Title: The Dressmaker’s Secret (The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, #1)
Author: Kellyn Roth
Published By: CreateSpace (2017)
Synopsis: After a revealing conversation with the first children of her age she’s ever met, curious eight-year-old Alice Chattoway realizes that one ought to have a father … and she doesn’t. Having determined that his absence is making her mother unhappy, Alice resolves to find him and create a family for herself.
However, Alice’s mother, Miss Chattoway, is reluctant to answer any questions posed about a man she’d much rather forget. While Alice investigates, Miss Chattoway tries to balance her own spiritual turmoil with her need to be both mother and provider to her daughters.
Will Alice ever unravel her mother’s secrets? Can Miss Chattoway let go of the past to reach for the future? (Taken from Goodreads)
**This is a review of the second edition of The Dressmaker’s Secret, published June 2017**
Alright, here we go.
When I first read this book last year I liked it a lot. Having reread it this year with the revised changes, I have…rethought a lot of my original opinion. I’ll start with my positives…
One: Characters. I felt the characters grew a LOT from version one to version two. Ivy really came alive, and Alice was a lot more developed. Claire, unfortunately, still felt flat to me, which a lot of that is probably just her personality, but I wished we had seen a little more depth. Mr. and Mrs. Knight were the same, maybe a little better, and same goes for Mr. Parker. Nettie is awesome as always. I really, really liked her. I also felt the characters were more distinctive and individual than version one; while the first time I read this I kept looking back to see who was who, it was a lot easier to keep track of them this time around, which made it more enjoyable.
Two: Writing. I saw the author’s writing improve a ton from version one to two. I started this book with my mouth agape at her talent. Like whoa! Kellyn Roth, girl, you go. The words beautifully flowed across the page, pulling the reader in and describing everything in a way you can easily visualize.
In The Dressmaker’s Secret, there was pretty much a sermon about God’s love or God’s grace or God’s salvation every other paragraph. Which I love the heart behind that. I love what Kellyn was trying to do in this book, but it was forced on the characters too fast. Claire’s change of heart felt so forced. It didn’t even make any sense—she’s stubborn and against religion, but one day she wakes up and—poof!—sees the light. The message that was fantastic, but the way it was sent just didn’t work; it was too overdone and, honestly, very cheesy. Nettie’s messages to Alice would have been impactful, but I wish they hadn’t been every other paragraph. Having millions of small moments-turned-sermons—and then having Alice immediately recourse her life thereafter—was hard to believe. Then again, I could be missing it. I’m definitely not one to stand here and say that God can’t use this story, because He definitely can if He wants to, and He might fully want to!
Finally, my last negative is the whole end…. which got more developed and consequently increased my frustration…When you have two characters that you want to end up together, but one of them happens to be already married (due to a life mistake), I generally do not think it is the best idea to kill off said character’s wife in order to get them back together. It just kind of sends the wrong message. Especially surrounded by messages of God’s will, it almost seemed like it was saying God killed off the wife in order to restore his divine plan, which I know is obviously not what the author intended but unfortunately is how it came off.
However, I still did enjoy the book. The author truly does have incredible talent, and I look forward to adding this book to my collection!
Rating: 4.0 / 5.0
Recommended to: Anyone and everyone! 🙂
** I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.**