The Midnight Dress
author : karen foxlee
pages : [hardcover] 288
memorable quote : When you are in love, you think nothing will ever be the same but then the tide rushes out and there it is, everything, just as it was.
favorite character : rose
Quiet misfit Rose doesn’t expect to fall in love with the sleepy beach town of Leonora. Nor does she expect to become fast friends with beautiful, vivacious Pearl Kelly, organizer of the high school float at the annual Harvest Festival parade. It’s better not to get too attached when Rose and her father live on the road, driving their caravan from one place to the next whenever her dad gets itchy feet. But Rose can’t resist the mysterious charms of the town or the popular girl, try as she might.
Pearl convinces Rose to visit Edie Baker, once a renowned dressmaker, now a rumored witch. Together Rose and Edie hand-stitch an unforgettable dress of midnight blue for Rose to wear at the Harvest Festival—a dress that will have long-lasting consequences on life in Leonora, a dress that will seal the fate of one of the girls. Karen Foxlee’s breathtaking novel weaves friendship, magic, and a murder mystery into something moving, real, and distinctly original.
This book was so interesting; I really enjoyed the way in which it was written. The chapter headings were unique in that they all begun with a different kind of stitch. I know nothing about sewing so I thought that it was a nice addition to the story, especially as Rose’s knowledge of how to make her dress progresses. I also like how the narrator asks if we’d mind knowing the end of the story, right as it begins. While you might think that hearing what will occur at the end of the novel will spoil it, it’s told in such a way that it’s confusing and intriguing until you reach the conclusion and finally understand what the narrator has been showing you.
Rose was an interesting character. At first I had her pegged as the typical odd girl out who’s turned rebellious because of her situation. Because the novel is in third person, it took a while to really get into her head to understand her motivations. I loved how complex she was and not quite knowing what she was going to do next. Honestly, I don’t feel like I had a full understanding of her character until the conclusion of the book, which I liked. It made things much less predictable.
Even though I would consider this a contemporary novel, it does have many elements that makes the plot seem fantastical. Rose’s meetings with Edie seem to transport the two of them to another world, where it’s possible for them to create a magical dress and Edie spins tales about the love and loss she’s experienced throughout her life. While I loved hearing more of Edie’s story, it did distract me from Rose’s life, and I often found myself forgetting what was supposed to be happening with the rest of the book.
While I enjoyed reading it, I felt as though something was missing. The plot seemed to flow by steadily and with the end being told in portions throughout the novel, there didn’t feel like there was a real climax. Instead, I was happy to figure out the mystery, and it didn’t have as much of an impact on me because I was anticipating something terrible happening. I’m glad that I hadn’t predicted every part of it but wish it’d been a lot more intense.
Overall, this was an interesting and quick read, but doesn’t stand out from other books I’ve read. It was an interesting but okay novel.