store and the tie in between the article and the action of the chapter is well done.  While the resolution of this sweet novel isn't hard to figure out and may be a little too easy, the loving way that Gloss celebrates female empowerment through these women's choices and the value of what has typically been considered "women's work" or solely the prerogative of women and the domestic sphere, like sewing and clothing and fashion, is definitely appealing.  A light and charming read, this take on unexpected friendship and the ways in which women support each other to grow and change is engaging and inviting.

For more information about Susan Gloss and the book, check out her website, her Facebook page, follow her on Twitter or check out her Pinterest boards. Follow the rest of the blog tour or look at the amazon reviews for others' thoughts and opinions on the book.

Thanks to Trish from TLC Book Tours and the publisher for sending me a copy of the book for review.


  1. Sounds like a book I'd enjoy! Good review!

  2. This sounds like an incredibly heartwarming story. I'm a big fan of the stories behind items so I know I'd enjoy it.

    Thanks for being on the tour!


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