Review: The Perfect Dress by Carolyn Brown

Posted April 16, 2019 by Sophia Rose in Reviews / 30 Comments

Tags: , ,

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Perfect Dress by Carolyn Brown
The Perfect Dress

One StarOne StarOne StarOne Star
two-flames

Genres: Contemporary Romance
Published by Montlake Romance
Released on April 16, 2019
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
add to goodreads

The Delight

Three friends since high school own a made to order bridal shop for plus size women.  These big beautiful women have been through a lot in secret pain and together with a pint of ice cream, but now they need each other more than ever.  This character-driven small town friends story of new opportunities, friendship, and romance had me wanting to pull up a chair at their kitchen table and sharing about life and whatever snack is being dipped into.

Review

In this standalone women’s fic- contemporary romance crossover, Mitzi gets a chance with her high school crush when his daughters need gowns for a wedding, Jody’s life goes to pieces when she learns it has all been a lie with high school sweetheart, Lyle, and Paula has to share that she turned out to be ‘the other woman’ in a cheating husband’s affair.

The Perfect Dress is the story of all three women along with Graham and his twin daughters.  The ladies and the girls are all plus size so they go through the lows and highs of what that can mean.  For Mitzi, its wondering how Graham can want her since she is a big woman and unlike his petite ex-wife even though her heart tells her that she’s got something on the inside that woman never had and that, yes, she’s gorgeous and especially to Graham.  For Jody, its learning that she put up with an emotionally and physically abusive mother so that she was ripe to turn herself inside out for a man who ended up cheating on her and walking away after years only to have a new man who likes her strength and sass try to convince her into meeting him for a cup of coffee.  And, for Paula, who was also emotionally abused and down-trodden by a parent, to learn the man she was with was only separated from his wife who now shows up in the neighborhood forcing Paula to be gracious and keep big secrets since that woman was the wronged one.

I loved how the bridal shop was the center of things with them working on the custom gowns, visiting when Mitzi’s gran or dad dropped by, and now having the lively Harrison twins brightening the shop with a handsome Graham along to addle Mitzi’s wits.  The big Dallas Bridal Show is what has them all pulling together to help make the shop have a good showing, but also Jody, Paula, and even Graham’s confrontations with exes to clear the past kept things lively enough.

The gentle, comfy, down home feel behind the friendship and Mitzi’s slow burn romance had me relaxing and enjoying every page though I confess I could have seen slightly less focus on the big girl stuff.  But, overall, it was engaging and fun particularly because Mitzi’s gran wouldn’t let them mope and they each had their own strength to finally reach for what they really wanted.  I’d recommend this one for those who enjoy the crossover between women’s fic and romance.

I rec’d this book from Netgalley to read in exchange for an honest review.

Challenges Met

New Release #50
Literary Pickers #87 picnic
Books N Tunes #22 Martina McBride’s Marry Me

Preview

About Carolyn Brown

Hi! I’m twenty five years old and movie star gorgeous. The camera added thirty plus years and a few wrinkles. Can’t trust those cameras or mirrors either. Along with bathroom scales they are notorious liars! Honestly, I am the mother of three fantastic grown children who’ve made me laugh and given me more story ideas than I could ever write. My husband, Charles, is my strongest supporter and my best friend. He’s even willing to eat fast food and help with the laundry while I finish one more chapter! Life is good and I am blessed!

Reading has been a passion since I was five years old and figured out those were words on book pages. As soon as my chubby little fingers found they could put words on a Big Chief tablet with a fat pencil, I was on my way. Writing joined reading in my list of passions. I will read anything from the back of the Cheerio’s box to Faulkner and love every bit of it. In addition to reading I enjoy cooking, my family and the ocean. I love the Florida beaches. Listening to the ocean waves puts my writing brain into high gear.

I love writing romance because it’s about emotions and relationships. Human nature hasn’t changed a bit since Eve coveted the fruit in the Garden of Eden. Settings change. Plots change. Names change. Times change. But love is love and men and women have been falling in and out of it forever. Romance is about emotions: love, hate, anger, laughter… all of it. If I can make you laugh until your sides ache or grab a tissue then I’ve touched your emotions and accomplished what every writer sets out to do.

I got serious about writing when my third child was born and had her days and nights mixed up. I had to stay up all night anyway and it was very quiet so I invested in a spiral back notebook and sharpened a few pencils. The story that emerged has never sold but it’s brought in enough rejection slips to put the Redwood Forest on the endangered list. In 1997 Kensington bought two books for their Precious Gems line. Two years and six books later the line died with only four of those books seeing publication. But by then Avalon had bought a book and another, and another. Ten years later the list has grown to thirty nine. Last year Sourcebooks bought the Lucky Series which is in the bookstores now. They’ve also bought The Honky Tonk Series which will debut with I LOVE THIS BAR in June and will be followed by HELL, YEAH, MY GIVE A DAMN’S BUSTED, and HONKY TONK CHRISTMAS.

