I have to admit I winced when I started this book and found it was written in third person, present tense; I don’t particularly enjoy books written in the present tense no matter the narrator, but the storyline was intriguing enough I was able to set aside my prejudices to read the book. Fran, our heroine, was genuinely unique, the proprietor of a wedding dress shop who matches vintage bespoke gowns to brides. When she finds a valuable couture wedding gown at an estate clearance and clashes with the house’s owner, sparks fly.
I thoroughly enjoyed Fran, who was the main point of view character for most of the book. She was quirky and unique, sympathetic and empathetic in the way she worked to get to know each of her clients and find the perfect dress for them on their special day. She came across as judgemental and high-handed a couple of times, particularly with her last client, a reality TV starlet, but honestly she was a paragon of sweetness compared to Rafael, who came across as judgemental and high-handed all of the time, even to Fran herself. He makes it very obvious he thinks her business is basically a lot of woo-woo nonsense, even when the two of them are romantically involved, and I wanted to thump him upside the head any number of times and tell him to wise up.
This has an interesting premise even if, like me, you know absolutely nothing about fashion history and couture wedding gowns, but it came across as humourless and taking itself a bit too seriously, which not coincidentally is a description which exactly matches Rafael. The present tense really didn’t help. I’m giving it three stars because while it wasn’t bad, it just didn’t resonate with me at all.
The Perfect Dress is available now, except (oddly) in the Amazon US store - and it appears to be called The Whispering Dress Boutique in the US where it will only be available in paperback next year. Maybe.
Disclaimer: I received a review copy of this book via NetGalley.