Nine Women, One Dress

Everyone in New York City is desperate to get their hands on the black dress of the season. When it hits the cover of Women's Wear Daily, the little number begins a journey from the dressing room at Bloomingdale's to a house in Paris and back again. Along the way, it changes the fortunes of nine women (and a few men). Debut novelist Jane L. Rosen delivers a frothy, fast-paced story of a dress and its odyssey in Nine Women, One Dress.

Rosen's narrative flips back and forth at an astonishing pace, switching among multiple narrators of varying age, gender and occupation. They include Sally Ann Fennely, the fresh-faced model from Alabama who wears the dress on the runway; recently jilted Bloomingdale's salesgirl Natalie and her older, wiser colleague Ruthie; private detective Andie Rand, whose personal experience with cheating husbands has led to her current occupation; and veteran pattern maker Morris Siegel, for whom the dress is the cherry on top of a 75-year career in the garment industry. These characters and others, loosely connected by the dress itself, dream of romance, revenge and even career changes, swept along by the frock's almost magical aura of possibility.

With such a large cast, Rosen's novel whizzes along like an express subway train, but she does give a few brief, vivid glimpses into her characters' inner lives. Readers will root for Natalie, Andie and others as they pursue love, professional satisfaction and--of course--that perfect little black dress. --Katie Noah Gibson, blogger at Cakes, Tea and Dreams

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