The Dress Shop of Dreams

December 30, 2014

The Dress Shop of Dreams
By: Menna Van Praag
336 Pages
Reviewed By: Betsey Broks

Since her parents’ mysterious deaths many years ago, scientist Cora Sparks has spent her days in the safety of her university lab or at her grandmother Etta’s dress shop. Tucked away on a winding Cambridge street, Etta’s charming tiny store appears quite ordinary to passersby, but the colorfully vibrant racks of beaded silks, delicate laces, and jewel-toned velvets hold bewitching secrets: With just a few stitches from Etta’s needle, these gorgeous gowns have the power to free a woman’s deepest desires.

Etta’s dearest wish is to work her magic on her granddaughter. Cora’s studious, unromantic eye has overlooked Walt, the shy bookseller who has been in love with her forever. Determined not to allow Cora to miss her chance at happiness, Etta sews a tiny stitch into Walt’s collar, hoping to give him the courage to confess his feelings to Cora. But magic spells—like true love—can go awry. After Walt is spurred into action, Etta realizes she’s set in motion a series of astonishing events that will transform Cora’s life in extraordinary and unexpected ways.-- publisher description

Menna VanPraag's newest book "Dress Shop of Dreams" is a treat for any mystery lover. It is packed full of twists and turns with just a bit of magic. I would just think I had the answers and there would be a couple of twists, a turn or two and a fascinating  character. 

Ettaa Sparks' dress shop has been in her family for generations. Her creations are made of rich fabrics in any color one can imagine. Each dress is unique and Etta is always ready to add a very special stitch.
Ettaa's granddaughter, Cora, has been raised by her since the tragic death of Cora's parents. Cora's parents were scientists and Cora shares their passion and drive. Dr. Baxter and Cora have a grant to develop ways to feed underdeveloped nations. Etta is concerned that Cora is burying herself in the laboratory . Walt, a life long friend of Cora's, has told Etta that he loves Cora, but she is oblivious. Etta encourages Walt and gives him a little bit of magic to help him. This does not work out the way Edda had hoped.

While celebrating Cora's birthday Edda tells her that she doesn't think her parents death was an accident. Hearing this Cora decides to investigate. She meets detective Henry Dixon and together they discover some conflicting information. Visions from Cora's early childhood begin to pop up . Following the clues brings Cora to a shocking conclusion.

Block off a quiet time, find a comfortable spot and dive in. There are skeletons in several closets, a diary written in code, a patient priest, a police inspector with a little magic of his own and romances both old and new. Enjoy!

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