September 5, 2011 - 4:00 am
The gypsy woman said the dress was special, that it had the power to change the future of the one who wore it. All Anna knew was that she had to have it.
In Susan McBride’s latest novel, “Little Black Dress,” family secrets, romance and elements of magic mix together to form a fascinating novel that follows two generations of strong women and a little dress that entrances them.
Evie Ashton knew that someday her secrets would be discovered, it was inevitable. But she was determined that she would be the one to reveal the truth that had long haunted her family. So, although her health was fragile, she climbed the stairs to the attic to find the dress that started all the trouble years ago.
Living in St. Louis, Antonia Ashton is a successful businesswoman with her own thriving wedding planning business and a relationship that seems to be going so-so. But when her mother, Evie, suffers a stroke, Toni is forced to return to her home in Blue Hills, Mo., a place she thought she had escaped. She arrives to find her mother in a medicated coma and a houseful of secrets just begging to be unraveled.
After being told that Evie was discovered in the attic wearing an old black dress, Toni is determined to find out why that dress was so important to her mother. With the help of Bridget, her mother’s longtime friend and housekeeper, Toni stumbles across more mysteries than she ever dreamed existed in her childhood home. She vows to uncover these secrets and understand her mother’s life before it is too late, including the story of her aunt Anna who disappeared 50 years ago on the night before her wedding.
This enchanting, magical novel is one of the most creative stories to come along in a while. Elements of magic and mystery float lightly in a classic drama of a mother and daughter struggling to understand each other.
McBride tells the story in the voices of Evie and Toni, and it is a tale that will linger with readers.