Book Review: The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean

Dora has her life planned out. She plans to graduate early and her plans have a lot to do with her boss, someone she has a massive crush on. Things change with a phone call from home.

Dora’s grandmother, the person who brought her up, has had a stroke and is in the hospital. Dora rushes home without a second thought or even a change of clothes. Seeing her grandmother, Mimi, in the hospital is incredibly upsetting and she decides to take her mind off things by trying to keep her grandmother’s shop running. Mimi has a vintage clothes shop full of select and very beautiful clothes. She has a way of selling clothes and Dora has spent years in that shop, growing up. Stepping back into Mimi’s shop brings back memories and gives her a new purpose in life. All she can think of is to keep the shop going until Mimi recovers.

Having left town without even a change of clothes, Dora finds herself dressing up in the clothes that Mimi has been putting together for years. Mimi had been keeping aside clothes for Dora for years. Each dress was gorgeous, and well thought out, but Dora has avoided wearing them forever. Suddenly when circumstances push her into wearing them, she is captivated. They feel entirely right for her. Her grandmother, clearly, knew her very well. She feels like a different person in the clothes that Mimi chose for her, far far away from the persona she was at college. Or was it that she was trying hard to be someone else, when this was the person she really was? Has she been running away from what was right in front of her.

As Mimi lay in hospital, Dora, busied herself in the shop, and discovers ‘stories’ behind dresses. Some of the dresses that Mimi stocked had stories of their own. Enchanting stories, heart-breaking stories, romantic stories…

Every dress has a story.
Let me tell you mine…

Stories that give the dresses a life of their own. Customers who buy these dresses get to take the stories with the dresses. How fascinating is that! Who wrote them? Where did they come from? Nobody seems to know. The only person who does know is lying in hospital, oblivious to everything.

Will the magic of the dresses with stories sprinkle some of it’s magic into Dora’s life? You will have to read it to find out.

A heart warning story, one that might seem a wee bit illogical if one tries to analyze it but all the same a lovely read. One that leaves you with that warm and fuzzy feeling… It’s a great book to curl up with for a feel good read.

I would rate it a 4/5.

About the Author
Erin Mckean is the author of seven books. In her other avatar, she is a founder of Reverb, which makes the online dictionary Wordnik. She was previously the editor in chief of US Dictionaries for Oxford University Press and Principal Editor of The New Oxford American Dictionary, second edition.

This book is available on Amazon and Flipkart.


9 thoughts on “Book Review: The Secret Lives of Dresses by Erin McKean

  1. I quite liked this book, too, in spite of it being typical chick-lit. 🙂 The idea of the secret life of each dress and giving them to the customer along with the dress was quite unique, no? I would have loved to see pics of the dresses, too, though. 🙂


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