Folks ask me where I get my ideas. Three kids, fifteen grandchildren, two great grandchildren. Note: I was a very young grandmother! Life is a zoo around here when they all come home. In one Sunday afternoon there’s enough ideas to keep me writing for years and years. Seriously, ideas pop up at the craziest times. When one sinks its roots into my mind, I have no choice but to write the story. And while I’m writing the characters peek over my shoulder and make sure I’m telling it right and not exaggerating too much. Pesky little devils, they are!

I have a wonderful agent, Erin Niumata, who continues to work magic and sell my work. I’m very lucky to have her and my editors who continue to believe in me.

Happy reading!

The following two tabs change content below.
I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.

30
Leave a Reply

avatar
15 Comment threads
15 Thread replies
2 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
16 Comment authors
Lover Of RomanceAnne - Books of My HeartRachel @Waves of FictionGenesis @ Whispering ChaptersLindy@ A Bookish Escape Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Cynthia
Guest

This book definitely sounds like my type of book. I love the setting and the premise. Great review!

Sophia Rose
Guest

Glad to point you toward one you might like, Cynthia. 🙂

Carole rae
Guest

I truly must read more by this authorr!

Sophia Rose
Guest

Absolutely. 🙂

Mary Kirkland
Guest

A story centered around a bridal shop sounds fun. I like the sounds of this one.

Sophia Rose
Guest

It was a sweetheart story, Mary. 🙂

Carolyn Brown
Guest

Thank you for the lovely review!

Sophia Rose
Guest

Ah, thanks, Carolyn! Your stories are treasures. 🙂

Melliane
Guest

When I think I have a book by this author for years and that I haven’t tried it…

Sophia Rose
Guest

Haha! Someday, Melliane. 🙂

Kimberly @ Caffeinated Reviewer
Guest

I love that this is standalone and a hybrid. Adding to my list!

Sophia Rose
Guest

I’ve really been enjoying these standalones that she’s doing for Montlake that have as much friendship and family as romance in them.

Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
Guest

I like the idea that this story focuses as much on the women’s friendship as on their romance storylines. Perhaps the size aspect was overdone, but it sounds like a strong novel 🙂

Sophia Rose
Guest

That was exactly my conclusion. It was a lovely story of friendship and romance was a side product. 🙂

Angie Elle
Guest

Oh, wow. This book sounds so good! The fact that the bridal shop plays such a large part makes it sound fun and unique.

Great review.

Sophia Rose
Guest

It was such a cozy friendly little shop and it really was like an extra character.

Debbie Haupt
Guest

I haven’t read her but I did pick up The Lilac Bouquet on sale at Amazon so I’m hoping to listen soon! Thanks for the super review Sophia Rose

Sophia Rose
Guest

Oh yay, that one is a favorite. Hope you like it, Debbie.

Nadene
Guest

This sounds lovely. I can’t believe I have not read any of her books.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Her chick lit and cowboy romances are so sweet and heartwarming. Hope you get the chance soon, Nadene. 🙂

Lindy@ A Bookish Escape
Guest

I love when a book can make you relax and get away from the natural stresses of life. This sounds like an enjoyable story about friendship, and I love that Mitzi get’s a chance with her high school crush. Great Review Sophia!

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yes! This was a darling of an escape read. Thanks, Lindy!

Genesis @ Whispering Chapters
Guest

Oh my gosh, I so need this! First, that cover is gorgeous. Then, plus sized women, like hell yeah! And the ladies own a bridal shop! And single dad! I’m ALL. FOR. THIS!
Genesis @ Whispering Chapters

Sophia Rose
Guest

I do love tempting readers with a book that sounds just their thing. 🙂 Hope you like it if you get the chance, Genesis. 🙂

Rachel @Waves of Fiction
Guest

Love Carolyn Brown! She always makes me smile! I probably would’ve grown a bit tired of the “big girl” stuff, too. While I agree, a proper view of body image is important, I don’t want too much page time lamenting the woes of being plus size. I’m a cardiac sonographer in a hospital and while I don’t think any woman should obsess on having a perfect body (It’s impossible unless you’re an actor/model and can spend hours and money on exercise, diet, and cosmetic help), however, I see the health issues caused by weight, and I don’t think it’s healthy… Read more »

Sophia Rose
Guest

I think part of what made me frown on the ‘big girl’ thoughts was that these were not obese women just tall, big-boned types and they kept active enough. So, it was mostly about learning to love who you are and accept that others love the real you, too (and, that there will always be jerks who want to make you miserable. LOL)

Anne - Books of My Heart
Guest

I like Carolyn Brown and I think I would probably like this one. Terrifict review!

Sophia Rose
Guest

You probably would if you like her stuff. It was a sweet one. 🙂

Lover Of Romance
Guest

oh yay for a Carolyn Brown book and this one sounds fantastic for sure!! I love the topic that she deals with it, and adding it to my wishlist. Thanks for sharing.

Sophia Rose
Guest

Yes, she did tackle the topic and I like the message the book sent along with a good friendships story and the romances.