Wednesday, November 26, 2014


Title:  Vintage
Author:  Susan Gloss
Publication Information:  William Morrow. 2014. 320 pages.
ISBN:  006227032X / 978-0062270320

Book Source:  I read this book based on the cover and description.

Favorite Quote:  “Happy endings aren't just for fairy tales and massage parlors.”

Vintage, the debut novel by Susan Gloss, is a predictable, feel good story about women. It is about finding friendship and new beginnings.

Violet Turner owns and operates a vintage clothing store, Hourglass Vintage, in Madison, Wisconsin. This store is her dream. It takes a divorce and a move for her to pursue her dream, but she gets there. Every piece of clothing she has in the store has a story. Every patron has a story; they come together with Violet's story to create a tale of friendship and women supporting each other.

Amithi Singh, an Indian American, comes into the store to sell some of her clothes. She is getting older. Her children are grown. Her husband is not the man she thought he was. The store provides her with an outlet and friendships that are hers and not defined by any family role as the rest of her life has been.

April Morgan comes in to try and return or resell a wedding dress after her hasty engagement is broken off. She is eighteen, unwed, and pregnant. An internship at Hourglass Vintage becomes her stability at a time when life is challenging.

The three women find friendship, and each finds a new beginning at Hourglass Vintage. Along the way come hardships - angry ex-husbands, business concerns, money concerns, illnesses, and more. Along the way also come relationships - both old and new.

What I like about the book is that the main characters come from different cultures, different ages, and different walks of life. Despite their differences, they find common ground and friendship. Although the characters are not fully developed, that feeling of support and friendship and that feeling of commonalities overriding differences anchors the story.

One disconcerting note in the book is how quickly a relationship for one of the women progresses. It goes from reconnecting with someone from a different time in life to a first date to a sexual relationship almost instantly. That aspect of the book seems very rushed. I like the idea of a new beginning in terms of career, friendship, and independence. A new relationship is unnecessary to that new beginning.

I do enjoy the descriptions of the vintage items in the book. I don't know if the descriptions are historically accurate, but I enjoyed the idea of the pieces having history. Perhaps, the descriptions are based on the author's experience in the industry. According to her website, Susan Gloss heads an online vintage shop, Cleverly Curated, which has been in business since 2012.

According to an interview with Wisconsin Public Radio, Susan Gloss sees a parallel between the story of the women in the book and the setting of a vintage store. She states that she likes the idea that everything has a story and that everything can have a second chance. This idea applies to both the vintage items in the book and the women themselves. That theme presents itself again and again throughout the book.

The book proceeds predictably to a predictable ending. The book makes for an easy, light vacation read.

Please share your thoughts and leave a comment. I would love to "talk" to you.

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