• Jayne Kingsley

My Illustrated Review – Dressing the Dearloves by Kelly Doust

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A fabulous, enchanting read. If you like fashion – read this book!

Oh, how I adore this book. It’s the perfect mix of history, family secrets, romance and gorgeous fashion. I devoured this book. I thought the premise sounded great and it over delivered on my expectations.

Sylvie Dearlove is a failed fashion designer, who heads back home to England after her label goes bust. I didn’t immediately warm to Sylvie, finding myself wanting to tell her to buck up and stop wallowing on a few occasions. However, her transformation had me hooked, and kudos to the author on that score, because I was loving her character by the end.

There were various stories from the Dearlove women intertwined throughout the novel. I did find myself confused at one stage as to whom each of the characters were, but it wasn’t difficult to sort those out in my head shortly after. All the characters were meticulously thought out and came to life on the pages for me, to the point I was hoping to call and invite myself over for tea.

The manor had me dreaming of ambling mindlessly across England, visiting the old estates and enjoying the beauty and history contained in that part of the world.

One of my main drawcards for this book though – the fashion. Not only did the author delve into fashion through the ages, describing vintage treasures with a clear love of their value and detail, but she left me wanting to buy pieces from the new collection Sylvie started to piece together. I wasn’t sure if it was my own love of fashion, but every description had me immediately picturing the garments in my mind, desperate to go scour flea markets or vintage shops for my own treasure trove.

I only had one niggle – I had hoped for a better resolution for Victoria and Gigi. I won’t say more than that as I don’t want to include spoilers, but I thought there could have been more to the ending of the novel. I’m in no way left unsatisfied – it was a wonderful read, I’m just being selfish in my desire for more from this author in the last chapter. In other words – I simply didn’t want it to end.

The images I’ve sketched are both of Sylvie Dearlove: The first is when she opens the door to an old friend, who now happens to be a hot landscaper (*swoon*), and the second is when she goes to a meeting – I couldn’t resist this one as fifties fashion has always been a love of mine.

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