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95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT just chick lit!
Most of the other reviews have gone over the plot of this charming book, so I won't belabor that. What I will do is tell you that I absolutely LOVED A Vintage Affair and didn't put it down until I finished it in one day. Now, for me, that is NOT just chick lit. This book has a wonderful main character, Phoebe Swift, who narrates the story and captured my heart early on,...
Published on April 21, 2010 by Kokopelli

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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Story
I love fashion so when I read the summary I knew I must read this book so I was really excited when I won. It was a light romantic novel with some heavier stories told within the main plot of the book.

Phoebe Swift's love for all things vintage leads to her opening her own shop, Village Vintage. She meets many different and unique people with many wonderful...
Published on April 16, 2010 by Adriana


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95 of 98 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars NOT just chick lit!, April 21, 2010
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Most of the other reviews have gone over the plot of this charming book, so I won't belabor that. What I will do is tell you that I absolutely LOVED A Vintage Affair and didn't put it down until I finished it in one day. Now, for me, that is NOT just chick lit. This book has a wonderful main character, Phoebe Swift, who narrates the story and captured my heart early on, in the Prologue. She's definitely not perfect, and we feel her confusion, her disappointment, and most of all, her regrets. But she's also filled with passion and enthusiasm and hope, and we, the readers, are taken along for the ride. Phoebe is not afraid to risk in love or in business, but she is unable to get beyond regrets about what she sees as her own failings. There's also a bittersweet story of World War II friendship and tragedy that parallels in many ways a complex friendship in Phoebe's own immediate past. Both stories of betrayal and friendship touched me deeply, and I have to admit that tears were flowing freely as I read.

What makes this book a can't-put-it-down page-turner is the fact that mystery lurks around every corner, as does coincidence (or fate?), and this combination, while it may strain credulity at times, also keeps the reader guessing and hoping, right along with Phoebe. In addition to mystery, there's romance that includes just about all the various shades of romantic entanglements, including lost love, found love with complications, and budding romance with great potential. Somehow the author manages to keep it believable enough that the reader is swept along with the story, unable to put the book down or forget about what's going to happen next.

To make the novel even more interesting, there are fascinating details about vintage fashion, classic films, vineyards, and World War II in Europe. The story is set in England, and the British setting provides interest without becoming off-putting to American readers. Somehow this author pulls all the above together beautifully, even though this review may make it sound like a hodgepodge of plots. The successfully unifying elements are friendship, parent-child relationships, romance, and regrets, and who can't identify with most all those facets of life? I adored A Vintage Affair, and I highly recommend it. I definitely intend to investigate other novels by Isabel Wolff.
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46 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I want to give this book 6 stars!, May 29, 2010
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I wish I could give this book 6 stars because 5 doesn't seem like enough. I'm not going to bore you with another recap of the plot in this review but I will say this about it: it's the first book I've read in a long time where the plot unfolded for me as a surprise rather than an expectation. I loved every second of reading this book because the author did such a great job of not giving away too much at once. Phoebe, the main character is incredibly charming and likable. All the characters in the book are so well written that by the time you turn the last page you can't help but feel a connection with all of them. The descriptions of the garments are described in such a way that you have no trouble seeing in your mind what they look like. Don't pass this book by if you're not into vintage clothing or couture because there's so much more here than that. This book will make you laugh and cry but most of all it will make you glad to have read it. I will definitely seek out other books written by this author!
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44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lovely Story, April 16, 2010
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This review is from: A Vintage Affair (Paperback)
I love fashion so when I read the summary I knew I must read this book so I was really excited when I won. It was a light romantic novel with some heavier stories told within the main plot of the book.

Phoebe Swift's love for all things vintage leads to her opening her own shop, Village Vintage. She meets many different and unique people with many wonderful stories. One of these people is Mrs. Therese Bell who grew up during the war in the 1940's. She tells her story of growing up during the war and the person she felt she betrayed and has kept a part of it, the beautiful blue coat, to herself all these years. Which is something Phoebe could relate to all to well.

I really enjoyed reading this book. The descriptions of the vintage clothing was wonderfully detailed, I could picture every outfit perfectly. I enjoyed the story of Mrs. Bell somewhat more than I did the main storyline with Phoebe, but Phoebe's was just as interesting to read about.

