Natalie is a Bloomingdale’s salesgirl mooning over her lawyer ex-boyfriend who’s engaged to someone else after just two months. Felicia has been quietly in love with her happily married boss for twenty years; now that he’s a lonely widower, she just needs the right situation to make him see her as more than the best executive assistant in Midtown Manhattan. Andrea is a private detective specializing in gathering evidence on cheating husbands—a skill she unfortunately learned from her own life—and can’t figure out why her intuition tells her the guy she’s tailing is one of the good ones when she hasn’t trusted a man in years. For these three women, as well as half a dozen others in sparkling supporting roles—a young model fresh from rural Georgia, a diva Hollywood star making her Broadway debut, an overachieving, unemployed Brown grad who starts faking a fabulous life on social media, to name just a few—everything is about to change, thanks to the dress of the season, the perfect little black number everyone wants to get their hands on…
My Rating: 3½/5 stars
On the eve of his retirement, Morris Siegel is pleased to discover his last design, the Max Hammer LBD is the dress of the year. Little does Morris know, his dress won’t just be the dress of the year but it will irrevocably alter the lives of nine women. Here’s the breakdown:
Likes: Though Morris plays a small part in the long-term plot line, his background and involvement with the dress is an interesting part of the read and a very good way to introduce the dress. Morris has devoted his life to the creation of beautiful designs and the reception of his last creation is such a fitting end to his career.
Natalie is the most unlikely of individuals to be wearing the ultra-high end Max Hammer dress but find herself in it, she does. The cherry on top of the awesome dress sundae is the fact she is wearing the dress while attending a flashy event with a bona fide Hollywood star. Natalie is still hurting from a recent break-up so being seen on the arm of a Hollywood star is sure to bring her ex running right back. Her new “beau” is gay (or is he?) so being with him is certainly safe enough.
Felicia and her boss!! These are, by far my favorite characters in this read. For twenty years, Felicia has served her boss faithfully and quietly loved him as he has loved his wife. When his wife passes away, Felicia doesn’t swoop in and try to take her place but supports him as she always has and provides comfort where she can. It is only by mistake and misunderstanding that Felicia finds herself wearing the year’s most wanted LBD and having dinner with her boss.
Dislikes: I really only have one dislike related to this read but it’s a pretty big dislike. Nine women for one dress is a lot of women and, in truth, about four too many women for this story. There are two actresses and a set of sisters that add very little to the overall story other than bringing the total number of women touched by the dress up to nine. In fact, there are so many women involved that the story becomes far longer than it needs to be and there are some pretty serious stretches that have been made to connect everyone and everything. Had these four women been left out, there would have been more time and space available to devote to the stronger, larger characters and the overall story would not have suffered at all for the loss of these four minor characters.
The Bottom Line: Nine Women, One Dress is an absolutely character driven read that is just a bit too ambitious in its number of characters included. The characters who are given more “screen time” as it were are by far the most enjoyable, most well-developed, and most interesting. Had the read focused on just the five strongest women, it would have been a smoother, less convoluted read that would have certainly earned a much higher star rating. With that being said, if you can get past the awkwardness of the four superfluous women, Nine Women, One Dress is a good read and will particularly appeal to those who are fans of big, fat, sappy HEAs.