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The Dress Shop on King Street

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Harper Albright 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 to sew. As she rethinks her own future, secrets long hidden about Millie's past are brought to light. In 1946, Millie Middleton boarded a train and left Charleston to keep hal Harper Albright 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 to sew. As she rethinks her own future, secrets long hidden about Millie's past are brought to light. In 1946, Millie Middleton 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 and 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.


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Harper Albright 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 to sew. As she rethinks her own future, secrets long hidden about Millie's past are brought to light. In 1946, Millie Middleton boarded a train and left Charleston to keep hal Harper Albright 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 to sew. As she rethinks her own future, secrets long hidden about Millie's past are brought to light. In 1946, Millie Middleton 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 and 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.

30 review for The Dress Shop on King Street

  1. 5 out of 5

    Debra

    "We will live fragile lives, my dear Harper, if we avoid that which is delicate for fear it might break at the seams." Harper Albright has dreamed of working in fashion design since childhood. She has had her hopes dashed and returns home to Fairhope, Alabama to lick her wounds. At her father's suggestion, she visits Millie Middleton, the woman who taught her to sew. There as she contemplates her future, we are given glimpses into Millie's past. "Because I am proud of my heritage, no matte "We will live fragile lives, my dear Harper, if we avoid that which is delicate for fear it might break at the seams." Harper Albright has dreamed of working in fashion design since childhood. She has had her hopes dashed and returns home to Fairhope, Alabama to lick her wounds. At her father's suggestion, she visits Millie Middleton, the woman who taught her to sew. There as she contemplates her future, we are given glimpses into Millie's past. "Because I am proud of my heritage, no matter what the law and society think. I am proud of my mother and my mother's mother and all the rest who came before me. Without them, I wouldn't carry these dreams." Millie Middleton left Charleston in 1946 to keep half of her heritage hidden. She brought with her dreams of owning a dress shop and two signature buttons. Along the way she meets a charming train jumper, and her life and dreams are changed forever. Harper and Millie have both dreamed of owning dress shop and decide to go to Charleston to open a dress shop of their own. Along the way secrets from Millie's past will be revealed. As we learn about the past, we are also given a glimpse into what the future might hold. “...she caught her heart before it grew wings and floated away like a butterfly." The Dress Shop on King street is a beautiful book about two women and their dreams. It deals with various themes such as identity, race, racism, hope, dreams, love, friendship, skill, secrets, acceptance and family. Some characters are left to deal with hard choices and the consequences of making those choices. We will watch them dream, hope, experience doubt, have their dreams altered and see them struggle, overcome, love, and keep moving forward. I also really enjoyed their friendship and exchanges with each other. This book is both heartbreaking and heartwarming. It is also filled with hope and love. This book was a pleasure to read. I enjoyed both characters but had a soft spot for Millie. Both timelines were interesting abut again, Millie's back story was the one that really moved me. I look forward to more books in the series and learning more about the characters and their lives. Thank you to Bethany House Publishers and NetGalley who provided me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All the thoughts and opinions are my own.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karren Sandercock

    Harper Albright wants to be a fashion designer and when her dream seems impossible to achieve she returns home to Alabama. She arrives at Millie’s boarding house a place where she’s always made to feel welcome and she and Millie are kindred spirits. Both Millie and Harper have a shared interest in fashion, sewing and both dream of having their own dress shop. Despite the age difference, they decided to give it a go and plan opening their own shop together. The Dress Shop on King Street has a dual Harper Albright wants to be a fashion designer and when her dream seems impossible to achieve she returns home to Alabama. She arrives at Millie’s boarding house a place where she’s always made to feel welcome and she and Millie are kindred spirits. Both Millie and Harper have a shared interest in fashion, sewing and both dream of having their own dress shop. Despite the age difference, they decided to give it a go and plan opening their own shop together. The Dress Shop on King Street has a dual timeline; it goes between present time and back to 1946 when Millie was a young woman. In 1946, Millie Middleton made the choice to leave Charleston, her mother and her heritage behind. Her mother encouraged her to leave, racial tension was dangerously high, Millie could pass as white and it was a very difficult decision for her to make. On her way to her new life, she's extremely nervous and she meets a charming man called Franklin Pinckney on the train; she has no idea she has just met her future husband and do you believe in fate? Set in America’s south the book is full of descriptions of the old buildings, beautiful vintage dresses, fabrics, buttons and sewing notions both women use. All rather fascinating and it’s also about family secrets, heirlooms, friendship, love, loss, choices, guilt and regret. The Dress Shop on King Street is the first book in the Heirloom Secrets Series; I’m so looking forward to reading the second book and five stars from me. https://karrenreadsbooks.blogspot.com/

