Thursday, January 7, 2021

The Dress Shop On King Street By Ashley Clark

The Dress Shop on King Street
by Ashley Clark
Publisher: Bethany House
Series: Heirloom Secrets
ISBN: 9780764237607

I judged a book by it's cover which is why I ended up wanting to review this book from Bethany House! What wasn't there not to love or be drawn in by it? Hence, they sent me a copy and now I'm reviewing it!

Summary:

Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie's past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton--the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman--boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they've both dreamed of. But it's not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams.

My Review:

I don't know if you're like me, but I'm often hesitant when it comes to debut authors. You just never know what to expect. Well, I can tell you one thing, expect a lot from The Dress Shop on King Street! This story was incredible.

In the time that we're living in, this book is so... timely. My thought throughout the book was, "how do we live like we're still not in the 1940s and 50s?" Millie's world was such a scary place to live in simply for the fact that she was half Black. The fact that parents still worry about their children playing outside because of their skin color just does me in. How have we not changed in the ensuing years?

Sorry, I digress...

Honestly, this book really forces the reader to look back and where our country has come from to where we are now. There's no way around it and while that's good, it's also a sad testament to where we still are.

First there's Millie. Honestly, first there's Rose and Ashley, and a choice that no mother should've ever had to make. Millie is part of their heritage. She's forced to start a new life away from her mama. So many your girls separated from their mama's at an early age in this family. Utterly heartbreaking! Millie pushes into the world of living the Italian side of her family while pushing the Black aside. Her battle with this throughout the story is palpable. You can feel the struggle she has from beginning to end.

And there's Harper. She's a young lady whose dream of owning a dress shop seems to always be just out of reach. When times are hard though, she would just rather run than fight for what she wants. Thankfully, life brings her back to Millie. Millie who has secrets and knows what it's like to run.

We also meet two fellas in this story. Franklin... ah, what a guy. He's the kind of guy who was created to have a zest for life, to take chances, and to fall for one woman for his entire life. Franklin worked his way into my heart from the moment we meet him. Trust me, you'll know why when he jumps onto the scene.

Peter, to me, is the guy you hope your daughter ends up with one day. There were so many great moments with him in this story. He's a historian because of circumstances that happen in his life, and it suits him to a "T". He and Harper have a love for restoring old things: he with buildings and her with clothing and accessories.

Millie is the tie that connects them and as we see the pieces all falling together, it's an amazing tale. One for the ages. I have to tell you, towards the end of the story, I was so emotional. I definitely teared up at one point because it was so beautiful and pulls on the heartstrings.

This story was so wonderfully written and it snuggled its way into my heart. I can't wait to read more from this author!

About the Author:

Ashley Clark (www.ashleyclarkbooks.com) writes romantic women's fiction set in the South. With a master's degree in creative writing, Ashley teaches literature and writing courses at the University of West Florida. Ashley has been an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers for almost a decade. She lives with her husband, son, and two rescued Cocker Spaniels off Florida's Gulf Coast. When she's not writing, she's rescuing stray animals, dreaming of Charleston, and drinking all the English breakfast tea she can get her hands on.

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