Title: The Fashion Orphans
Author: Randy Susan Meyers and M.J. Rose
Publication: February 1, 2022
Publisher: Blue Box Press
Genre: Women’s Literature
SYNOPSIS: (From Goodreads
Two estranged sisters find that forgiveness never goes out of style when they inherit their mother’s vintage jackets, purses… and pearls of wisdom
Estranged half-sisters Gabrielle Winslow and Lulu Quattro have only two things in common: mounds of debt and coils of unresolved enmity toward Bette Bradford, their controlling and imperious recently deceased mother.
Gabrielle, the firstborn, was raised in relative luxury on Manhattan’s rarefied Upper East Side. Now, at fifty-five, her life as a Broadway costume designer married to a heralded Broadway producer has exploded in divorce.
Lulu, who spent half her childhood under the tutelage of her working-class Brooklyn grandparents, is a grieving widow at forty-eight. With her two sons grown, her life feels reduced to her work at the Ditmas Park bakery owned by her late husband’s family.
The two sisters arrive for the reading of their mother’s will, expecting to divide a sizable inheritance, pay off their debts, and then again turn their backs on each other.
But to their shock, what they have been left is their mother’s secret walk-in closet jammed with high-end current and vintage designer clothes and accessories— most from Chanel.
Contemplating the scale of their mother’s self-indulgence, the sisters can’t help but wonder if Lauren Weisberger had it wrong: because it seems, in fact, that the devil wore Chanel. But as they being to explore their mother’s collection, meet and fall in love with her group of warm, wonderful friends, and magically find inspiring messages tucked away in her treasures — it seems as though their mother is advising Lulu and Gabrielle from the beyond — helping them rediscover themselves and restore their relationship with each other.
**A copy of this book was provided in exchange for an honest review.**
When I was invited to read The Fashion Orphans and take part in a focus group with the author on BookClubs.com I was excited. I love talking with fellow book lovers and getting to interact with an author and ask questions about their book.
The story follows the very volatile relationship between two sisters who really do not talk much, but now have to come together to solve an issue their mother has left in her will. I will start by saying I am not a fashion person. I like to look nice, but I know nothing about name brands, how much they are worth or anything of that nature. The most high end piece of fashion I own is probably a Michael Kors purse or Kate Spade earrings. I don’t think I qualify for an SES Membership (you will understand once you read the book). However, I do not believe that was the point of this book. While fashion definitely took a forefront in the story, I really believe this story was about family and healing wounds. There were a lot of life lessons that many people could take to improve their familial relationships and to have a little grace and understanding with those who are close to us. We are more likely to be harsher on our family members for behaviors than others because we usually hold them to a higher standard. The Fashion Orphans really played this out on the pages to show that even the most different of people can come together and that family is not always blood. And… sometimes the most unexpected family members surprise you the most.
I was really torn between a three star and a four star rating. I loved the ending of this book. I feel like while everything appeared to be tied up with a bow at the end, you know that this group of individuals have many other ups and down coming their way. Their story is not over. However, the beginning took me a really long time to get into. Had I not been doing this as part of a focus group, there is a chance I would have stopped reading instead of finishing because I felt the pickup was so slow. I typically give a book until about 30% to really catch me. This book took longer than that and even then some of the descriptions were very long and tedious to read.
With that said, I enjoyed the messages in this book and I enjoyed most of the characters. The two sisters really grated on my every last nerve most of the time, but Thea was my favorite. I love quirky elderly people. They are the best. If you are one who enjoys a read that has a lot of family ties, fashion, and interesting characters, The Fashion Orphan could definitely be for you.