Published by William Morrow Paperbacks Setting: Pennsylvania
on July 25th 2017
World War II has ended and American women are shedding their old clothes for the gorgeous new styles. Voluminous layers of taffeta and tulle, wasp waists, and beautiful colorâ€”all so welcome after years of sensible styles and strict rationing.
Jeanne Brink and her sister Peggy both had to weather every tragedy the war had to offerâ€”Peggy now a widowed mother, Jeanne without the fiancÃ© sheâ€™d counted on, both living with Peggyâ€™s mother-in-law in a grim mill town. But despite their grey pasts they long for a bright futureâ€”Jeanne by creating stunning dresses for her clients with the help of her sister Peggyâ€™s brilliant sketches.
Together, they combine forces to create amazing fashions and a more prosperous life than theyâ€™d ever dreamed of before the war. But sisterly love can sometimes turn into sibling jealousy. Always playing second fiddle to her sister, Peggy yearns to make her own mark. But as they soon discover, the future is never without its surprises, ones that have the potential to makeâ€”or breakâ€”their dreams.
None of the women in this story expected to live a life without their men.Â Now, after World War II, they are trying to adapt to what their lives have become.Â
Jeanne is a talented seamstress but making knock off dresses for rich women in her small town isn’t enough to make ends meet.Â Peggy is a good designer but with a small daughter she needs to find a way to make money.Â Thelma is Peggy’s mother in law.Â She owns the house they live in and is barely keeping them afloat.
Thelma was my favorite character in this book.Â She is portrayed as the matriarch but she is only in her mid-40s.Â She has a lot of secrets including lovers who will still do her some favors as the need arises.Â She is smart but always underestimated due to her gender and socioeconomic condition.Â She comes up with a plan to help them all based on secrets, blackmail, and her talents.Â
This is a good look at life for women who were forced to grow up quickly because of war.Â Peggy has a child that she probably wouldn’t have had so young if not for the war making things feel urgent.Â Jeanne is concerned about being a spinster forever because of the lack of men.Â
Overall, this is a grim book.Â Times were tough and the women had to be even tougher to get through it.Â