The Christmas Dress

By: Courtney Cole

Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow and Custom House for this eARC in exchange for an honest review. 

One Dress. Two Women. The Magic of the Holiday Season.

When hopeful fashionista Meg Julliard must return to her hometown of Chicago to manage her late father’s apartment building, she thinks her dreams of making it in the fashion business are over. Add in her father’s eclectic roster of tenants who all need Meg’s attention (ASAP!), a host of building related disasters, and a handsome handyman she keeps embarrassing herself in front of, and this has all the makings for the worst Christmas she’s ever had.

Ellie Wade, one of the building’s longtime residents, is also not feeling the Christmas Joy this year. She is preparing to move into a nursing home (reluctantly), and is in the process of sorting through her belongings to downsize. Every corner of her apartment holds memories, some good, some bad. But there’s one dress she hesitates to pack up as it represents both the best and worst night of her life.

Ellie and Meg strike up an unlikely friendship and the story of Ellie’s dress comes out. Ellie gifts the gorgeous dress to Meg, hoping that it will bring her more luck, on the condition that she wear it to the building’s Christmas party.

The dress magically fits, and while it eventually leads to the best night of Meg’s life, it also acts as inspiration for Meg to follow a life-long dream of her own, a dream that will help save the crumbling Parkview West, and restore it to its former glory, and keep it as a safe home for all of the current tenants.

The dress and the magic of the holiday season helps both Meg and Ellie find their own happy endings. 

This book was like a Hallmark Christmas movie wrapped up in a book. It has a girl who’s life is at a crossroads, a handsome boy with a past, a snarky best friend and an older woman full of wisdom. 

I loved every bit of this book. After losing her Dad, Meg Julliard moves into the old, dilapidated apartment full of senior citizen formerly owned by her Dad. The building needs an overhaul and of course, money is in short supply. She meets Ellie, one the residents, who gives her an old dress full of magic. A little magic plus a stubborn “concierge” and a hot handyman who likes to donate his talents and time to anything Meg needs makes for a perfect Christmas romance. 

One of the first things I loved about this book is the romance is just that – romance. Not sex. I’m sure this is an unpopular opinion but I don’t need a bunch of sex or steamy scenes in order to make a book romantic for me. Innuendo goes a long way for those of us more old-fashioned readers. 

Every single character right down to the cat was interesting. I loved each one of them! I loved their stories and how they created a family atmosphere within the building. Each one had their own stories and what I really loved was how the author touched on each story without allowing the story to lag and become inundated with details. 

The main character, Meg, sorta comes of age in this story. But so does the building. As Meg grows and grieves and remakes herself, the building undergoes the same, revealing some life saving history that actually probably exists in many of the older Chicago buildings downtown. 

It’s true there were some cheesy moments and, like any good Hallmark movie, it’s totally predictable but there were some nice surprises along the way. All in all, this was very enjoyable. A very nice Christmas read for the upcoming season. 

⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