Thursday, July 10, 2014

Staff Review: Vintage by Susan Gloss

Set against the trendy backdrop of a vintage boutique in Madison, Wisconsin, Susan Gloss’s charming novel revolves around 30-something store owner Violet and the female customers she befriends.

Each chapter begins with an introduction to one of the shop’s retro items. Readers then become acquainted with a cast of women who, like the clothing and accessories in the boutique, have unique stories to tell and are beautiful, despite their flaws. Each character has recently encountered a challenge in her life, whether it be divorce, adultery, or an unplanned pregnancy. Even the vintage shop, which is a character in its own right, is struggling to survive in the neighborhood’s changing landscape.

As the lives of the characters grow more entwined, they find ways to help one another overcome their problems. Vintage becomes a celebration of life and death and stresses the importance of friendship and following your heart. The book’s outcome may be a bit sappy for some, but the optimistic, feel-good ending suits the overall tone of the story.

Readers looking for tales of female friendship and a touch of romance should check out this book. Despite the hardships plaguing the novel’s characters, Vintage remains sweet and upbeat. This, coupled with the fact that the chapters are easy to fly through and don’t require a great deal of concentration, makes the book perfect for a summer read. Author Susan Gloss also goes out of her way to bring the downtown area of Madison to life, making this a fun read for anyone familiar with the city.

-Abbey, Technical Services

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