#BookReview: The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna Van Praag

Reviewer: Michelle

the dress shop of dreamsI received a review copy


For fans of Alice Hoffman, Sarah Addison Allen, and Adriana Trigiani, The Dress Shop of Dreams is a captivating novel of enduring hopes, second chances, and the life-changing magic of true love.

Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.

Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells—like true love—can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.


The Dress Shop of Dreams captured my thoughts from the very first pages. A love story with a little bit of magic is good for anybody.

Cora is a scientist on the hunt for the Nobel prize. After losing her parents in a fire twenty years ago, she promises to make the world a better place. She lives an ordinary life, however, she has never felt love since her parents died. She refuses to acknowledge any flirtation from her friend Walt that she has known since she was a child. He thinks the world of her and yet she thinks nothing of him.

Her Grandmother Etta is someone who makes woman love themselves again. She owns a dress shop in town and is known to find any woman the dress of her dreams. Once she realizes Walt is in love with Cora, she opts to make Cora feel love again. She doesn’t want her to live her life without love.

This story touches on the lives of a few other characters as well, and in the end the entire story connects in a way you would never guess. I really loved the character Etta. She reminded me of my own grandmother and I’m sure anyone could see her as their own family. Cora was a great character as well, with flaws that really made her seem like a normal human. This story is definitely different than anything I’ve read in a long time. Originality is hard to come by sometimes, so this story is a gem.

A fabulous read to begin the new year.

 5 stars

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