Fashion designer Meg Julliard has to leave her industry job in New York behind her to return to her hometown Chicago following her father’s death. He managed a residential building and the responsibility now falls to a reluctant Meg. Unfortunately, the building is in desperate need of repairs and the long term tenants are older, unable to pay higher rents or relocate. One of the tenants, Ellie Ward, is preparing to leave at her daughter’s insistence, thinking she needs to be in an assisted living environment. She befriends Meg and gives her a beloved dress that is a remnant of both the best and worst day of her life. Meanwhile, Meg is desperate to find the money needed to avoid selling the building to buyers only interested in evicting the tenants and rebuilding something shinier.
I’m glad I followed my instincts and counted on this story being much more than about a dress. Yes, the dress is an important element but the real heart involves the many relationships formed between Meg, the tenants and a certain handyman named Scott who all keep things afloat. Even the building becomes a source of interest beyond its engineering needs, leading to a creative solution.
I knew I’d like this story but didn’t expect to love it. Meg’s an exceptionally interesting character who doesn’t realize the depths of her talents and spirit. There are some standout characters that also make this a lively story and unexpected romances. And let’s not forget the dress, which adds a whiff of magical realism that captured my imagination. This was my first experience with the narrator and her performance was wonderful. She managed the age and gender distinctions with perfection and I’m happy I chose the audio version. I closed out the year with this story and it left me in such a good place to begin the new one. It is special.
- Release Date: October 26, 2021
- Narrator: Bailey Carr
- Audio Length: 8 hours, 23 minutes
- Publisher: HarperAudio
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(Thanks to HarperAudio for my complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.)