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A Vintage Affair

3.81  ·  Rating details ·  15,371 ratings  ·  2,006 reviews
Phoebe Sanders runs her own vintage dress shop. But while she stitches and repairs couture suits and glorious dresses, there is something in Phoebe's own past that she cannot restore, and which is stopping her searching for love.
Paperback, 432 pages
Published January 19th 2009 by Harper (first published 2009)
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Anne Yes, I do consider this to be like Nicholas Sparks. The woman grows up and learns more about how she will be happy. The vintage clothes are beautifull…moreYes, I do consider this to be like Nicholas Sparks. The woman grows up and learns more about how she will be happy. The vintage clothes are beautifully described. The story from World War II in the south of France is fascinating.(less)

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Average rating 3.81  · 
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 ·  15,371 ratings  ·  2,006 reviews

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MB (What she read)
Mar 16, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Vintage fashion aficionados, & fans of Lisa Jewell, Katie Fforde, Trisha Ashley and Marian Keyes
Enjoyable! I wish there were pictures of the clothes.

FYI, this is light on the romance side but heavy on the story, which I think was a good thing in this case. (But if you're looking for chick lit heavy on the sexy side this is not it.) I liked the story and was (frankly) glad she wrote it that way...(I wasn't crazy about the men, anyway.)

Her books are harder to get in the U.S. but I recommend them if you can find them. They strike that nice balance between fluffy and somewhat substantive.

Mar 11, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Very cute! I liked that it focused more on a storyline than just romance. As Tammi mentioned, this would make an adorable movie. I'd love to see all those beautiful dresses on film. This made me want to go vintage dress shopping ASAP!
Ce Ce
I am not going to rate this book with stars. I'm beginning to think this star business is dicey at best anyway. In reading this book I am reminded of the many gifts to be found between two covers. This is a book club read...and one I would not have selected. Two-thirds of the way through, having grumbled and grown impatient with the writing, much to my surprise I found tears spilling. It was dawning on me that this book was more than the words on the page and the romantic so many ways ...more
May 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
After the untimely death or her best friend Emma Kitts, Phoebe Swift decides to start over. She breaks off her engagement, quits her job, takes out a massive bank loan, and opens her own vintage clothing store, all while struggling to overcome her feelings of responsibility for Emma's death. The daily running of Village Vintage soon brings her in contact with many interesting people including:

Dan, a color-blind, spontaneous, film-buff and news reporter, who wants to open his own movie theater an
Blodeuedd Finland
Sep 02, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction

I have a hard time coming up with a genre for this one, reviews have said it's a lovely romantic comedy and she is described as writing chick-lit. But first there is no humor in this one, and yes it has romance but not any more than a normal book. It's not focused on the romance., and i don't want to call it chick-lit. Let's just call it a "normal" book with romantic tendencies. But the book is so much more than that, it's about friendship and loss, and there is a story about WWII that almost br
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
Recommended to CLM by: Danielle
B&N Recommends:

Among B&N booksellers who helped choose the book, Amy Abst of Duluth, Minn., said, "I want to share it with my mother, my sisters, and my friends. And don't even get me started on the vintage clothes! Lovely!"

B&N said the book "tells the story of Phoebe Swift, a young Londoner whose decision to quit her job, break her engagement, and open a vintage clothing boutique strikes some as peculiar. 'I felt I needed a change,' Phoebe explains to an attractive journalist just before the op
Sep 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, england
I have owned this one for a number of years and finally decided to take it down from the shelf.
It was EXCELLENT!!!! If you love fashion and vintage clothes, this one is for you. Phoebe Swift after working for an auction house decides to strike out on her own by opening Village Vintage. The shop immediately starts doing business.
Meanwhile Phoebe has broken up with a man whom she was engaged to be married but then her best friend who had also been interested in the same man dies. Phoebe blames her
Aug 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A Vintage Affair is a wonderfully written novel. I really didn’t want the book to end. Hearing Phoebe’s and Mrs. Bell’s story was sad but also very enjoyable. Their stories were eerily similar in the reasons why both felt so guilty. Isabel always managers to create such interesting back stories for her characters and both Phoebe’s and Therese’s were well crafted. Therese’s in particular must have taken a lot of research because it was very well explained.

