A Vintage Affair

( 1486 )


Every dress has a history. And so does every woman.
Phoebe Swift’s friends are stunned when she abruptly leaves a plum job to open her own vintage clothing shop in London—but to Phoebe, it’s the fulfillment of a dream, and her passion. Digging for finds in attics and wardrobes, Phoebe knows that when you buy a piece of vintage clothing, you’re not just buying fabric and thread—you’re buying a piece of ...

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A Vintage Affair: A Novel

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Every dress has a history. And so does every woman.
Phoebe Swift’s friends are stunned when she abruptly leaves a plum job to open her own vintage clothing shop in London—but to Phoebe, it’s the fulfillment of a dream, and her passion. Digging for finds in attics and wardrobes, Phoebe knows that when you buy a piece of vintage clothing, you’re not just buying fabric and thread—you’re buying a piece of someone’s past. But one particular article of clothing will soon unexpectedly change her life.

Thérèse Bell, an elderly Frenchwoman, has an impressive clothing collection. But among the array of elegant suits and couture gowns, Phoebe finds a child’s sky-blue coat—an item with which Mrs. Bell is stubbornly reluctant to part. As the two women become friends, Phoebe will learn the poignant tale of that little blue coat. And she will discover an astonishing connection between herself and Thérèse Bell—one that will help her heal the pain of her own past and allow her to love again.

Look for special features inside.
Join the Circle for author chats and more.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“A captivating story about the power of friendship . . . More than a novel, it is a recipe for happiness.”Anne Fortier, New York Times bestselling author of Juliet

“Romantic and sumptuous, this is a must for fans of vintage dresses and vintage romance.”—Hester Browne, author of The Little Lady Agency
“This colorful new novel has something for everyone. There is mystery, romance, great characters, as well as London and France.”—Naples Daily News
“Deftly blends past and present, romance and mystery, and a theme of forgiveness and redemption.”Mary Kincaid, The Huffington Post

Library Journal
Vintage clothing lover Phoebe opens her own resale boutique in London's Blackheath neighborhood, meeting much success. She's grateful for the hustle and bustle the shop provides, because it lets her forget her guilt over the death of her best childhood friend, not to mention that she just left her fiancé at the altar. When the elderly Mrs. Bell contracts with Phoebe to sell her entire wardrobe, Phoebe finds herself reeled in by the story of Mrs. Bell's childhood friend, thought lost in the horrors of the Holocaust. Additionally, our heroine's got not one but two new suitors keeping her on her toes. Sounds like a lot, but Wolff manages to keep every story line interesting and on track, including plenty of fashion talk. VERDICT Fans of British chick lit, rejoice! (And readers who aren't already fans, prepare to become such.) With a wide cast of realistic, wonderfully drawn characters, a deft blending of the past with the present, and a seemingly effortless managing of several plots at once, this charming novel by the author ofBehaving Badly and The Trials of Tiffany Trott deserves a place in all popular fiction collections.—Rebecca Vnuk, Forest Park, IL
Kirkus Reviews
In search of a fresh start, sad chick-lit heroine immerses herself in old clothes and new relationships. As obvious as a Vivienne Westwood bustle skirt, this lightweight romance with melancholy overtones introduces British author Wolff, with seven previous novels already published, to a U.S. readership. It's the story of guilt-ridden ex-Sotheby's textile specialist Phoebe Swift, now opening a vintage-clothes shop in South London as a means of starting over after the death of her best friend Emma, caused in part by Phoebe's altered priorities after her engagement to a man Emma wanted for herself. The shop takes off at lightning speed, and bruised Phoebe soon has two new possible suitors in view, color-blind journalist Dan and suave, older solicitor Miles. Among a rash of subplots including her parents' failed marriage and the mini-narratives of customers visiting the store, Phoebe becomes involved with frail Mrs. Bell, who also let down her best friend, a Jewish girl in Nazi-occupied France. Despite a cast of one-dimensional secondary characters and an array of weak, fraudulent and self-deluding men, the novel achieves some emotional engagement in its mirrored themes of loss, redemption and forgiveness, which Wolff weaves neatly into her predictably upbeat conclusion. Innocent, tidy and simple escapism, with frocks. Agent: Clare Conville/Conville & Walsh
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780553386622
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 4/5/2011
  • Pages: 384
  • Sales rank: 237,132
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 7.90 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Isabel Wolff was born in Warwickshire, England, and attended Cambridge University. She is the author of seven bestselling novels, which have been published in twenty-five languages. She lives in London with her family. Bantam Books will publish her next novel in 2011.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

September is at least a good time for a new start, I reflected as I left the house early this morning. I've always felt a greater sense of renewal at the beginning of September than I ever have in January. Perhaps, I thought as I crossed Tranquil Vale, it's because September so often feels fresh and clear after the dankness of August. Or perhaps, I wondered as I passed Blackheath Books, its windows emblazoned with Back to School promotions, it's simply the association with the new academic year.

