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3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (7,343 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Isabel Wolff Narrator: Violet Mathieson Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2010 ISBN: 9780307913548
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Every dress has a history. And so does every woman.
 
In Isabel Wolff’s captivating A Vintage Affair, a treasured child’s coat becomes a thread of hope connecting two very different women.

Her friends are stunned when Phoebe Swift abruptly leaves a plum job at the prestigious Sotheby’s auction house to open her own vintage clothing shop in London—but to Phoebe, it’s the fulfillment of a dream. In the sunlight-flooded interior of Village Vintage, surrounded by Yves Saint Laurent silk scarves, Vivienne Westwood bustle skirts, cupcake dresses, and satin gowns, Phoebe hopes to make her store the hot new place to shop, even as she deals with two ardent suitors, her increasingly difficult mother, and a secret from her past that casts a shadow over her new venture.

For Phoebe, each vintage garment carries its own precious history. Digging for finds in attics and wardrobes, Phoebe is rewarded whenever she finds something truly unique, for she knows that when you buy a piece of vintage clothing, you’re not just buying fabric and thread—you’re buying a piece of someone’s past. But one particular article of clothing will soon unexpectedly change her life. 
 
Thérèse Bell, an elderly Frenchwoman, has an impressive clothing collection. But among the array of smart suits and couture gowns, Phoebe finds a child’s sky-blue coat—an item with which Bell is stubbornly reluctant to part. As the two women become friends, Phoebe will learn the tale of that little blue coat. And she will discover an astonishing connection between herself and Thérèse Bell—one that will help her heal the pain of her own past and allow her to love again.

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Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Keriann | 2/16/2014

    " This was a fun, light read. Easy to get into, especially if you have a fondness for clothes. Very relatable, and everything seems to work out for the best in the end. It makes you feel good about going forward - a good book for a new year. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 *Christie* | 2/13/2014

    " Ho-Hum. Formulaic. The Vintage Clothes were my favorite character! 2 stars for the book, 1 extra star for the vintage clothes! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennefer | 2/11/2014

    " This was an enjoyable book to read with a happy ending. Great vacation book! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lauri | 1/28/2014

    " Interesting premise for a story and very likeable characters, but wrapped up way too easily without a lot of depth. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Miki | 1/10/2014

    " This story is a relaxing change from most current chick-lit which seems to focus on the number and diversity of sexual encounters a woman can have, just because she can. It's not deathless prose but kept my attention, even through a second reading two years later. My biggest complaint is that it should have had pictures of the dresses! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nminnig | 1/5/2014

    " This was a fun quick read. Book is for my Book Club. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Samantha | 12/26/2013

    " A Vintage Affair is the story of Pheobe Swift, a thirty-something Londoner who's quit her posh job as a Christies auctioner of vintage clothing, broken her engagement, has become the product of a broken home, and is living with the immense weight of guilt of a tragedy on her conscience. She tries to 'start again' by opening 'Village Vintage' in Blackheath in London and she meets a whole new array of friends and people through the beautiful clothes she sells. The book takes some interesting twists and turns. At one point I thought, oh goodness, it's going to be one of THOSE books, but it actually stayed true to the story and the side story added so much to the richness of the plot. I thought the writing was exceptional and the overarching theme of the story was very relatable. I want all my friends to read this book. I loved it. The descriptions of the clothes and hats and bags....everything added to the story immensely. Two thumbs up. I'm glad I took a chance and bought it for my Nook. I'm actually looking forward to reading it again. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jae | 12/20/2013

    " Characters and plot were thin, predictable... But the vintage clothes! I never cared about vintage stuff before, but the descriptions gave me a new appreciation and it was fun to learn about designers and styles. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Shelley | 12/20/2013

    " A surprisingly good read . . . even if some may call it chick lit. Very well written and paced, as well as researched - even a bibliography. Hard to put down. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Helen | 11/20/2013

    " Enjoyable little book with a very strong emotional story behind it, as well as a deep historical story that helped heal Phoebe's pain and teaching her to let go. Beautiful descriptions of the garments, makes me want to go vintage shopping even though I don't own a piece a vintage myself! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jenni | 10/27/2013

    " A nice read for a lazy day. A bit depressing but works out in the end. I longed for pictures of all the fabulous clothes. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Penny | 10/24/2013

    " I really liked this book and found it hard to put down. The book had romance, history of fashion and a Holocaust story. Very good! "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Paula | 9/28/2013