There were so many characters each with their own individual personalities. Phoebe's two or well three, I suppose, love interests Miles the older man with the snobbish daughter, Dan a sweet and quirky journalist/ film aficionado, and of course the ex-fiance she left behind. One of my favorite characters was her mother who was obsessed with wanting to stay young and learning about all these different procedures she was thinking of doing. I enjoyed all of the characters even the not so nice ones.

A Vintage Affair was a really fun and at times sad book to read. It makes me want to open up my own vintage shop in hopes of meeting a wonderful person like Mrs. Bell and being surrounded by all the beautiful clothing.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars You may love vintage from now on, May 1, 2010
By 
Pippa Lee (Honolulu, HI USA) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
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Rating: three and a half stars

Your heart misses a beat; your stomach flutters, your eyes lit up, feasting on every detail. You say to yourself how beautiful it is. There in your hands is the perfect dress albeit it was made 60 years ago. Other people only see an old dress but for you is a unique find, one to be treasured. In her book, "A Vintage Affair," Isabel Wolff captures this feeling for vintage clothing at every level, from the person who casually picks up a 1950s purse because it tickles her fancy, to the hard-core collector, to the connoisseur. Weaved with the designer brands, famous fashion designer names, clothing styles, shopping and care tips are the stories of Phoebe Swift, who after 12 years as an auctioneer at Sotheby's and after the recent tragic loss of her best friend, opens her own vintage clothing shop, and those of her customers.

Phoebe's store, "Village Vintage," becomes the crossroads in the lives of the characters of "A Vintage Affair". As Phoebe gives, as she puts it, a new lease in life to the fabulous 40-, 50- or 60-year-old gowns, dresses, and coats; they in turn, enable their new owners a fresh start in their own lives. It's not only the buyers who are touched by the vintage outfits but also those who part with them as in the case of Therese Bell, a 79-year-old cancer patient whose greatest regret in life mirrors Phoebe's.

As somebody who loves vintage jewelry, I can attest that everything Phoebe said about why she likes vintage is true. Whether it is clothes or jewelry, those who love vintage wear them for their uniqueness, marvel at their craftsmanship and design, wonder at their history, and are driven to save them from destruction. For the most part, I enjoyed "A Vintage Affair." For readers who like collecting vintage clothing, the shopping excursions, the glamour and the make of the dresses, the historical tidbits, the drama of the auctions are going to speak to them. For those who are not into vintage, these details may be a bit too much for them. Through Phoebe's romantic complications, I appreciated the fact that she's a woman who can stand on her two feet. The multiple story lines made for a novel full of dramatic events; all the ends were tied neatly - and yet, when I finished reading the book, I was surprised to feel somewhat dissatisfied. I couldn't quite put my finger as to the why until it came back to my mind a certain scene where journalist Dan, his editor Matt and Phoebe are discussing one of her customers' involvement in a breaking-news case. It was all the explaining that is going on in the book. Every transformation that every character goes through is spelled out instead of letting the reader be the judge of the significance and meaning of those transformations. All the whys are given, there is no room for nuances or for the reader to wonder why and in doing so to have an "aha!" moment.

"A Vintage Affair" is a good book nonetheless. The plot is engaging and the rich details of the vintage dresses made me wish this book came with pictures of each outfit mentioned by Phoebe. Wolff has done a remarkable job at blending the results of her research into a novel that both entertains and educates.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I Didn't Want It To End, July 31, 2010
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For we who love to read, is there anything more glorious than a book you don't want to put down? You sneak it out at work to read a quick paragraph, you hope for a traffic jam so you can pull it out to get another page in, you read well past your normal bedtime even though you know you're going to pay for it tomorrow. THAT is what this book was for me. More than just chick lit, this is part Holocaust story, part fashion history lesson and part romance. I enjoyed very much watching Phoebe open this store and in the process, make herself and many people around her, happy. The similarities between her and Mrs. Bell were enough that she learned from Mrs. Bell and would not repeat her mistakes. I am checking out Ms. Wolff's repertoire and intend to read eveything she's written.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful!, November 6, 2010
What I loved the most about this book is that all the characters were flawed and therefore realistic. Most of them were very likable but they all had their ghosts and problems. Each of the minor characters served to show the main character about different aspects of people, some of them very good and some of them bad. The story itself was a very quick read, well-developed and fun. There was a little bit of suspense but the author didn't drag out the unknowns unnecessarily. The reader learns fairly quickly what the characters' secrets are. Instead of making the story about finding out the secrets, the author chose to make the story about how the characters learn and move on from these past actions. This made the story so enjoyable. The reader wants the main characters to come out on top and win. Overall, this was a great book.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books I have read in 2010, October 10, 2010
What a beautiful story! I love this book so much that I cannot wait for the author's next book.