As I walked up the hill towards the Heath, the freshly painted fascia of Village Vintage came into view and I allowed myself a brief burst of optimism. I unlocked the door, picked the mail up off the mat, and began preparing the shop for its official launch.

I worked nonstop until four, selecting the clothes from the stockroom upstairs and putting them out on the racks. As I draped a 1920s tea dress over my arm I ran my hand over its heavy silk satin, then fingered its intricate beading and its perfect hand stitching. This, I told myself, is what I love about vintage clothes. I love their beautiful fabric and their fine finish. I love knowing that so much skill and artistry have gone into their making.

I glanced at my watch. Only two hours to go until the party. I remembered that I'd forgotten to chill the champagne. As I dashed into the little kitchen and ripped open the cases I wondered how many people would come. I'd invited a hundred, so I'd need at least seventy glasses at the ready. I stacked the bottles in the fridge, turned it up to Frost, then made myself a quick cup of tea. Sipping my Earl Grey, I looked around the shop, allowing myself to savour for a moment the transition from pipe dream to reality.

The interior of Village Vintage looked modern and light. I'd had the wooden floors stripped and limed, the walls painted a

dove grey and hung with large silver-framed mirrors; there were glossy potted plants on chrome stands, a spangling of downlights on the white- painted ceiling, and next to the fitting room, a large cream- upholstered bergère sofa. Through the windows, Blackheath stretched into the far distance, the sky a giddying vault of blue patched with towering white clouds. Beyond the church, two yellow kites danced in the breeze while on the horizon the glass towers of Canary Wharf glinted and flashed in the late-afternoon sunlight.

I suddenly realised that the journalist who was supposed to be interviewing me was over an hour late. I didn't even know which paper he was from. All I could remember from yesterday's brief phone conversation with him was that his name was Dan and that he'd said he'd be here at three-thirty. My irritation turned to panic. What if he didn't come at all? I needed the publicity. My insides lurched at the thought of my huge loan. As I tied the price tag on an embroidered evening bag, I remembered trying to convince the bank that its cash would be safe.

"So you were at Sotheby's?" the lending manager had said as she went through my business plan in a small office, every square inch of which, including the ceiling and even the back of the door, seemed to be covered in thick, grey baize.

"I worked in the textiles department," I'd explained, "evaluating vintage clothes and conducting auctions."

"So you must know a lot about it."

"I do."

She scribbled something on the form, the nib of her pen squeaking across the glossy paper. "But it's not as though you've ever worked in retail, is it?"

"No," I said, my heart sinking. "That's true. But I've found attractive, accessible premises in a pleasant, busy area where there are no other vintage dress shops." I handed her the real estate agent's brochure for Montpelier Vale.

"It's a nice site," she said as she studied it. My spirits rose. "And being on the corner gives it good visibility." I imagined the windows aglow with glorious dresses. "But the lease is expensive." The woman put the brochure down on the grey tabletop and looked at me grimly. "What makes you think you'll be able to generate enough sales to cover your overhead, let alone make a profit?"

"Because . . ." I suppressed a frustrated sigh. "I know that the demand is there. Vintage has now become so fashionable that it's almost mainstream. These days you can even buy vintage clothing in High Street stores like Miss Selfridge and Topshop."

There was silence while she scribbled again. "I know you can." She looked up again, but this time she was smiling. "I got the most wonderful Biba fake fur in Jigsaw the other day-mint condition and original buttons." She pushed the form towards me, then passed me her pen. "Could you sign at the bottom there, please?" . . .

Now I arranged the evening gowns on the formal-wear rack and put out the bags, belts, and shoes. I positioned the gloves in their basket, the costume jewellery in its velvet trays, then, on a corner shelf, high up, I carefully placed the hat that Emma had given me for my thirtieth birthday.

I stepped back and gazed at the extraordinary sculpture of bronze straw, its crown seeming to sweep upwards into infinity.

