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I wrote this piece for my University portfolio. The brief stipulated a 400 word review of a film, album, play or book of choice, and we were also asked to publish it on either a blog or online media. We were also asked to source, via PR companies and contacts, hi-res images to go alongside the review feature! Let me know what you think!
With the trend for vintage more widespread than ever before, Isabel Wolff delves deep into a story proving not all fairytale dresses bring fairytale endings.

Our ambitious heroine, Phoebe Swift, yearns to own a vintage dress shop, brimming with nostalgia and beautiful dresses. Expecting a nonchalant, fashion-led book to settle down to each evening, I was pleasantly surprised by a miscellany of moving issues, poles apart from my expectations.

Her dream is finally realised after years in the textile industry, when her boutique debuts in London, with floods of adoring customers bringing in their tales and anecdotes to every dress sold. But behind her happy exterior, Phoebe is all the while attempting to come to terms with the untimely death of her best friend. Obliging herself to independently source her items leads Phoebe to meet a mysterious Frenchwoman, Therese, who is willing to part with all of her stunning collection of dresses, bar one item: the little blue coat.

Wanting to know more about the garments she has acquired, Phoebe and Therese become firm friends, and piece by piece, tracing back to the 1940’s, Phoebe learns of the tragic means as to how Therese became the owner of the blue coat.

Taking you on both Phoebe and Therese’s journey to resolve their ghosts, with a wonderful balance of beautiful dresses, all the while throwing us back into the wartime days, Phoebe’s bittersweet story is delicately put-together, historically bound, ending on a wistful and definite note.

A nostalgic and emotive tale, Wolff reaches into the metaphorical meanings behind every purchase; not just thread and fabric, but a physical fragment of someone’s past. Cleverly balanced out with a light-hearted love triangle and mini anecdotes throughout, this novel is full of remarkable characters, each with a story to share, keeping my fingers and attention firmly on the book for hours on end.

Although my original expectations from the book were a far cry from the full story, the witty yet poignant, light-hearted yet profound tale behind young Therese and the little blue coat, all the more connecting Phoebe and the mysterious Frenchwoman is definitely one to remember. Embracing all that typically should not work, A Vintage Affair is a stand-out novel of today’s materialistic society.

Isabel Wolff is an accidental novelist, with a background in theatre and advertising, industries of varied spectrums. Following a successful columnist stint at The Daily Telegraph and wide acclaim for her series of novels, Wolff’s ninth novel is now in the works.


  1. that looks like a really interesting book! lovely review x

  2. This book sounds enchanting, will definitely be adding to my book list after such a good review x

  3. What a good review, the book sounds like a lovely read xxx

  4. Such a great review, definitely going to have to purchase it now after reading this! xo

  5. This review actually makes me want to read the book. Hope you got a Ist for that piece.

    And thanks for following me, I just realised that. It totally made my day!

  6. Hannah: It was a surprisingly great read, definitely one of my favourite novels. Thanks for your comments sweet! x

    Laura: It is definitely worth the read, glad you enjoyed the review (:

    Heather-Lou: Thank you! Really good read, not too heavy either, I'd totally recommend it! xxx

    Jess: Yay! Thanks for your lovely words! xxx

    Elodie: Aaah thanks sweet (: I've not yet handed it in, got my fingers crossed though. And you're welcome Elodie! x

  7. I definitely want to read this book now!

  8. Sounds like a fab book- it's for sure going on my to-read list!
    Your review is good- I would have liked a little less description of the story/events but like the structure. Hope you do well!

  9. Someone's a very good reviewer ;)

  10. This book is now in my Amazon basket based on this review, also a copy for my best friend. I can't wait to read it. Great review Michelle!! x

  11. great review, love the way you've written it xx

  12. Great review hun! I'd totally forgotten about Isabel Wolff, read quite a few of her books some time ago & remember really enjoying them. Will deffo be checking this out :) Cheers luv!

    Love Aysh xoxo

  13. Fantastic review!

    Sounds like a good read...I may have to pick this book up, once I've finished reading my current book! :)


  14. thanks for the review - i've heard about this book, keen to give it a read :)


  15. I've seen this book in the library at work, maybe I will check it out for a good read!

  16. I read the title too fast and thought you wrote, "A vintage fair" and thought, what a coincidence (because I went to one over the weekend)! Silly me.

    This review is very well-written. I've always loved the way you write. Nice one!

  17. Sarah: It is honestly one of my top favourite books at the moment, much more to it than just pretty dresses, which was the reason I even picked it up to be honest. xx

    Fashion Junkie: Ooh good, I'm glad you enjoyed it (: Thanks for the feedback too, I did worry a little about giving too much away, but its difficult to fill up the 400 words and I didn't want it to sound too "mememe"! x

    Bee: Why thank you!

    Kayl: Awh thanks sweet, that means so much to hear that! Think I'll be posting some more of my Uni work up here soon, I've had such great feedback (: Enjoy the book when it arrives!

    Dan: Thanks lovely!

    Aysh: Thank you (: I really like Isabel Wolff, her writing style really appeals to me and it isn't such a heavy read, which I have liked in recent months because I have so much going on. Glad you enjoyed this! xxx

    Sarah: Thanks so much lovely! Thought it was a cute novel and great story, and one that my readers on here might enjoy ;) x

    JoJo: You're welcome hun! x

    Helen: Aaah I'd love to work at a library, surrounded by good books! I barely get the time to have a peruse in bookstores or libraries at the moment ):

    Joey: Haha, I haven't been to a vintage fair in months ): Hope you managed to pick up some bargains! Thanks so much Joey, that means a lot!

  18. Book sounds fab and just the kind of thing I would love to read may have to buy it now :)
    Fab review as well you have a lovely way with words I thought it was really well written x

  19. This book looks fab hun and one I will deffiantly download on my Kindle :) Thanks so much for sharing xoxo

  20. little rambling rose: Thank you (: I'm glad you enjoyed it! x

    Kirsty: You're welcome sweet! x

    Claire: Ooh get you, with your Kindle ;) Really good read, I'm positive you'd love it Claire! xxx

  21. I love the way you write! This has made me really want to read this book, Im going to have to get it for my Kindle :)
    Please write more of these in the future, Id love to read them!

  22. love your look show posts and photos from lfw! hope u post more soon :) x

  23. Alex: Awh thank you so so much! I really enjoyed writing this piece for Uni and I think that came across in the piece. I shall try and get some more in! xxx

    Vicki: Thanks lovely! x

  24. Ive read that it's rather amazing(:

    good review(:

  25. You write really well Michelle! I am super impressed!!

  26. that was really well written :) (coming from a philosophy postgrad whose writing is scrutinized every day T_T) :P


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