Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Black Velvet Coat - Jill G. Hall

I have a lot of loves and favorites, I sometimes use the words too often and flippantly. I love authors, books, characters, and story lines. I have favorite genres, favorite books within genres, and favorite types of books to read. The Black Velvet Coat by Jill G. Hall falls into the category of favorite types of books to read. That type of book happens to involve two character's stories transcending time to connect their lives in unimaginable ways. I enjoy the history the authors has to weave into the story, especially when the time frame spans decades or even centuries. I am always impressed by how the authors connects the past to the present, through letters, strange dreams and memories that do not belong to the character, and in Jill G. Hall's debut novel, an old key that shimmers with magic.  I'll allow The Black Velvet Coat's back cover to provide a summary to you, something I rarely do. This one is just perfect, with enough mystery, romance, and whimsy to draw you in.

Rating: 4.5 Stars
Published: October 6, 2015 - just two days away!
Many thanks to Netgalley and She Writes Press for providing an ARC copy in exchange for my honest review.
Amazon Goodreads
"Twenty-eight-year-old struggling San Francisco artist Anne McFarland is determined to get a one-woman show, even though no one, including herself, believes she can do it. But when she buys a coat at a thrift shop with a key in its pocket, strange, even magical, occurrences begin to unfold, and she is inspired to create her best work ever. Fifty years earlier, it’s 1963, and the coat’s original owner, young heiress Sylvia Van Dam, is headed toward a disastrous marriage with a scoundrel. In a split-second reaction she does the unimaginable, which propels her on a trip of self-discovery to nature-filled Northern Arizona. When Anne and Sylvia’s lives intersect, they are both forced to face their fears―and, in the process, realize their true potential."

Anne and Sylvia are opposites in several ways and similar in even more. I related to Anne in every way, from money struggles to not knowing how to become successful with her dream. Sylvia, however, is the girl I dreamed of becoming in every way. I enjoyed reading as Anne fumbled through doing what she wanted and doing what seemed to be the right path to pick herself back up. She was headstrong, determined, and jaded by her lack of luck in life. Sylvia's story was fun to read, it tugged at my heart and I wanted a full book based on her alone. I enjoyed reading about her growth, her advents as she found out who she was, and finding her way home. They're delightful characters, facing the struggles of love, loss, and life's greatest mysteries in two separate decades, yet connected in the simplest of ways. The writing is incredibly well done and if I didn't know it was Jill G. Hall's debut novel, I would have said it was written by a seasoned author. The story has a reach plot, filled with plenty of detail to find yourself in the 1960's and then turning the page to find yourself in today's San Francisco. I enjoyed the setting, loved the minor characters that brought each moment to life, and the connection between the two had me turning pages as fast as I could. I won't give anything away, but from trips to Tiffany's to the process of creating art based on a muse from the past, this book has something for everyone looking for a little magic.

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