I often read mysteries and recently, have also been reading a great deal of paranormal / supernatural, dystopian / post-apocalyptic, and thriller / suspense novels. In reading such stories it is easy to forget how simple stories about ordinary people can be wonderful. A Vintage Affair reminded me of that. The story centers around Phoebe Swift who after a dozen (successful) years working at an auction house decides to open her own shop selling vintage clothes. Phoebe has recently suffered a devastating personal loss. Throughout the novel we (the readers) follow Phoebe as she learns how to live and love after the loss. We also get to meet a variety of people that Phoebe comes into contact with through her shop. It is a delightful and simple story and one that I very much enjoyed reading.
As a librarian-archivist something that interests me is objects other than books or other forms of writing as a form of communication. Objects carry a history. Aside from their functionality, objects remind people of the past generally and specifically. By generally, I mean a particular dress may contribute to the understanding of the past by later generations. For example, the availability of textiles may influence fashion during a period of war as much as social tastes and trends. On a more personal and specific level, objects often remind people of a specific time or event in their life. For instance, one of the characters in the novel looks at her old dress and remembers attending a movie premiere and dancing with Sean Connery. In this way objects, in this case clothes, communicate a personal and a general history, both large and small. That is a large part of what appealed to me about A Vintage Affair. In particular, there is a story line involving a blue coat that connects to a very large and very personal World War II story. There are also smaller story lines, like one involving a woman who buys a pink 1950s cupcake dress to help remind her happiness exists during a very sad time in her life.
About the pictures of the cover above, there are two covers that I've seen. I love the first one, with the red gown on display and a selection of dresses in the background. It is elegant and timeless. It very much captured the spirit of the book. Forget about not judging a book by its cover, what initially attracted me to this book was the beautiful cover. I realized later that I had heard and seen this book previously but the version I initially saw had the cover with the the pink dress on a hanger against a turquoise background. That cover did nothing for me.