    " Yawn......I kept waiting for this book to get better, but it never got really exciting. Miss Bell's sad back story offered more interest than the main characters whole life. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Morgan Allison | 8/31/2013

    " This book made a for a nice summer read. There were parts that were predictable but it was balanced out with an interesting story from the holocaust and wondeful descriptions of vintage clothes! Overall, this was a nice uplifting read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lorelie | 8/22/2013

    " Love the vintage clothing idea. The story went back and forth a bit, and fizzled a bit, but over all loved the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Amy Werring | 2/20/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book. Loved the fashion speak. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Dana Brittan | 12/23/2012

    " This book was such a surprising treat to read. The description of the book left so many elements of the book out... which were elements I loved! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Chu | 12/9/2012

    " Charming story of the present intertwined with the past. A little too perfect ending where every one reconciles nicely. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mlle Pointillés | 11/26/2012

    " * review to come * "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carroll | 9/14/2012

    " Fun, easy to read chick lit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Gail | 7/21/2012

    " This is a frothy, light confection, which is just what I was in the mood for when I picked it up. I'm a serious lover of vintage, so this hit my sweet spot, as they say, and despite the fact that it's not written very well, I enjoyed the quick read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Majusvirag | 6/16/2012

    " It' s too intense, too many details. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Leslie | 4/13/2012

    " I loved this book...I couldn't put it down. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lauren | 10/24/2011

    " Well written, really enjoyed the plot and the characters! Vintage Affair is definitely a book i would recomend to a friend! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Katie Maxfield | 9/15/2011

    " I enjoyed this book and recommend it. Its a very easy read with interesting stories throughout... this is what I need with two small kids around because I read at night and am so tired. But this I was able to stay awake for. ;-) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Sophia | 9/12/2011

    " This was a very charming book! Not only did it make me want to go shopping for vintage clothes, but I also want to check out Blackheath in London. I love that this story is so much more than a love story, but also a story about moving on and not holding onto regrets. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jennifer (NorthernLghts) | 7/2/2011

    " I really liked this one. The ending was sad but fantastic, I found myself liking all the characters and I can't wait to read more of her books. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Amy | 5/23/2011

    " I could not put this book down! It is a novel rich in detail with strong characters. It's so much more than chick lit! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie | 5/22/2011

    " I wasn't expecting to love this book as much as I did as I thought it might be as fluffy as the "cupcake" dresses mentioned, but it was a terrific story with serious themes and issues woven in. I read it over a Friday/Saturday and couldn't be torn from my nook! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kelli | 5/22/2011

    " I really liked the plot for this books. It was a refreshing easy read! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sherry | 5/21/2011

    " This was a light and easy read, but had some depth as well. It really peaked my interest of vintage clothes as well. Now I can't wait to go visit some vintage clothes stores.

    "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stacey | 5/18/2011

    " I thought this one was cute. Easy to read, interesting and humorous. I liked the plot "twist" with Mrs. Bell, although it was a bit predictable by the time you got to it. This was an enjoyable chick lit selection that, to me, had more substance than many books in this category. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kathy | 5/13/2011

    " Loved this book. Romance, history, excellent story. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lachelle | 5/13/2011

    " Lots of great stories within the main story. Loved all the details of the clothes but wish there were some pictures! Some sad parts and dragged in places but overall a good book. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Bobbie | 5/11/2011

    " I enjoyed this book, however i found myself skimming the sometimes tedious descriptions of the clothing. I would have liked to have seen the characters developed with as much care and detail as the clothes. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Heidi | 5/7/2011

    " This was great. I put off reading since I heard bad reviews, but I thought it was amazing. I really liked the entwined storylines of Phoebe and the people she meets due to her makeing the life changing choice to open her shop. Great references to WWII. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Kim | 5/7/2011

    " Brit chick lit, my favorite kind, and includes clothes and a morality tale. Even the morality tale didn't stop me from finishing this (usually the last 1/4 of these book are, in my eyes, filler). I liked it.
    "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Melissa | 5/2/2011

    " The plot is predictable, but I love all of the clothes! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Libby | 4/29/2011

    " A great little story about a vintage clothing store owner, the clothing she purchases, the people she comes in contact with, and all of their individual stories. Quite enjoyed it. "

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About the Author
Author Isabel Wolff

Isabel Wolff was born in Warwickshire and studied English at Cambridge. She is the author of ten bestselling novels, including Ghostwritten, Rescuing Rose, and The Very Picture of You, and she has been published in twenty-nine languages. Isabel previously worked as a producer and reporter for the BBC. She lives with her family in London.