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A Vintage Affair

Average Rating 4
( 1484 )
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(567)

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(272)

2 Star

(109)

1 Star

(67)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

76 out of 77 people found this review helpful.

A great, layered story

A Vintage Affair is a beautiful combination of historical fiction and contemporary women's fiction. On the surface, it tells the story of Phoebe, auction house buyer turned vintage shop owner. In substance this career change isn't drastic; it utilizes the same skill set...
A Vintage Affair is a beautiful combination of historical fiction and contemporary women's fiction. On the surface, it tells the story of Phoebe, auction house buyer turned vintage shop owner. In substance this career change isn't drastic; it utilizes the same skill set. It is, however, a great risk both financially and personally as Phoebe initially uses her shop to hide from her demons. In running from her own past, Phoebe ends up running headlong into the pasts of others. Clothes do hold memories, after all. She ends up very involved in the life and past of Mrs. Bell. This French survivor of WWII tells Phoebe of her experiences in her designer clothes, which Phoebe is buying from her, and of her experiences in clothes that were handmade for her during the War, specifically a blue winter coat which she refuses to sell. As Mrs. Bell relates the small betrayals that had lasting consequences in the French countryside where she grew up, Phoebe notices the correlations to her own life and the large act of betrayal she has been trying to forget she committed. A wonderful read with lush descriptions of both the clothes and the eras in both women's stories, A Vintage Affair will not disappoint. It is a story that will stay with you, just like the prom dress in your attic that you can't bare to part with.

Book source: Goodreads First Reads Program

posted by Lawral on April 15, 2010

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Most Helpful Critical Review

8 out of 25 people found this review helpful.

Poorly Written

Where to start? The dialog was embarrassedly awkward. The characters and story line were embarrassingly predictable. The sex scene is just odd. I have to admit I liked the fashion angle, but beyond that there was nada.

posted by X_in_SF on August 19, 2010

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  • Posted August 9, 2010

    Beach Fluff

    Pleasant but not enough substance. If you want mindless entertainment - this is it. I picked the book for a reason - I love vintage items. That part was pretty interesting! I want to go Europe antiquing!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 9, 2010

    Reasonable but not memorable

    The book was a reasonable light read, but you won't walk away with any WOW factors. There were a few too many characters with small plots that didn't add to the book and just added words without substance. The vintage clothing information was interesting and I might have developed that further rather than the random characters here and there with not much depth in any of them.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 5, 2010

    An Entertaining Read, but...

    I read this book because the phrase "Vivienne Westwood bustle skirt" in the description grabbed me. This book is great for anyone who loves vintage clothes and enjoys reading books about everyday lives.

    However, I felt that this book had too many parallel story lines that didn't always connect. The one central plot is the story of Phoebe, her clothing shop, and her motivations for leaving her job in favor of opening the shop. Then there are other plot lines that seem to intrude and their only connecting factor is the fact that Phoebe encounters and touches them briefly.

    I felt that this book could have dealt with Phoebe's life more more intimately and with more meaning if it had gone deeper instead of broader.

    Overall, this book is an entertaining read, and is good for a getaway, but if you are looking for something deeply meaningful, this book may not be it.

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 7, 2013

    3 stars

    Nice story, worth reading - a little melancholy, but well rounded - and I enjoyed the vintage fashion aspect.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 25, 2013

    A quick interesting read!

    Never read Wolff's work before...enjoyable and intertwined with heartfelt, mindful
    stories...stories of guilt that haunt the protagonists.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 28, 2012

    Really Enjoyed

    Liked alot

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2011

    Fine for the beach

    The book was cute and a few small surprises but I found the characters without much depth. They felt to be a bit flat and predictable and I yearned for some deeper insight. The action itself was also a little too pat. Work in this kind of field is much more give and take, some mistakes, bad ideas until good ones surface. The store assistant never had a bad idea! Perhaps because of the short nature of the book the real life was supplanted by a more idealistic and perhaps more stylized version. It has a positive theme however and would be fine for a beach read.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2011

    SKC

    Light reading, but very enjoyable.

