Another self important and whiny story about a girl whose parent’s survived World War II. I’ve read a lot of these types of books in my day, and this wasn’t a great one. Lets just launch into the problems, shall we? Vivien Kovacs the main character is not terribly believable. One can only describe her as painfully backward, suddenly blossoms into a thrift store tiger after one evening’s exposure to a good hair do and some make up? The rest of the novel continues on this unbelievable strain.
Vivien’s uncle, who she didn’t know existed till she was ten, is a slum lord and has been to prison. Of course, it is up to plucky little Vivien to find out the secrets of his (and subsequently her parents’) past by pretending to be someone she is not and writing his memoirs. Of course, Uncle Sandor knows who she is but plays along. And how bizarrely convenient that Vivien is a recently widowed bride whose husband died in a freak accident on their honeymoon. This, of course, leaves Vivien just emotionally battered enough to start a ‘relationship’ with Claude, who is just as emotionally battered. Cliche after cliche after cliche. Culminating in far too many heavy handed metaphors about what these clothes actually mean.
Maybe it would have worked if one of the many characters had been remotely likable. The only one who resembles a human at all is Eunice, and though she is there for the beginning and the end, the small realism that she adds to the story is not enough to save it. This novel was a disappointment because Grant is a good writer. Her description is clever and unique which is difficult to do. Unfortunately, her talent seems wasted on this novel.