Thursday, April 21, 2016

Review: My Mrs. Brown by William Norwich

Blurb from Goodreads:
Sometimes a dress isn’t just a dress.

Emilia Brown is a woman of a certain age. She has spent a frugal, useful, and wholly restrained life in Ashville, a small town in Rhode Island. Overlooked especially by the industries of fashion and media, Mrs. Brown is one of today’s silent generations of women whose quiet no-frills existences would make them seem invisible. She is a genteel woman who has known her share of personal sorrows and quietly carried on, who makes a modest living cleaning and running errands at the local beauty parlor, who delights in evening chats with her much younger neighbor, twenty-three-year-old Alice Danvers.

When the grand dame of Ashville passes away, Mrs. Brown is called upon to inventory her estate and comes across a dress that changes everything. This isn’t a Cinderella confection; it’s a simple yet exquisitely tailored Oscar de la Renta sheath and jacket—a suit that Mrs. Brown realizes, with startling clarity, will say everything she has ever wished to convey. She must have it. And so Mrs. Brown begins her odyssey to purchase the dress. For not only is the owning of the Oscar de la Renta a must, the intimidating trip to purchase it on Madison Avenue is essential as well. If the dress is to give Mrs. Brown a voice, then she must prepare by making the daunting journey—both to the emerald city and within herself.

Timeless, poignant, and appealing, My Mrs. Brown is a novel for every mother in the world, every woman who ever wanted the perfect dress, and every child who wanted to give it to her. 
My Review:
Have you ever wanted something so much that it literally kept you up at night and drove you to the point of distraction? This book follows the life and quest of Mrs. Brown -- a seemingly mousy and older cleaning woman who falls in love with a timeless Oscar de la Renta dress despite all the odds, and the universe conspires along with her hard work to make it hers.  The thing that first comes to my mind is that it was so charming!! Mrs. Brown may be one of my all time favorite characters -- she is so good, so virtuous and to have something so beautiful happen to her, even though it's something small in the grand scheme of life worked for me.  It may sound silly for a book to be about an odyssey for a dress but this was so well done and it made me think of so many things related to fashion, aging and being an older woman.  The world takes you for granted at some point -- the world doesn't create for you -- but Mrs. Brown becomes this beacon in the face of that reality.  Loved it!

My Mrs. Brown came out last week on April 12, 2016, you can purchase HERE, and I definitely recommend this to fans of fashion or anyone who has ever wanted something so much that you would do anything to have it (in the best possible way).
Two dresses: one was an orange-yellow floral silk caftan-style evening dress with bell-shaped long sleeves and a V-neck.  But as beautiful as it was, the confection did not capture Mrs. Brown's attention as much as the other dress did.  This was a sleeveless black dress and a single-button jacket made of the finest quality wool crepe.   
Its correctness was so very alluring.  Suggesting endless possibilities and the certainty of outcomes if one would only wear this dress.  The richness of the affect of this suit, its elegance and poise, was the work of a master.   
It was the strangest thing, even in her youth, never had a dress, or any other item of clothing, spoken to Mrs. Brown this way, a garment so regal—so "grown up" she'd later explain in one of her letters to Mrs. Foxso exquisitely tailored and, somehow, thoroughly reassuring.   
Why wasn't all of life designed this way?


  1. I read this and just went AW the entire time. It's just lovely and I know exactly what you mean about wanting something good to happen to someone like Mrs B!

  2. I haven’t heard about this book before, Eva. Lovely review!

  3. This looks like such a fun book. I can't help but think of the "is it blue or is it black" dress drama that swept the internet when I see this book. I would really like to read this one; it seems like a good recovery book.

  4. I remember seeing this cover but wound up not requesting. Sounds wonderful though and something I would probably love. Lovely review!

  5. What an adorable concept! I love that it features an older main character too. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Eva.
    Wonderful review! :)

  6. This sounds very lovely. This could be an ode to under- appreciated women everywhere. Glad this was such a delight for you.

  7. This is definitely different but sounds simply fantastic!!!


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