About Books #52: The Lucky Dress

Everybody has that one piece of clothing, right? The one where good things just seem to happen as soon as you put it on? You get that little bit more confidence, it highlights all the right places, it makes Lady Fortuna smile at you just that little more often? Well, this book is about that lucky dress – and that one set of circumstances where you really, really need it!

I was offered an ARC of this book via Netgalley in exchange for a review. All opinions expressed are strictly my own.

The story

Emi Harrison hasn’t been feeling particularly lucky lately. Ever since her ex-fiancée, Jack Cabot, successfully shattered her heart into a million pieces. She’s managed to avoid him for a whole year, but all that’s about to change at her brother Evan’s wedding…

She will have to face Jack, Jack’s sister, Jack’s parents, and Jack’s new girlfriend: a mean girl that just won’t quit. What could possibly go wrong?

But with her lucky dress on, she might just find new love, life, and maybe even happiness at last!

The opinion

First things first: if you’re not good with feeling embarrassed for someone else? This book might be a little difficult. Because, for approximately all the scenes that take place in the present day? There is a serious amount of cringe present. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

Once you move past the cringe, though, there is actually a really nice story unfolding. Told through alternate chapters of the present (seeing Jack and his family again) and chapters that jump further and further into the past (from Emi and Jack’s wedding day all the way to them meeting), as a reader you really get to know all the characters.

That, however, also leads to my one main problem with this book: the starting point of the entire novel is that Emi caught Jack doing something horrible. However. The more you get to know Jack through the flashbacks, the more unlikely it seems that he would actually have done such a thing. Maybe if Emi’s background would have been explained a bit more explicitly a bit earlier on in the book, her reaction might have seemed more reasonable (it took an explanation about 3 chapters from the end for me to go: “oh, that’s why you reacted like you did”). While reading this book, however, I spent a lot of time wondering whether I just had these characters all wrong, or whether they actually did seem to behave a little out of character (or as different characters) every other chapter.

Take Jack’s mother: she is, apparently, both conniving, meddling, incredibly nice, very caring, slightly terrifying, very invested in Jack and Emi’s relationship, taking a “hands off” approach to their problems, … While I did actually like her as a “person”, at times it was kind of hard to guess which version of her you’d be seeing in any particular scene.

One final thing: Greta is set up from the very beginning as someone we shouldn’t like. And let’s be real: Greta is very unlikable. Some might even say verging on delusional in her approach to the world in general, stopping at nothing to get what she wants. But the fact that the first time Sophie met her, she immediately looks down on her? Because of the way she chooses to make a living? That really rubbed me the wrong way.

The rating: 2.75/5

Now, don’t get me wrong – the story itself? I would’ve given that a 3.5 rating or higher. I really enjoyed the set up with flash backs alternating with the present day scenes. There was a diverse (within the realm of white, straight and rich people) set of personalities. However, the unlikeliness of some scenes (you’ll get this as soon as you get to Sophie and Greta’s first meeting) combined with the erratic-ness of the characterization of some people did take away from that just a bit.

All in all, though, I enjoyed reading this book. And if you’re in the mood for something with romance, plot twists (ooh, that plot twist at the end! that had me shook!) and some very out there characters? This is definitely the book for you! (Goodreads – published on August 7th)

-Saar