Friday, August 9, 2013

All Dressed Up

All Dressed Up
by Lucy Hepburn
Published by Diversion Books
331 pages
Genre: chick lit; romance
Thanks to NetGalley for the preview
3.5 / 5

We all know someone, whether it's a sibling or a parent or a friend, who thinks the world revolves around them. That they are the center of the universe. Aren't we so lucky that we get to spend time with them? Aren't we? Sure we are.

For Molly Wright, that center is her older sister Caitlin, who is in Italy preparing to marry her somewhat older, far wealthier, and extremely famous fiance. Despite Molly being an aspiring fashion designer, her sister hired a Parisian haute couture genius to do the job. Molly's dream is to live in Paris and design clothes, but her initial visit to the city proves to be less than fulfilling: she gets dumped by her boyfriend of five years, a man she thought was going to propose.

When Caitlin calls in a fit of hysteria over her dress not having been shipped to Italy, Molly volunteers to pick it up and take it herself. She and Pascal, the designer's assistant, hop on a plane and head to Venice.

Alas, things go horribly awry.

But the good news is that Simon, the hot Englishman sitting next to Molly on the plane? He might make all of this awfulness go down a whoooole lot better.

This is a book that alternates between slapstick silliness and dramatic sadness. In the midst of all of that overwrought emotionalism, though, are some sweet moments. Molly and her mother share a heartfelt talk in the back of a car, allowing Molly to say things she should have said years before. Her mother, too. The quiet moments between Molly and Simon are lovely, as are those between Molly and Pascal. There is a fantastic auction scene that tells us more about the characters than any of the frivolous scenes.

The romance is sweet. Molly and Simon are adorable, and Simon helps Molly see the difference between someone who appears to be good and someone who truly is. He and the ex-boyfriend are in the same line of work, but whereas Reggie makes movies based on fictional stories, Simon makes documentaries. He's real. And Molly needs real. If it all wraps up a little too neatly, then so be it. This isn't a book that wants to leave you with a cliffhanger. It wants to leave you happy and warm and fluffy and all that sort of stuff.

Fortunately, the scenes that matter and that affect us most are able to overpower the scenes that drive us nuts.

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