Confession: she had me at the title. Ten years after my wedding, I still binge-watch the reality show, Say Yes to the Dress. But this novel is so much more.

Brenda Janowitz has created three complex women, each worthy of books of their own. The alternating points of view are connected not only by the dress, but by the relationship of the women who could not be more different than each other. As difficult as it was to leave one character’s chapter, it was equally fun to get back to the next one – so they were each my favorite. Janowitz conquers the greatest challenge of multiple points of view – narrative drive – by ending each chapter with an emotional cliffhanger. The suspense kept me turning the pages long after bedtime.

Janowitz is a wonderful writer whose prose is a smooth weave of styles, including historical fiction and romance. But make no mistake, this is not just women’s fiction. The Grace Kelly Dress is good fiction, period. The topics go far beyond the main themes of family and tradition, the bonds of mothers and daughters, and marriage. These characters grapple with identity, class, adoption, addiction, homosexuality, religion, and the true meaning of love. The emotional truths of real life are sewn into the fabric of this story, just as the tiny blue bows are hidden inside the slip, and lace roses are hand sewn to the hem of the Grace Kelly dress.

Best of all, it has a happy ending.


Leslie reviews books from a writer’s perspective. Her curated list of 5 star books guarantees that they are worth your time – and her reviews explain why. Follow her on Goodreads for over 200 more reviews, and on Twitter for updates.

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