"I miss you, Em," I murmured. "Wherever you are now . . ." I faltered as I felt the familiar piercing sensation, as though there was a skewer in my heart.

I heard a sharp rapping sound behind me. On the other side of the glass door stood a man of about my age, maybe a little younger. He was tall and well built with large grey eyes and a mop of dark blond curls. He reminded me of someone famous, but I couldn't think who.

"Dan Robinson," he said with a broad smile as I let him in. "Sorry to be a bit late." I resisted the urge to tell him that he was very late. He took a notebook out of his battered-looking bag. "My previous interview ran overtime, then I got caught in traffic, but this should only take twenty minutes or so." He shoved his hand into the pocket of his crumpled linen jacket and produced a pencil. "I just need to get down the basic facts about the business and a bit of your background." He glanced at the hydra of silk scarves spilling over the counter and the half-dressed mannequin. "But you're obviously busy, so if you haven't got time, I'd quite-"

"Oh, I've got time," I interrupted. "Really-as long as you don't mind me working while we chat." I slipped a sea-green chiffon cocktail dress onto its velvet hanger. "Which paper did you say you were from?" Out of the corner of my eye I registered the fact that his mauve striped shirt didn't go with the sage of his chinos.

"It's a new twice-weekly free paper called the Black & Green-the Blackheath and Greenwich Express. It's only been going a couple of months, so we're building our circulation."

"I'm grateful for any coverage," I said as I put the dress at the front of the day-wear rack.

"The piece should run on Friday." Dan glanced round the shop. "The interior's nice and bright. You wouldn't think it was old stuff that was being sold here-I mean, vintage," he corrected himself.

"Thank you," I said wryly, though I was grateful for his observation.

As I quickly scissored the cellophane off some white agapanthus, Dan peered out the window. "It's a great location."

I nodded. "I love being able to look out over the Heath. Plus the shop's very visible from the road, so I hope to get passing trade as well as dedicated vintage buyers."

"That's how I found you," said Dan as I put the flowers into a tall glass vase. "I was walking past yesterday, and your sign said"-he reached into the pocket of his trousers and took out a pencil sharpener-"that you were about to open, and I thought it would make a good feature for Friday's paper." As he sat on the sofa I noticed that he was wearing mismatched socks-one green and one brown. "Not that fashion's really my thing."

"Isn't it?" I said politely as he gave the pencil a few vigorous turns. "Don't you use a tape recorder?" I couldn't help asking.

He inspected the newly pointed tip, then blew on it. "I prefer speed writing. Okay now." He pocketed the sharpener. "Let's start. So . . ." He bounced the pencil against his lower lip. "What should I ask you first?" I tried not to show my dismay at his lack of preparation. "I know," he said. "Are you local?"

"Yes." I folded a pale blue cashmere cardigan. "I grew up in Eliot Hill, closer to Greenwich, but for the past five years I've been living in the centre of Blackheath, near the station." I thought of my snug railwayman's cottage with its tiny front garden.

"Station," Dan repeated slowly. "Next question . . ." This interview was going to take ages-it was the last thing I needed. "Do you have a fashion background?" he asked. "Won't the readers want to know that?"

"Er . . . possibly." I told him about my fashion-history degree from Saint Martin's and my career at Sotheby's.

"So how long were you at Sotheby's?"

"Twelve years." I folded an Yves Saint Laurent silk scarf and laid it in a tray. "In fact I'd recently been made head of the costumes and textiles department. But then . . . I decided to leave."

Dan looked up. "Even though you'd just been promoted?"

"Yes . . ." My heart ached. I'd said too much. "I'd been there almost from the day I'd graduated, you see, and I needed . . ." I glanced out the window, struggling to quell the surge of emotion breaking over me. "I felt I needed . . ."

"A career break?" he suggested.

"A . . . change. So I went on a sort of sabbatical in early March." I draped a string of Chanel paste pearls round the neck of a silver mannequin. "Sotheby's said they'd keep my job open until June, but in mid-May I saw that the lease here had come up, so I decided to take the plunge and sell vintage myself. I'd been toying with the idea for some time," I added.

"Some . . . time," Dan repeated quietly. This was hardly "speed writing." I stole a glance at his odd squiggles and abbreviations. "Next question . . ." He chewed the end of his pencil. The man was useless. "I know: Where do you find your stock?" He looked at me. "Or is that a trade secret?"

