I absolutely love this book.

on March 8, 2011 in I heart books. with 9 comments by

I swung by Target on my way out of Nashville before the Half Marathon weekend. I purchased a few necessary items, namely a new pair of shoes, black jeggings, and a book.

[I don’t buy books much anymore- I prefer the library and borrowing from friends. But every now and again, I just love spending $10 on a book. I. Heart. Books.]

I got Mennonite in a Little Black Dress from my amazing Aunt Carol for Christmas and I devoured it in Scotland. Absolutely loved it. So when I was looking on the shelves of Target, this one, similar in cover design, jumped out at me.

I thought it looked entertaining. [I judged a book by it’s cover. Forgive me. Though I highly recommend judging THIS BOOK by its cover too…. well, because I think the cover is gorgie-poo.]

Back to me standing in the book section at Target, judging this book by its cover. I flipped it over and the back cover copy was good. So I nabbed it.

And. I. Loved. It.

I mean, y’all. It has been a long time since I read a fiction book that I couldn’t put down. And listen, I read The Secret Lives of Dresses SUPER fast. Of course, I was at the beach and everyone loves a good beach read. And this book is totally that.

I get this anxious turn-the-page-too-fast thing when I love a book and I have to do a little self-talk, saying things like, “Annie, slow down. When this book ends there is no more to have. So you have to calm yourself.”

I self-talked multiple times while reading The Secret Lives of Dresses.

Here’s a spoiler-free summary, so you can get an idea of what the book is about….

“Blogger McKean’s retro fashion-forward coming-of-age debut follows Dora Winston as she sashays toward a degree in “vagueness studies” while engaged in a fruitless flirtation with her coffee shop boss. She’s got no idea what to do with her life, and then her adored grandmother, Mimi, has a stroke, and Dora is whisked back to Mimi’s vintage clothing store, where she learns more about Mimi, thanks to the secret stories Mimi has stashed away on pieces of paper stuck in the pockets of her most intriguing inventory.”

There’s a tangled love story, there’s a heroic grandmother, there’s a vintage dress shop. What more can you ask for?

Biscuits, you say?

Well. Dora makes biscuits. So there you go.

To top it all off? Erin McKean is a BLOGGER. [Meaning: Erin and I speak the same love language- blog.] The book is actually inspired by her blog A Dress Nearly Every Day and now I spent hours of my Monday night reading through her blog and I love it too.

So, pretty much, I’m a super fan.

Proof of how I feel about the book? My friend Graham was over on Monday night and I said, “I just want to take a picture showing how much I luh-uh-uh-ved this book!” And that’s when she took this photo. You’re welcome.

[Seriously. That’s my real face expressing how I feel about this book. Does my shame know no bounds? Ugh. I embarrass myself.]

The only hesitation I have is that, much like Mumford & Sons, there is a tiny bit of bad language- it’s really just one character who cusses a bit. But, on the other hand, I love that this book can be 300 pages and have ZERO violence and ZERO sexual content. Just a few cuss words.

So. If you are looking for a good story with great characters that will stick with you and make you want to own dresses from the 1930s, consider this book absolutely worth your hard earned $10.

[By the way. No one sent me this book for free and asked me to write about it. I only wrote this post because I loved the book and thought you might too. I didn’t blog this because I am friends with Erin McKean. But I want to be.]


  1. posted on Mar 08, 2011 at 6:41 PM  |  reply

    Ack! I just lost the comment I tried to post because of that number verification thingy so hopefully this won’t be a duplicate. This books sounds SO good! I’ve been meaning to read Mennonite in a Little Black Dress for awhile but I haven’t heard of Secret Lives of Dresses. It sounds like it’s right up my alley. Plus, I will totally be checking out the author’s blog next. I love books and book recommendations! The last book I inhaled was Juliet by Anne Fortier. I borrowed it from the library but I’m going to have to track down my own copy. It’s a definite keeper.

  2. Son
    posted on Mar 08, 2011 at 11:56 PM  |  reply

    Um…your picture just made me laugh out loud. Thank you for that. I know this Annie face and I LIKE it.

  3. posted on Mar 09, 2011 at 4:45 PM  |  reply

    I have a friend whose [some sort of English class] professor is the author of Mennonite in a Little Black Dress. As soon as I hack my way through the giant stack of 8 books I have out from the library right now, I’ll have to check both of these books out.

  4. posted on Mar 09, 2011 at 5:33 PM  |  reply

    I heart books too and now I want to read this one!

  5. Laura
    posted on Mar 10, 2011 at 7:27 PM  |  reply

    Sounds awesome! I will be getting my Kindle soon so maybe I can get it from Amazon! Also, I so wish that I was at the beach right now! I am sick of this awful, snowy climate! 😀

  6. posted on Mar 10, 2011 at 8:44 PM  |  reply

    The book sounds great. I love those page-turners. My grandmother’s name was Dora. Dora Belle to be exact.
    I’m totally serious. Dora Belle.

  7. posted on Mar 12, 2011 at 11:31 AM  |  reply

    I am so glad you posted this! I have looked at this book several times, but I hesitate to spend money on books I haven’t heard a personal review from. I love owning books, but only good ones!

    So thank you. I shall add it to my shelf today!

    • Annie
      posted on Mar 13, 2011 at 10:36 PM  |  reply

      Emily, I can’t wait to hear what you think!

  8. posted on Mar 23, 2011 at 4:44 PM  |  reply

    I’ll have to check out this book! If you like Mumford & Sons, and this book, it must be good and nostalgic. 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation!

Join the discussion

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Get a sneak peek of Annie’s latest book! Click the link to download two free chapters of Let’s All Be Brave.