William Morrow & Company, 9780062270320, 320pp.
Publication Date: March 25, 2014
Vintage is Susan Gloss's sparkling debut novel in the Vein of The Friday Night Knitting Club, centered around a Midwestern vintage clothing shop and a group of women who eventually transform the store and each others' lives.
At Hourglass Vintage in Madison, Wisconsin, every item in the boutique has a story to tell . . . and so do the women who are drawn there.
Violet Turner has always dreamed of owning a shop like Hourglass Vintage. When she is faced with the possibility of losing it, she realizes that, as much as she wants to, she cannot save it alone.
Eighteen-year-old April Morgan is nearly five months along in an unplanned pregnancy when her hasty engagement is broken. When she returns the perfect 1950s wedding dress, she discovers unexpected possibilities and friends who won't let her give up on her dreams.
Betrayed by her husband, Amithi Singh begins selling off her old clothes, remnants of her past life. After decades of housekeeping and parenting a daughter who rejects her traditional ways, she fears she has nothing more ahead for her.
An engaging story that beautifully captures the essence of women's friendship and love, Vintage is a charming tale of possibility, of finding renewal and hope when we least expect it.
Conversation Starters from ReadingGroupChoices.com
- Would Violet have become friends with April and Amithi under different circumstances? What do the three women have in common besides Hourglass Vintage?
- Why do you think Violet is so fascinated by vintage items?
- How did Violet's relationship with her Grandma Lou shape her life? What about Violet's relationship with Jed, her ex?
- April fears becoming like her mother, Kat. From what we know of Kat, how is April like her and unlike her? Do you think April's fear is warranted?
- How do the vintage inventory items at the beginning of the chapters work into the story? Are there particular items that stand out to you more than others? Why?
- How does each of the three main characters come to terms with the negative aspects of her past? How do these women's past experiences help them to understand each other?
- Betsy keeps her illness a secret from Violet. Why does she hide this information?
- How did Amithi react to Naveen's affair? Would you have reacted in a similar or different manner if you were in her shoes?
- Amithi's daughter, Jayana, says that when she was a child, her mother's sewing seemed "so antifeminist, so retro." How do Amithi and the other main characters embody or resist traditional feminine roles?
- April gets back together with Charlie despite the fact that he allowed his mother to cancel their wedding without talking to April about it. Do you think she forgives him too easily? Do you think their relationship will persevere?
- How is Jed's vandalism of Violet's shop symbolic of the other damage he has done to her life?
- Violet breaks up with Sam because Sam doesn't want to have children. How do you think the decision about whether to have children impacts relationships?
- What is the significance of Violet's phoenix and starfish tattoos?
- At the end of the novel, Violet has married Sam, April has moved in with Charlie and had her baby, and Amithi is off to India with her daughter. Where do you see each of the characters in five years?