"Not really." I fastened the hooks on a café au lait-coloured silk blouse by Georges Rech. "I bought quite a bit from some of the smaller auction houses outside London, as well as from specialist dealers and private individuals who I already knew through Sotheby's. I also got things at vintage fairs, on eBay, and I made two or three trips to France."

"Why France?"

"You can find lovely vintage garments in provincial markets there-like these embroidered nightdresses." I held one up. "I bought them in Avignon. They weren't too expensive because French women are less keen on vintage than we are in this country."

"Vintage clothing's become rather desirable here, hasn't it?"

"Very desirable." I quickly fanned some 1950s copies of Vogue onto the glass table by the sofa. "Women want individuality, not mass production, and that's what vintage clothing gives them. Wearing vintage suggests originality and flair. I mean, a woman can buy an evening dress on High Street for two hundred pounds," I went on, warming to the interview now, "and the next day it's worth almost nothing. But for the same money she could have bought something made of gorgeous fabric, that no one else would have been wearing and that will, if she doesn't wreck it, actually increase in value. Like this." I pulled out a Hardy Amies petrol-blue silk taffeta dinner gown, from 1957, admiring its elegant halter neck, slim bodice, and gored skirt.

"It's lovely," said Dan. He cocked his head. "You'd think it was new."

"Everything I sell is in perfect condition."

"Condition . . ." he muttered as he scribbled again.

"Every garment is washed or dry-cleaned," I went on as I returned the dress to the rack. "I have a wonderful seamstress who does the big repairs and alterations. The smaller ones I can do here myself-I have a little den in the back with a sewing machine."

"And what do these things sell for?"

"They range from fifteen pounds for a hand-rolled silk scarf, to seventy-five for a cotton day dress, to two or three hundred pounds for an evening dress. A couture piece can cost up to fifteen hundred pounds." I pulled out a Pierre Balmain gold faille evening gown from the early 1960s, embroidered with bugle beads and silver sequins, and lifted its protective cover. "This is an important dress, made by a major designer at the height of his career. Or there's this." I took out a pair of silk velvet palazzo pants in a psychedelic pattern of sherbety pinks and greens. "This outfit's by Emilio Pucci. It'll almost certainly be bought as an investment piece rather than to wear, because Pucci, like Ossie Clark, Biba, and Jean Muir, is very collectable."

"Marilyn Monroe loved Pucci," Dan said. "She was buried in her favourite green silk Pucci dress." I nodded, surprised and not liking to admit that I hadn't known that. "Those are fun." He glanced at the wall behind me. Hanging on it, like paintings, were four strapless, ballerina-length evening dresses-one lemon yellow, one candy pink, one turquoise, and one lime-each with a satin bodice beneath which foamed a mass of net petticoats, sparkling with crystals.

"I've hung those there because I love them. They're fifties prom dresses, but I call them cupcake dresses," I added with a smile, "because they're so glamorous and frothy. Just looking at them makes me feel happy." Or as happy as I can be now, I thought bleakly.

Dan stood up. "And what's that you're putting out there?"

"This is a Vivienne Westwood bustle skirt." I held it up for him. "And this"-I pulled out a terra-cotta silk kaftan-"is by Thea Porter, and this little suede shift is by Mary Quant."

"What about this?" Dan had pulled out an oyster-pink satin evening dress with a cowl neckline, fine pleating at the sides, and a sweeping fishtail hem. "It's wonderful-it's like something Katharine Hepburn would have worn, or Greta Garbo-or Veronica Lake," he added thoughtfully, "in The Glass Key."

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Interviews & Essays


Isabel Wolff

Vintage Clothing Bullet Points with References/Quotes

1. Know what suits you and stick to it. One of Phoebe's customers wants to buy a glamorous yellow satin prom dress - Phoebe calls them 'cupcakes' - but the woman is too short and plump to carry it off. Her friend tells her that it makes her look like 'one of those frozen lemons that's been stuffed with sorbet that squishes out of the top of it'. The woman reluctantly agrees and a few days later the dress is bought by the lovely schoolgirl Katie, who had been saving up to buy it, and who was clearly born to wear it.

2. Don't be squeamish! Phoebe's mother, who's recently divorced, has a horror of vintage, because she can't bear the thought of wearing something that's been worn by someone else. But seeing the exquisite garments in Phoebe's shop makes her come to a different view. In fact the elegant Jacques Fath brocade two-piece that Mrs Swift buys there is to lead her to a new relationship. She wears the suit to a party, and a man, noticing the unusual fabric, starts chatting to her about it because his father worked in textiles. So, as with many of the vintage clothes in 'A Vintage Affair' a beautiful old garment is to transform the life of its new owner.

