The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark is a split-time novel telling the stories of Harper and Millie.
In the past, Millie is the descendant of a slave who chose to pass as white, hoping to realize her dream to own a dress shop. In the present, Harper is Millie’s student who has dreams of becoming a designer. The two women’s paths collide when Harper realizes they know someone in common.
I loved following Millie through time as Ms. Clark told her story from the event that influenced her choice to pass as white, and the various choices she made along the way until the present timeline.
I enjoyed the present timeline as well. Watching as Millie and Harper came closer to realizing their dreams while learning more about themselves and strengthening the bond between them. There was also the romance that blossomed between Harper and Peter.
The historical elements, inspired by the story of Ashley’s Sack, add a poignant feel to the tale.
Both Millie and Harper had to learn about dreams. They had to learn that sometimes you needed to hold on to a dream even when everyone tells you it’s impossible. You also need to hold your dreams loosely as they may go through several iterations before you fully understand God’s plan for your life.
Readers of The Dress Shop on King Street will be reminded that God has a plan for their lives but sometimes you have to walk through hardship before you can accomplish your purpose.
I listened to the audiobook version. Lynette Freeman’s Southern accent sounded authentic and gave life to the characters.
About The Dress Shop on King Street (Heirloom Secrets Book #1)
Table of Contents
Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie’s past are brought to light.
In 1946, Millie Middleton–the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman–boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.
Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they’ve both dreamed of. But it’s not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams.
About Ashley Clark
Ashley Clark writes romantic women’s fiction with Southern charm. Her books have been reviewed by Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Library Journal. Ashley has dreamed of being a writer since the thumbprint-cookie days of library story hour. She has an M.A. in English and enjoys teaching literature courses as an adjunct. She’s also an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers. When she’s not writing, Ashley’s usually busy rescuing stray animals and feeding her curriculum-buying habit as a homeschool mom.
About Lynette Freeman
Born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised in East Cleveland, OH, Lynnette is a Jamaican/ African- American NYC-based actor, teacher, dialect coach, Voiceover artist, Audiobook Narrator, and movement instructor.
She has narrated over 50 titles, and performed on regional stages around the country (A Raisin in the Sun, Trinity Rep; Intimate Apparel, New Century Theatre; Clybourne Park, Dorset Theatre Fest; An Act of God, Wellfleet Harbor Actors Theatre; The White Card, Penumbra Theatre; Gutting, The National Black Theatre…) and she is a member of the Ensemble Studio Theatre (Kentucky, Travisville…)
She is also an experienced teacher of West African Dance (Mande), Jamaican Folk & Dancehall, Hip-Hop, Modern, and Ballet and is a certified Yoga, and Liquid Motion/sensual movement instructor. She is currently training to be a full-spectrum birth doula.
She holds an MFA in Acting and a BA in Africana Studies (Creative Writing/Performance) from Brown University.