Thursday, May 6, 2010

Review: A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff

Book Description:
Every dress has a history. And so does every woman.

In Isabel Wolff’s captivating A Vintage Affair, a treasured child’s coat becomes a thread of hope connecting two very different women.

Her friends are stunned when Phoebe Swift abruptly leaves a plum job at the prestigious Sotheby’s auction house to open her own vintage clothing shop in London—but to Phoebe, it’s the fulfillment of a dream. In the sunlight-flooded interior of Village Vintage, surrounded by Yves Saint Laurent silk scarves, Vivienne Westwood bustle skirts, cupcake dresses, and satin gowns, Phoebe hopes to make her store the hot new place to shop, even as she deals with two ardent suitors, her increasingly difficult mother, and a secret from her past that casts a shadow over her new venture.

For Phoebe, each vintage garment carries its own precious history. Digging for finds in attics and wardrobes, Phoebe is rewarded whenever she finds something truly unique, for she knows that when you buy a piece of vintage clothing, you’re not just buying fabric and thread—you’re buying a piece of someone’s past. But one particular article of clothing will soon unexpectedly change her life.

Thérèse Bell, an elderly Frenchwoman, has an impressive clothing collection. But among the array of smart suits and couture gowns, Phoebe finds a child’s sky-blue coat—an item with which Bell is stubbornly reluctant to part. As the two women become friends, Phoebe will learn the tale of that little blue coat. And she will discover an astonishing connection between herself and Thérèse Bell—one that will help her heal the pain of her own past and allow her to love again.

About the Author:
Here, briefly, is the gen about me. I was born in Warwickshire, read English at Cambridge and, after five years as a struggling actress I got a 'proper job' at the BBC. I had twelve very happy years at the World Service, where I was a producer, then reporter in News and Current Affairs. I travelled widely compiling documentaries in Central America, Africa and the Far East. I also wrote freelance features for many magazines and newspapers such as The Spectator, The Evening Standard, and The Daily Telegraph who, in 1997, commissioned me to write a comic column, 'Tiffany Trott'. Within a month of the first column appearing, I'd been contracted by HarperCollins to turn Tiffany's adventures - or rather misadventures - into a book. To my amazement, HarperCollins then wanted another book, and another, and another and so somehow, without ever having set out to be a novelist, here I am.

In my novels self-deception is the main theme - the difficult journey from lack of insight into one's own behaviour, to wisdom and self-knowledge. That's why I write in the first person. I love the fact that my heroine usually doesn't see what's really going on. She doesn't 'get it' (or is pretending she doesn't) but the reader, gradually, does. So the reader is always just one step ahead, working it out, or seeing through the evident ambivalence of my heroine, or the naked guise. For writing in the first person opens up an ironic gap between what my heroine says and what she clearly feels, or between what she thinks is going on around her, and what actually is going on. We can all be self-deceiving, seemingly only what we want to see, and by the end of the novel the heroine finally sees, or is forced to face up to, the truth about who she truly is and what she wants. I write with a combination of humour and pathos because that's true to life.

Here's What I Think:

Isabel Wolff is right in there with Marian Keyes, Nora Roberts, and Emily Giffin. She writes beautiful stories filled with emotion and A Vintage Affair is no different! The main character Phoebe is flawed but charming, and grabs you right off the get go. And if you love fashion, especially vintage fashion, you will love the detail in which Wolff describes the shop and all it's offerings. This is a classic chick lit book, an easy and entertaining read. Great for a day at the beach or an afternoon in the hammock!
BUY IT! You can buy your own copy (releasing on June 22, 2010) on Amazon

Disclaimer: Although I did recieve a copy of this book from Library Thing, I was in no other way compensated to write this review.


  1. I like the concept of the book that she likes to know the history of the clothes! I am going to have to pick it up when it comes out!

  2. This is such an original idea for a story! I am adding it to my TBR list--thanks for sharing!

  3. I'm so glad this was good. I have it on my wishlist (how could I not with such a fab cover?) already.


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