The story is about a young woman, Phoebe Swift, who recently has given up her job of 10 years at Sotheby's to start her own business. The business she has chosen is a vintage clothing store and from the start, Phoebe meets many new friends and learns their life stories along the way.

This is such a good story even if you aren't a fan of clothing and fashion;there is much that will appeal to every reader. Phoebe meets new men and works out the end of a long time friendship by meeting some of the people that she comes in contact with in her new venture.

There are many plot twists in this charming story and many moments that will have you laughing and also crying. You won't be disappointed, this is just that good!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I loved it!!, July 5, 2010
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This has to be one of the best books I have read in a very long time. First, I'm not a big fan of books written in the 1st person, but, this story couldn't have been told any other way. The main character, Phoebe Swift, is a smart, resourceful, but vunerable. She is a sharp business woman and a great friend. And, the vintage clothes....the description of them is wonderful. I love this book and I'm going to be looking for other books by Isabel Wolff.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love, Forgiveness & New Beginnings, July 8, 2010
A Vintage Affair is a story of love, forgiveness and new beginnings. Phoebe's whole life changes when her best friend unexpectedly dies. Blaming herself she abruptly ends her engagement and leaves her great job to start a new life by opening a vintage clothing store. The people she meets help her overcome her grief instead of running away from it. While purchasing clothes for the store, Phoebe meets an older woman, who shares a childhood secret that Phoebe can't forget. In search of answers for the older woman and for her own life she is able to confront her grief and begin to move forward.

Touching story that easily sweeps the reader into the search for answers along with Phoebe with the hope that she can find success in love and vintage clothing.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Vintage Affair, June 22, 2011
This review is from: A Vintage Affair: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle) (Paperback)
If, as Mark Twain said, clothes make the man, Isabel Wolff's A Vintage Affair demonstrates that each of us also imprint our clothing with our stories, our feelings, our lives. Sometimes those clothes retain the regret for choices we have made that have altered lives, and sometimes those clothes encourage us to take the leap, to have the self-confidence to break off that dysfunctional relationship, to tell the truth, to pursue an opportunity, to fall in love.

Phoebe Swift has built her life and a successful career around the fashion and styles of days of yore, but when several life-altering events occur within two years, she decides to take a risk and pursue her dream - a vintage clothing store that sells the memories embedded in these clothes so they will have new life and new stories. Phoebe loves helping her customers find the perfect vintage outfit for the affairs in their own lives, yet her own life is stagnant, the clothes not speaking to her own regrets and challenges. This changes when the elderly Mrs. Bell offers to sell Phoebe her clothing and shares the pain, regrets, love, and life embedded in them. As Phoebe's customers imprint their clothing purchases with their own stories and share those stories with Phoebe, she begins to open herself up to new life choices and to overcome the pain of the past.

The vintage clothing from Phoebe's store develop a life of their own in Wolff's novel, becoming almost integral characters themselves. As Phoebe and her customers imagine where the cupcake dresses or white satin handbag has been, these imagined lives and stories help each one to accept the choices and triumphs of her own world, and the reader longs to step into the feminine sleek cocktail dress and suave pumps to become Audrey Hepburn or feel the swishy crinolines as Cary Grant, Clark Gable, or Fred Astaire spins her on the dance floor. As the dresses of Isabel Wolff's A Vintage Affair take over the reader's imagination, anything is possible.
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A Vintage Affair: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle)
A Vintage Affair: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle) by Isabel Wolff (Paperback - April 5, 2011)
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