3. Don't haggle! Vintage dress shops are upscale places, not thrift stores, and their proprietors know the value of their stock. So don't try to beat them down, as they're unlikely to agree and may be very offended. Phoebe's assistant, Annie, becomes indignant with a woman who tries to get 75% off a Bill Gibb silver lace mini-dress from the 1960s. Annie flatly refuses and advises the woman that if she wants to haggle she should go to the souk!

4. If you're buying vintage as an investment, then buy the best you can afford. This means buying garments with a designer or even a couture label. Anything by Dior, Givenchy or Chanel will increase in value, especially if it's kept in good condition. Phoebe goes to an auction at Christie's, where she bids for a 1930s satin gown by the legendary French couturiere, Madame Gres. Phoebe has hot competition from a handsome lawyer, Miles, who's trying to buy the dress for his teenage daughter. Phoebe wins, but ends up paying twice as much as she'd intended: however her fury abates when, a few days later, Miles walks into her shop.

5. Store vintage garments correctly. Don't hang satin or lace but place the garments between sheets of tissue and lay them carefully in a drawer. Put anything moth-prone in clear plastic covers. In other words - look after the clothes. Phoebe goes to buy a collection from an elderly Frenchwoman living in London, Therese Bell. The clothes are in great condition, but Phoebe notices one garment, a child's sky-blue winter coat from the early 1940s that has clearly been kept with especial care. Mrs Bell says she'll never part with this little blue coat and, as the two women become friends, she tells Phoebe the heartbreaking story behind it. During the War, she had promised the coat to her Jewish school friend, Monique, who was in hiding near Avignon. Instead, she inadvertently betrayed her, and has punished herself for it ever since. Through her profound sympathetic engagement with this story, which parallels a recent tragedy of her own, Phoebe will be able to find a kind of redemption both for Mrs Bell and, ultimately, for herself.

6. If you're selling vintage, then always check the pockets. Phoebe occasionally finds things in garments - the odd coin, an old stamp, or a pen. But towards the end of the novel she is to find something almost miraculous in a white ostrich-leather purse that she buys from a dealer in New York. Folded inside it is a concert programme from 1975 for a string quartet recital. The name of one of the violinists will enable Phoebe to uncover the true fate of Mrs Bell's childhood friend, Monique Richlieu, last seen in August 1943, at the gates of Auschwitz.

A Vintage Affair will be published by Bantam Dell in hardback, on June 29th 2010.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 1486 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 1488 Customer Reviews
  • Posted April 15, 2010

    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. 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

    77 out of 78 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 1, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun and fascinating!

    The narrator, Phoebe Swift, will capture your heart right from the get-go. Full of passion and enthusiasm, she shares her confusion, disappointments, and her regrets. There is a lot to keep you guessing and hoping. A bit of history is revealed along with stories from customers and knowledge of vintage clothes and her business, switch from Auction House buyer to A Vintage Shop. There are visits with many interesting characters that add so much intrigue in a lot of areas. There is a healthy mixture of fun, romance, and friendship that makes this book really fascinating. I loved it!

    38 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 26, 2010

    Incredible Read!

    Once in a rare while, a book comes along that is so enjoyable, and so easy to read, yet has all the things important for a "good book." This is one of those rare finds. The characters are very well-developed--many of them are people I'd like to know and have in my life. The plot moves quickly--I couldn't put the book down, and read it almost cover to cover in one sitting (pulled an all-nighter on a Friday night!). I kept reading faster to see what would happen next, yet did NOT want this story to end. This was the first book I've read by Isabel Wolff, but I'll be looking for some of her other titles now. I would easily say that this was among my favorite books I've ever read--and since I'm almost 60, and a VERY AVID reader, I've read hundreds of books (if not more!) in my life! I rarely keep a book to re-read, as I usually pass them on to friends or the local library. However, I'll be holding on to "A Vintage Affair" to read again. Yes, it was THAT wonderful! I might also add that, although I'm not particularly a fan of "vintage clothing" for myself, I found the detailed descriptions of the clothes and fabrics to be most enlightening and entertaining, along with the women who purchased certain garments. My point is that this book can be enjoyed by all women--not just those who are interested in vintage clothing. Can't recommend this book highly enough!!!

    17 out of 19 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 26, 2010

    A Must Read!!!

    If you like clothes and a good story that will make you laugh and cry, this books for you.

