The Dress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans was one of a bundle of books that I ordered before I went away on holiday and then never got around to reading. Set in gay-paree, I thought it would be a good one to further take me away from the English shores I call home. But, as I said, I never got around to reading it.
The Dress Thief is a tale about a young girl, Alix Gower living in 1930s Paris. Poverty stricken but with dreams of becoming a couture designer, she is coerced into doing the very thing she loathes when she is planted into the fashion house of M.Javier – to steal from the designer she adores.
The book is so much more than just about a woman who steals from the fashion house she works for though, as Alix’s whole life is presented before us. In fact, it felt very much like a story within a story within a story, which did get a bit much after a while. It takes us very deeply into her world and in parts it reminded me of an episode of Hollyoaks or some other soap opera with everything that was going on all at once.
I have to be honest, this was a longggggg story which could easily have had a lot cut out of it. I read it on my Kindle too so I couldn’t tell how long the book was before I started reading it, and I do think – had I seen this book in a shop, I’d probably have looked at the size of it and put it straight back down again.
Though written really well once I got into it (there was one line which stopped me in my tracks – wowing me to the fullest extent… wish I’d written it down), I found the beginning to be pretty slow and far too confusing with all the unnecessary road name mentions; they meant nothing to me and they were plastered throughout the entire book. I did find at the end there was a little map with the place names on – which, had this been at the beginning, perhaps I wouldn’t have minded the road names then being throughout it. I did find myself getting confused at times with all the different characters too; I just ploughed on though and didn’t bother to try and figure out who was meant to be who.
I also didn’t believe Alix was a 21 year old woman. She felt older than this from the get go, yet I kept felt like I was being told she was immature to solidify the fact she was meant to be a young, impressionable and naive woman. When she didn’t feel like any of those things to me. I just didn’t believe it.
But overall, boy was I taken on a ride of emotions with this novel. There was mystery, suspense, frustration, times when I wanted to read it through the gaps in my fingers, a moment of ‘hot under the collar’-ness, and plenty of twists and turns to keep you guessing. Really though, in a book that size (nearly 600 pages I think), you wouldn’t want it to be an easy guesser otherwise there’d be no point in reading the thing.
Would I recommend The Dress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans? Both yes and no. Yes because most of it is written beautifully and yes because there’ll be something in it for everyone to enjoy; but also no because it’s unnecessarily long with confusing elements, and you’re quite possibly going to want to skip through the parts of the story that don’t interest you. Make of that what you will.
Up next to read: Well, I looked at my TBR (to be read – like you didn’t know that!) pile and wasn’t feeling too inspired by it for my next read. So, I headed to Amazon to look at what had the best ratings to help me decide. Clever, no? Except when the best rated one is by an author of which I have only just recently read one of their books – and I frankly haven’t got the energy to trawl through it.
Therefore I am going for the one that sounded like the best read (I’ve bought/was given most of these so long ago that I couldn’t remember what any of them were actually about); and that is: The Bellwether Revivals by Benjamin Wood.
Until next time. x