I thought Phoebe was a brilliant characte
May 14, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This well-written and moving book tells the story of the power of love and of friendship. Phoebe, struggling to overcome the loss of her best friend (and subsequently her fiance) uproots herself from the life she has known and follows her heart to start a business focused on her passion for vintage clothes. Therese is approaching the end of her life, and seeks to pass along her clothes and her stories, and to alleviate her guilt for an error committed long ago. These two stories intertwine in wa ...more
Kathleen Dixon
I'm really not in the least bit interested in fashion. Once I accidentally bought a second-hand quirky skirt by a well-known Kiwi designer, and the women at work all noticed it and asked, "Is that a ... ...?" which surprised me. Yes, the label was still on it and yes, they were right, but none of them had seemed to me to be clothes-horses. But then, I'm so not a follower of fashion that I can't even identify those who are.

One would think, therefore, that this book would bore me. It didn't. It di
N.N. Light
Apr 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
OMG! I loved this book so much! I read it in two sittings. Highly recommend!

My Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Mrs. N
I felt the author missed the opportunity to delve more into the history, people and stories connected to the vintage clothing in Phoebe’s shop; the same way she did for the story of Mrs. Bell’s “blue coat.” I found Mrs. Bell’s story far more interesting than anything going on in the lead character Phoebe’s love life.
Sep 07, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fasion lovers.
3.5 stars

This was one charming story! it worked for me in some aspects, alas didnt in other regards that i thought were fundamental for this kind of theme to make a "wow" effect.

Firstly let me start with the fact that Wolff did an amazing job showcasing the Vintage fashion from all its angles. She goes into great detail of the designers of this era and what lead them to success. She really represented them as a competitive art not as the frivolous passion society has the tendency to embrace. S
I thoroughly enjoyed A Vintage Affair – from the moment I saw the cover I knew that it was going to be a book for me. I was fascinated by all the Vintage fashion and the author did a wonderful job showcasing it. The friendships that are formed as a result of Phoebe’s decision to pursue her passion of opening a Vintage shop are heartwarming and touching. I really enjoyed watching the interaction with all her customers and was especially endeared to Katie, a young girl trying her best to earn the ...more
I really enjoyed the historical aspect of this book about vintage clothes. I did not realize it was a thriving business. On the downside, I don't think the author had much depth to her secondary characters-even though most played major parts in the book. Also-some parts of the book were too coincidental & convenient vs realistic. ...more
Leslie Wilkins
Jun 11, 2012 rated it really liked it
Really fun book with some of my favorite elements: London, vintage clothing, friendship.
3.5 stars
I really wasn't sure I was going to like this at all. i care nothing for clothes and this was just sitting on my TBR from a million years ago and even though I know my taste has changed quite a lot, I gave it a whirl, and I actually liked it pretty well. There was a thing or two that ruined it for me, and perhaps that isn't entirely fair, after all (view spoiler)
Dale Harcombe
Three and a half stars. Feeling guilty over what she perceives as her part in her friend Emma’s death, Phoebe quits her job at Sotheby’s and opens her own business called Village Vintage, where she sells vintage clothes and accessories. Phoebe likes the idea that vintage clothes have a story and she finds plenty to interest here when she meets Therese Bell . Therese starts to tell her a story about her Jewish friend from World War, and a child’s sky blue coat which Therese refuses to part with. ...more
Oct 16, 2012 rated it liked it
It was a fun, light read into the world of vintage clothes, a romance, family life, and even WWII German occupation of France and subsequent deportation of French Jews. Phoebe falls in love with her best friend's crush. It's love but of course, making this choice to follow through hurts her friendship. Through no real fault of her own, something tragic follows and Phoebe decides to change her life, to move forward and follow her dreams, while still holding onto guilt. She helps her mother go thr ...more
Sep 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Review to come as I had so many thoughts I don't want to rush through but this was a very special book. I got it on sale or maybe free a couple of yrs ago on nook but I buy them faster than I read and so I hadn't gotten to it sooner although I must say the lovely cover called to me many times. I think I expected fluff of some degree as I had never read this author. While the writing isn't THE most lyrical and a few times repeats the same word or phrase the overall story was wonderful and poignan ...more
J.H. Moncrieff
Nov 17, 2015 rated it liked it
It's very difficult to rate this book. I sped through it, so I obviously enjoyed the subject matter and the writing. The voice was enjoyable.

