The Dress Shop on King Street
by Ashley Clark
Series: Heirloom Secrets #1
Published by Bethany House Publishers
Publication Date December 1, 2020
Genres: Christian Fiction, Historical Fiction, Clean Romance
Setting: South Carolina, Alabama, Contemporary, Cold War Era - US - 1947 - 1991
Main Character Ages: 25-34
Written for: Adults
Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie's past are brought to light.
In 1946, Millie Middleton--the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman--boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.
Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they've both dreamed of. But it's not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams.
I received a complimentary copy of this book. This gift did not influence my opinion or review.
Hopes, dreams, and a desire to belong fill the pages of The Dress Shop on King Street.
Hauntingly beautiful and of great depth, this is made to savor. I often get frustrated when I only have snatches of time to read a book, wanting to consume most in a single sitting. Yet I found as I read and had to put the story down to do real life, I was glad for the opportunity to ponder the things I had read.
The characters were richly developed. I was able to experience Millie’s fear of discovery and understand why she would keep her secret from the one who loved her the most. I ached for Harper as her dream slipped out of her hands and she scrambled to make sense of her life. And hoped for Peter to find the heritage he sought so diligently as he brought other people’s history to life. And Franklin. Oooh! He captured my heart from the very start.
The author’s sensitivity and insight about the racism that was so prevalent not very long ago in our country were astounding and I gained a new understanding of the pain inflicted on so many for far too long. While racism was the reason for the story and provided the motivations, The Dress Shop on King Street is about having the courage to follow your dreams, even when it looks like they are impossible. And about having hope in the darkest of circumstances.
The pacing of the story was perfect, especially the rate at which the mystery of Millie’s life was revealed. Just as the next tidbit was going to be shared, the story jumped ahead to the contemporary part, leaving me anticipating finding out the rest!