Saturday, December 19, 2020

THE DRESS SHOP ON KING STREET by Ashley Clark, Reviewed by Kim Ann and Rebecca

I love time-slips because they give you the best of both worlds - a little contemporary and a little historical. Many times when I read a time slip, I end up liking one story more than the other. In this case, I was equally enthralled by both. Honestly, because Harper and Millie’s stories are so intertwined in the contemporary part of the novel, I almost felt like this was more of Millie’s life story.

Millie and Franklin’s story was equally as beautiful as it was heartbreaking. Several times while reading their story, it kind of broke my heart. After I read the authors note in the back of the book, my heart really did feel broken. While I loved their relationship, there was one thing I wish Millie would’ve handled a bit differently even though I understood that, for her, it seemed like the only choice. There was also a life changing decision that I wish both her and Franklin would’ve somehow been able to come to a different conclusion for because of the many lives it affected.

The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark is a story that will definitely touch your heart and one I won’t be forgetting anytime soon.
*I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own. The faith element is light.

"Harper, have you ever considered whether fear - rather than your dream - is what you're holding onto?"

Possibly. But wasn't that what her entire world had been surrounded by lately? . . . . the "possibly" that had suddenly and most cruelly morphed into impossibly? Her dreams had vanished, like the wisp of a cloud, beautiful and fluffy one moment and gone the next, driven by the winds of change and the storms of years that felt wasted. Fashion design had been her passion for so long that Harper Dupree didn't know who she was without it. . . . until she travels back to where it all began, or rather to the "who", the woman who brightened a little girl's days with sewing lessons in her kitchen.

Millie Middleton had so many secrets tucked under her red cloche that she could fill the shelves of a small library with their stories. So many dreams, so many possibilities, so many unexpected sacrifices, so many . . . . As a young woman, leaving the life she knew for one that loomed before her with unfathomable depth, she met the love of her life, birthed two beautiful daughters, and found herself alone again with the same dream . . . . . a dress shop on King Street. When the all-grown-up version of Harper arrives on her doorstep yet again, the two of them decide to give fashion another chance, giving Millie's sewn-up-tight secrets a prime opportunity to burst their seams wide open into a kaleidoscope of success for Harper, along with a handsome young Charleston historian named Peter , "who has always been interested in the stories behind the walls".

Rarely does a debut novel evoke such deep emotion. Layered as softly and elegantly as one of Harper's vintage gowns, this story exposes the necessary authenticity needed to manage grief, endure broken dreams, and cherish forever loves and then . . . . dare to move forward with hope. As Harper's wise father said on more than one occasion, "No matter how long it takes, Harper Rae, when your Jubilee tide comes in, make sure your nets are good and ready". The book's remarkable strength is not only in the ability these characters have to rise above the ashes, but in the confidence they inspire us to have in the One who is "the author of your (our) story, and where He calls, He equips". 

Such a lovely reading experience; enjoy every page!
*I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely own.
4.5 stars


BackCover Blurb:
Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie's past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton--the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman--boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they've both dreamed of. But it's not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams. 

Bethany House, December 2020
Available in digital ebook, paperback, and hardcover:

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