However, a lot of the time I had no clue what it was supposed to be about. Was it a romance? Women's fiction about an independent woman opening her own business? A semi non-fiction tribute to vintage fashion and how wonderful it is? A slice-of-life story about a young woman's friendship with a dying senior?

It was all over the place, with so many disjointed
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story centers around a woman, Phoebe, who opens a vintage clothing store. She likes to think about the woman that owned a garment before her, what her life might have been like. When she encounters an elderly French woman who wishes to sell some of her garments, Phoebe finds a new friend with a story of her own. There is a connection between the two women in that each blames herself for circumstances beyond her control. The revelation of these circumstances to each other helps each woman to ...more
Although the details of the vintage clothing industry were interesting, I was frustrated by Phoebe's romance with a doting, rich, over-protective father of a teenage daughter. As she pursues the relationship Phoebe misses clue after clue that she will always play second fiddle in this triangle. Lucky for her there's a less attractive, more down-to-earth guy waiting in the wings ready to step in. But, for me, the interplay of both relationships feels contrived--and Phoebe seems much too smart to ...more
Aug 30, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Phoebe opens a vintage clothes shop and through it meets the fasinating Therese who has terrible regrets over her actions during WWII. This reflects Phoebe's own regrets about the death of her best friend. Loved the detail of the clothes and although Dan was written a bit "thinly" apart from his curly hair for my taste, I thought it was a great read.
Mar 27, 2013 rated it really liked it
This is one of those books that I liked...but didn't like aspects of it. The story was very good but so much time was spent on describing all of the clothes that it was very off-putting. Yes, I know the title was "A vintage Affair", but just too much on the clothes! I'm glad I stuck with it because I did enjoy the actual story of Phoebe and her life.
Reeves Honey
Aug 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Too Good To Be Called Chick Lit - The Very Best In Woman's Fiction.

A Vintage Affair - Isabel Wolff

A ghastly title for a really very well written,engaging novel.

As the author herself said it is about fashion,friendship,regret and

The perfect end of summer read!
Apr 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
A fantastic read! A great story line and overall very well rounded. I agree with all...wish they would make a movie out of this one!
West Hartford Public Library
Characters and plot were thin, but I loved learning about vintage clothing.
Archana Purohit
Good if you are looking for a lighthearted book with descriptions of beautiful things, lots of positivity and no complexity to any of the characters. While this may have been disappointing at some other time, enjoyed reading this now when I did not want anything too thought-provoking still needed something beyond the superficial. Found somethings unintentionally funny like how the characters and their ages are depicted. For instance when Annie describes someone in mid-30s as a poor kid, I though ...more
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has anyone read other books by this author? 16 132 Jun 15, 2013 01:12PM  
Vintage Book Group: A Vintage Affair - Discussion 9 41 Mar 17, 2013 07:49AM  
Vintage Book Group: This topic has been closed to new comments. A Vintage Affair 11 20 Feb 24, 2013 12:11PM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: A Vintage Affair 1 3 Aug 18, 2012 06:18PM  
Fashion Book Lovers!: A Vintage Affair by Isabel Wolff 6 33 Aug 12, 2010 10:48PM  

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Isabel Wolff's ten bestselling novels are published worldwide. 'Ghostwritten', set in present day Cornwall and on wartime Java, was published in the UK in March 2014 and will be published in the US in February 2015 as 'Shadows Over Paradise'. 'The Very Picture of You' was published in the UK and the US in October 2011. 'A Vintage Affair', was an 'Best of 2009' title and was shortliste ...more

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