    10 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 19, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    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.

    9 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2010

    Not what was expected

    I read a little about this book just before I bought it and it was more than I thought it would be. I just felt for Phoebe and her relationship with Mrs. Bell was sweet and heartwarming. Wanted to strangle Miles and give Roxy a good old fashioned what's what. Dan was just the lovable nerdy guy that you wanted Phoebe to be with in the end. This was a quick read and really touched me. The descriptions of the clothes and towns just made everything easy to imagine and seem real. This is a book where you just could feel apart of it and not just looking in through dirty windows.

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 8, 2010

    A great twist on vintage fiction

    I love historical fiction, and this caught my eye. I was a wee bit concerned because I had read a review that was less than flattering, but I decided to give it a chance and am I glad I did! This was great twist on "vintage" fiction...ingenious usage of the vintage fashion to tell the story-

    8 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 24, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    What a Lovely Book!

    This book was wonderful. In a nutshell, it's about moving forward and not dwelling on the past. Learn your lessons, but don't let your life be consumed by past mistakes or misconceptions. The theme is tied together by the vintage clothing shop that the herione owns and runs. She loves the vintage clothing, thinks about the prior owners, and knows that she is breathing new life into old things. I loved everything about this book, and even surfed the web looking for some of the clothing designers metioned in the book. I highly recommend this book.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2010

    Wonderful Read!

    I really loved the main character in this book. The way that the author tied in the fashion and wove it into the story line really wrapped it all together.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 27, 2010


    i loved this book

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 26, 2010

    Highly Recommend

    Wonderful book! Once you start reading you can't stop

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 17, 2010

    Great book that sparks your imagination.

    Vintage Affair was an excellent, enjoyable and easy read. While reading, I would visualize the clothing along with the stories of each item. I could visualize past and future happiness along with the sadness. There were several different stories within this novel and all flowed quite well. I now have more an interest into vintage items whether clothes or items after reading this book. The book is also about letting go of burdens we place upon ourselves, forgiving ourselves and others and moving on and enjoying what life has in store for us. The ending is great. It was what I suspected and visualized. Thank you.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2010


    I started reading this book and just could not put it down. I loved everything about it. I have already bought several for Christmas gifts. Thanks to the writer for such a great read.....need more books like this.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2010

    A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff is an intriguing mixture of contemporary issues and reminiscences of the past. You see the intermingling of the "ties that bind" with old friendships and the minefield of navigating through adult relationsh

    The prologue was what captured my attention the most. Isabel starts off as if in a time or era resembling a Jane Austen novel. She artfully sets up the playful relationship between friends with the "hide and go seek" scene of the girlhood best friends. Jump forward 20 plus years and you see the time worn layers of the adult Phoebe and her trying to pull her life "back together" after the "incident" with Emma. Definitely one to take on a long weekend or to escape with. A romantic comedy in the best sense of the genre. Isabel artfully incorporates enough of the "vintage" culture references to make you want to research the pieces of clothing in her shop to "see" for yourself if the descriptions are "true to history". And her "passion" for the history of the clothes in her shop is evident - "you're not just buying fabric and thread - you're buying a piece of history". The same could be said for Isabel's work. You feel like you are getting a glimpse into someone's true past.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:


    this book took me away to another world, where very intresting things happen. not to mention the characters felt real.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2010

    I Also Recommend:


    I really loved this book... could not put it down...It is my first Isabel Wolff and I have already tracked down and ordered her other books. She draws you in with excellent characters and a wonderful story that has many twists and turns. I highly recommend it.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 31, 2010


    I love this book, love the close relationship between Pheobe and Mrs. Bell. It kept you wanting to know what is going to happen. This book is definite a keeper. I would recommend this book to my friends.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 17, 2010

    Loved it!

    What a touching and immersive story! I couldn't put it down for wanting to know what Phoebe would find out or experience next. This is the first book by Ms. Wolff that I have read and I am definitely going to seek out her others. She really brought the characters to life and I felt their emotions as though they were my own.


    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 21, 2010

    Great Book

    Once I started reading this book I couldn't put it down. I loved how she tied the two friendships together and how there was a little bit of mystery, friendship and romance all in one. I recommend this to everyone.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 5, 2010

    easty to read, enjoyable, wanted to know what was going to happen

    I had no idea what this story was going to be about, but was intrigued about the idea of vintage clothes. The author did a good job of weaving various story lines around the vintage clothing store and kept me interested with historic facts.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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