A Vintage Affair: A Novel

A Vintage Affair: A Novel

by Isabel Wolff
3.9 1480

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A Vintage Affair: A Novel by Isabel Wolff

Every dress has a history. And so does every woman.

BONUS: This edition contains an A Vintage Affair discussion guide and an excerpt from Isabel Wolff's The Very Picture of You.
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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553907704
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Publication date: 06/29/2010
Sold by: Random House
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 368
Sales rank: 67,621
File size: 3 MB

About 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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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Vintage Affair 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1480 reviews.
Lawral More than 1 year ago
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
hannahprescott More than 1 year ago
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!
EagerReader More than 1 year ago
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!!!
ctsoxfan More than 1 year ago
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-
Samantha-Firewheel More than 1 year ago
If you like clothes and a good story that will make you laugh and cry, this books for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Annibebe More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
MarilynC More than 1 year ago
Wonderful book! Once you start reading you can't stop
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Northern_Reader More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
jerseygurl97 More than 1 year ago
this book took me away to another world, where very intresting things happen. not to mention the characters felt real.
jamie4 More than 1 year ago
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.
Daphne57 More than 1 year ago
I admit I picked this up just to make a trip easier.I fell in love with the characters with the first dress decriptions.I was hoping to get an insiders view of a world class auction house but I happily surrendered to Phoebe as she struck out on her own.The steely Therese Bell and her tragic war tale gave a dramatic story line that wound through the entire book.. The strongest pull for me was the shop and the clients that returned to share a bit of their lives with Annie and Phoebe. The Vintage Affair gives readers a chance to go back to the days of Mary Quant before the advent of Topshop. It was a pleasant stroll.
Bukworm More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book. When you read it you will 'see' it all in your mind.
w0wcrazy More than 1 year ago
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. Enjoy!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed the multiple plots and the author's descriptive writing
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i loved this book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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.
harstan More than 1 year ago
In 1983 in London preadolescents Emma Kitts and Phoebe Swift meet at primary school in the Blackheath neighborhood. They become best friends. As adults they remained BFFs until Phoebe becomes engaged to the man Emma has fallen in love with. Not paying attention to Emma's needs, Phoebe is not there for her when her buddy dies. Feeling guilt and remorse, Phoebe ends her engagement and quits her job at Sotheby and goes after her dream. Phoebe loves vintage clothing so she opens up a boutique in Blackheath. Her shop is a success and she loses herself imagining the history of the garments she sells. Elderly Mrs. Bell commissions Phoebe to sell her entire wardrobe. Fascinated by what the elderly woman tells her about failing her best friend, a Jew, during the Nazi occupation of France, Phoebe begins to heal by forgiving herself for failing Emma. She even has two boyfriends; her first since dumping her fiancé. A Vintage Affair is an enjoyable British contemporary character study that focuses on history repeating it self at the individual level as Phoebe, Mrs. Bell and readers learn that betrayal, guilt, grief and self forgiveness are recurring human traits. The story line effortlessly moves back and forth in time as the theme is affirmed in each subplot. Although the key males come across as emaciated, readers will appreciate visiting Blackheath as redemption seems just around the corner of the person seeking solace. Harriet Klausner
Barb1966 More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!! It is definitely on my top ten list.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book.