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  • Posted August 15, 2011

    Ehh

    I love books and for me to push myself to finish one sucks. I am not saying this is horribly written book but I couldn't connect with the characters. I also feel like there a are missing gaps in the plot.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 15, 2011

    Many interpretations but it just didn't do it for me.

    So you can take this book as a love of vintage clothing sets the stage to uncover an unfinished story that started during the holocaust. And then, you can add on whether or not the main character's love for vintage clothing translates to her desire to look for "older" men or men who appreciate "vintage"? Of course, there are smaller stories/events that spring off from these vintage clothes that she sells as well. Overall, I agree that this book has many layers, but maybe it should have less to concentrate more on the couple the author wants to emphasize. I would prefer to know more about the holocaust story or see more development in the character's love life, maybe even more about the character's friendship. I felt like the author tackled too much; so either the book should be longer to cover everything in more depth or edit to not distract and leave readers unsatisfied. I didn't grow attached to the characters. I felt sympathy for this story, but I've read others where I cried my eyes out. So this book was good on the surface but didn't hit a home run with me.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 29, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Reflective, interesting...Sad notes but a happy ending

    Read this book, and loved the angle for Vintage clothing. Gives one a whole new thought of what may go into that type of job.
    Loved the characters but there was moments of sad reflection for the older lady, the main character gets attached to, who reminds us of our beloved Grandmothers.
    Waxes nostalgic, sometimes a bit pedantic for my taste but still I was determined to find out what happened in the end.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2011

    awesome

    cool book

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  • Posted April 3, 2011

    decent

    book had a great story line, I instantly found myself wanting to know what happens. The aurthor does a good job at developing the characters and your heart will go out to them.. However, if spelling errors irritate you and prevent you from reading a story dont download.

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  • Posted February 10, 2011

    good read

    loved the detail and research. captivating story.

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  • Posted February 6, 2011

    good easy read

    good easy read

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2011

    OKAY READ

    I was not real impressed with this book. It had a good story to it but at times it was to focused on clothes. It was good but not great!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 4, 2010

    OK, but borrow it from someone if you can

    This book wasn't too bad but I wish that I had borrowed it from someone to read. It seemed to have potential but was more focused on clothes than content.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 30, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    fun, romantic read, even though I sobbed through the last chapters

    This was a good read for me, for I love vintage fashions. The novel, however, has too many overtones of Harlequin Romance to ever come close to the five-star classic. Phoebe, the main character, is easy to love--in fact, almost everyone who comes in contact with her loves her immediately. Romantic nostalgia dominates the tone, not merely though the vintage fashion, but through references to old films and a trip to a small vineyard in France where the grapes are still picked by hand. Although I place this novel in the 'romance' category, it is Phoebe's relationships with the older women of the novel--her mother and an older woman who lives in Paragon Apartments--that really kept me reading.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 24, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fashion was good, Writing not so hot.

    I felt like this book was quaint and sweet but fairly predictable, good for a day at the beach or a rainy saturday but not much else. I suppose i was hoping for something as good as Steve Martin's novella "Shopgirl" but this was nowhere as good. The main character, Phoebe, had absolutely no depth or sophistication, which was disappointing because the author places her in some deeply poignant situations and she just comes off flat, emotionally incapable, and a little stupid. This made it very difficult for me to empathize with her or hope for her redemption; in fact she seemed little more than a shop mannequin herself. Some of the other characters were warm and interesting but i felt that their development and relationships were cliche. I did really like the descriptions of the fashion and some of the forays into its history, as well as the lovely and twisting story of the blue coat. However, the overall writing style was clunky and a little dumbed down, the dialogue awkward and unnatural, and there was barely any nuance in the descriptions. If it weren't for the sultrier scenes, it easily could have been tween-level reading. Is this what chick lit actually is??

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2010

    Not enough details of Vintage!

    The book kept you interested in the storyline of Mrs. Bell and her childhood frined who was captured in the 1940s by the Nazis. The book should have gone far more into detail about the Vintage clothes, it only spoke of the history of one item, "the blue coat". The ending just dropped off, it needs a better conclusion.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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