Book Review | The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag

Menna van Praag
Trade Paperback, 326 pages
Publication date:
December 30th 2014
Ballantine Books
Received from publisher in exchange for an honest review.


“…if life is ever less than lovely, put on this dress and it’ll help you remember that you are loved. And that will see you through everything.” (p. 149)

When it comes to fiction, generally I am not the greatest fan of magical realism. Though, as is the case with most things there are always exceptions. The Dress Shop of Dreams is about a woman named Etta who owns a dress shop that isn’t your ordinary dress shop; instead the dresses in Etta’s store speak to her and bring magic to those who are ready and willing to accept them. The book also tells the stories both past and present of various other characters who are or become connected to either Etta or her grand-daughter, Cora.

Although there were several things in this book that were obvious to me such as the entire mystery behind Cora parents’ deaths, and other things that annoyed me slightly such as how weak willed a few of the characters were, The Dress Shop of Dreams was still an enjoyable read. I particularly loved the relationship between Cora and Etta in addition to the relationship between Cora and her parents when she was a child which is only seen in flashbacks. I loved how both her parents loved each other and their daughter, and how even though they loved their work and were extremely into their research, they never neglected their relationships.

All in all, The Dress Shop of Dreams is a magical story regarding the magic that words, books and clothes and the effects they can have on people. It is an uplifting, enchanting and heartwarming story that is ideal for winter holiday which was when I in reality read the book. Also for those who like their books to having an ending that ties up all the loose ends nicely, this book does just that. I am looking forward to Menna van Praag’s subsequent book which based on its preview included in this book looks like it will be a mysterious read concerning witches who are university professors.

If you like this book, you’ll love: The Emperor of Paris by C.S. Richardson

Regardless of how this book came into my possession, the above review consists of my honest opinion of the book and my opinion only.

2 thoughts on “Book Review | The Dress Shop of Dreams by Menna van Praag

  1. I haven’t read many reviews that don’t include the publishers synopsis & thought the choice to descaled one was really interesting & I still got a good grasp on the story. It doesn’t quite sound like my type of book because I too have issues with magical realism, but it sounds intriguing based on what you had to say about it. I might have to pick this one up next winter 🙂

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