Why hello stranger.
Welcome back to Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.
Today, we're doing it up old Hollywood style as we adopt a persona or two to suite our own purposes. How so? Ah, wouldn't you like to know...and know you shall thanks to the book at the center of our spotlight today. The bookish star of the day is a Fiction read filled with mystery, suspense, dodgey behaviour, femme fatales, and crimes most heinous. In other words, it'll keep you turning pages for many a reason; some of which I'm about to illuminate. So, grab your red carpet ready look and practice your most sultry stare. Today's book of choice is....
About the book...
A young woman comes to Hollywood to escape her past. She finds work in a vintage clothing store that sells clothes used in the movies. One day she discovers a way to transfer human character through these vintage clothes, and she uses this ability to transform from a lonely, insecure young woman to a glamorous heartbreaker. But she also discovers that with the good comes the bad as character flaws are transferred too. She begins to worry: what if one of the vintage clothes she has sold to some unsuspecting customer had been previously worn by a deeply troubled soul? One day her fears become crystallized—intrigued by a man who comes asking about a beautiful scarlet dress she has recently sold, she looks into its history and discovers a secret that terrifies her. So begins a quest to find the scarlet dress complicated by a budding romance and the threads of her past, which intervene like trip wires. Emotions run high, and in the background the quickening drumbeat of the race to find the scarlet dress, potent as a loose, loaded weapon.
The idea that we can share another's chi or essence through the imprint left on the clothes they wore is not exactly new, but to the degree that it is carried out here, it's a first read for me. Do I believe it can happen? That one can simply put on the clothes of another worn during a highly emotional time and POOF, you are "them" to some degree? Hmm...can't say I see it happening in real life, but it works for the novel. (Before you go stoning me, I do believe it to the extent of how wearing a certain outfit can make you more confident, feel more delicate, have you prepared to kick butt, or any other myriad of feelings, but a lot of that has to due with how you feel in the clothes AND the power of suggestion.)
Genevieve was such a great leading lady, whether she knew it or not. She had looks that weren't overtly distracting, a pleasant demeanor, brains to go with the package, and a smile that would light up a room. Only problem? A lack of confidence. Easily fixed, right? More so than you ever imagined. A kind word here, a compliment there, and a borrowed dress or two from some of Hollywood's biggest femme fatales sure take this girl a LONG way. We're talking girl-next-door to watch-out-world-here-I-come! They bring her out of her shell and allow her to do things she'd never have considered before but that's what playing a role does. It takes you out of the every day and places you in the spotlight. Problem is not everyone was meant for that particular role and when push comes to shove, Ms. Genevieve is walking a dangerous tight rope with the chance to loose everyone and everything dear to her in an instant. Will she man up, owning her wants and desires while letting go of the past for better or worse? Or will she cave and continue to hide behind the mask of those powerhouses that came before her? Only one way to find out....
The story is filled with a few threads to follow and while they may cross, they don't become a tangled web of disaster. The strongest undercurrent though is LOVE. Whether for family, friends, lovers, or soul mates, love is what leads them astray as well as to their happy endings. Genevieve explores its darkness as well as its light, discovering sides to herself and others she holds dear, that she never imagined. It's really eye opening. In fact, I was completely blindsided as a particular revelation made itself known once and for all. I had been right there with our lead, ready to fight, then defend, then fight once again. The final scenes though? They really take the cake! A true accomplishment that were the tale true, would certainly haunt a particular someone for the rest of his days.
Now, as is the case with any movie, the characters are what make this truly memorable. Everyone from our leading lady to her office mate and emerging friend Gretchen, Renzo the mysterious person stalking the red dress in question to Cameron an ex-con that has a bigger role to play than you might think, they all help the book cast its spell over you as you try to figure out all the connections before they fall neatly in place.
The only drawback I can even mention would be in relation to the cover. Now don't get me wrong, it is effectively striking and certainly beautiful to behold, but what's with the hidden hat? It's actually an accessory our leading lady favors for a good portion of the book and truth be told, I didn't even notice it gracing the head of the cover model until I was posting the pic for this post. I suppose since it plays a lesser role, it doesn't need to be front and center but then again, if it's going to be THAT out of sight, why include it in the image at all? Just a thought; no more, no less.
All in all, a great read that will keep you turning pages well into the night. You'll come for the story but stay for the vivaciousness of it all. From the murder mystery to the romantic entanglements, twisted truths to secrets best left undisturbed, the parade of Mr. Right-Now's versus Mr. Happily-Ever-After, and of course the glitz and glamour of the city itself! The shiny lights of Hollywood cast their spell over it all and leave you breathless with all the revelations. Recommended read for Fiction and Noir fans for the overall story as well as the mysteries stirring within. The only caution I would give is that it be older teens through adults for the target age range, due to somewhat gratuitous drug usage, drinking, and a promiscuous nature on display thanks to a few choice moments of spiritual transference.
Special thanks to author Praveen Asthana for the review copy. (THANKS!) For more information on this title as well as their future works, feel free to click through the links provided above. This title reached publication February 2015, so be on the lookout for it on a bookstore shelf or virtual retailer of your choosing.
Until next time...happy reading!