Title: Little Black Dress
Author: Susan McBride
Release Date: August 23, 2011
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
Genre: Women’s Fiction, Magical Realism
Rating: 4 out of 5
Evie’s main regret in life is that she has been estranged from both her daughter, Anna, and her sister, Toni. The only comfort she has is the little black dress she inherited from her sister - one that will show the wearer their future. When Evie has a stroke, Toni returns home with many regrets, and with the help of the dress, tries to uncover the secrets her mother has held for so long.
Susan McBride’s novel revolves around two women: Evie and Toni. Evie has so many regrets from the course of her life, and unfortunately, it seems as though Toni is turning out the same way. Toni isn’t happy with her relationship with her mother, but has done little to change it. After Evie has a stroke, it appears as though it might be too late. As Toni begins to immerse herself in her mother’s life and affairs, she gains a new appreciation and understanding for what her mother has been through. It really is wonderful character development, as the reader falls equally in love with Evie and Toni.
The magical realism aspect of Little Black Dress is very well done. The dress gives the wearer a small glimpse of what is to come, and it changes the life of everyone it touches. I really loved how the powers of the dress were incorporated into the novel. The magic didn’t define the novel; it merely shaped what was to come and provoked interesting questions about fate and destiny.
The secrets in Little Black Dress are really at the core of the novel, and they’re what keep the reader hooked. McBride takes her time uncovering them, giving the novel a steady pace that, while not rushed, is fast paced and keeps the reader guessing. The question of what happened with Anna and how the dress has changed Evie’s life is an important one. McBride makes sure that readers are well rewarded at the end of the book as it’s certainly an interesting revelation that’s worth the wait.
With The Cougar Club and now Little Black Dress, Susan McBride has proven herself to be a force in women’s fiction. I’m eagerly anticipating her next novel, and am hopeful that she’ll continue to use a little bit of magical realism in it, as I love this touch in books!