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Book Review

Stop and smell the roses with Violet


BOOKCourtesy of Beaverdale Books


by Susan Gloss

William Morrow & Company


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320 pp

Violet is a young woman who owns Hourglass Vintage, a boutique in Madison, Wis. Early in the story, a customer comes in and disdainfully asks if all of the clothing is used. Violet replies by saying she prefers the term pre-loved. This is, admittedly, kind of sappy, but it sums up what I like about Violet. She is successful as a business owner and friend precisely because she sees beyond the new and flashy in everything and instead appreciates the real beauty in the world, objects and people around her.

True to her belief in giving things a second chance, Violet gathers a group of somewhat unlikely friends, including April, unmarried and pregnant at 18, and Amithi, newly separated from the husband she married in India more than 30 years ago. Each chapter is introduced with a brief history of one item from the store and alternates through the point-of-view of the three friends.

While basically a story of these ladies recovering from the hard knocks dealt them by people they love, more drama occurs when Violet finds out from her banker that she will soon be evicted. (You can almost hear the audience “boo” and “hiss,” as the villain twirls his mustache!) How will she raise enough money to buy the building and keep her store? You probably see this coming: Hey kids, let’s put on a show! In true Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland style, her friends jump in wholeheartedly, and (with the amusing help of the town’s drag queens) model her vintage treasures at a fashion show fundraiser.

This is the kind of story where when doors close, so do others open, which, regardless of Violet’s success or failure in the end, readers are left feeling happy for our ladies. CV

Shirley Shiffler grew up in Urbandale, graduated from Drake University and lives in Beaverdale, where she is wishing spring would show up and stay already!

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