  3. 4 out of 5

    DeAnn

    4 Dress Shop dream stars This debut novel by Ashley Clark is a multi-generational and split timeline debut novel. Filled with richly imagined characters, I found myself immersed in Fairhope, Alabama and Charleston, South Carolina. This story is filled with family secrets, fabric, signature hats, and special buttons. Harper Albright has her dreams set on a career in fashion and she’s attending design college in to fulfill those desires. Her big dream is to open a dress shop someday. Her plans get d 4 Dress Shop dream stars This debut novel by Ashley Clark is a multi-generational and split timeline debut novel. Filled with richly imagined characters, I found myself immersed in Fairhope, Alabama and Charleston, South Carolina. This story is filled with family secrets, fabric, signature hats, and special buttons. Harper Albright has her dreams set on a career in fashion and she’s attending design college in to fulfill those desires. Her big dream is to open a dress shop someday. Her plans get derailed though, and she retreats with all those dreams dashed. She finds Millie, the woman who first taught her to sew and tries to figure out her future. The split timeline features Millie and we learn all about how she left Charleston, leaving her family and roots behind her. Through her story, we learn of love, heartbreak, and the pain of life in a racially charged South. As you might expect, Harper and Millie move down the path to a dress shop in Charleston, but both have to do some reconciliation with the past in order to move forward. I thought this one ended well, and I really liked the author’s note at the end with how the story is based on real artifacts. I like that this is marketed as #1 in a series as I would like to see what else is in store for these characters. Thank you to Bethany House for the copy of this one to read and review.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Fitzgerald

    This book was like candy for a historical fiction nut like myself! I love the way the author wove the story of the butterfly buttons, the embroidered bag, and other heirlooms into a family story that reached through many decades. This was a debut writing, and I can’t wait to read the next one in the series! Way to go, Ashley Clark! *I received a digital copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are strictly my own.*

  5. 4 out of 5

    Cara Putman

    The Dress Shop on King Street is a novel that will sweetly tug you into a story line that flows seamlessly between two times only to intertwine in beautiful ways. Page by page, secret by secret, moment by moment a story is woven of love lost and found, hope restored, and dreams restored. And each page was a gift I did not want to walk away from. Enter these pages only if you want to feel Millie and Harper’s stories deeply and in the process be reminded of how gentle God is as He guides us throug The Dress Shop on King Street is a novel that will sweetly tug you into a story line that flows seamlessly between two times only to intertwine in beautiful ways. Page by page, secret by secret, moment by moment a story is woven of love lost and found, hope restored, and dreams restored. And each page was a gift I did not want to walk away from. Enter these pages only if you want to feel Millie and Harper’s stories deeply and in the process be reminded of how gentle God is as He guides us through dreams lost and found. You might just fall in love with a new-to-you author’s writing. I know I have.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Rachel McMillan

    endorsement blurb: A warm, inimitable voice and pure passion and heart underscore every carefully woven thread of this narrative’s elegant tapestry. Impeccable research, touches of romance, complex characters and dollops of charm inform The Dress Shop on King Street: the first offering from an author destined to make waves with her lush and immersive setting and powerful, resonant themes.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Tagg

    What a lovely debut from Ashley Clark! I'm a sucker for split time stories and this was such an enjoyable read. Both Millie and Harper tugged on my heart and I was thoroughly intrigued by the plot. Plus, there was such a feeling of warmth and heart to this story—and it had a thoroughly Southern feel to it as well. I get the sense that Ashley Clark has handed her heart to us in this novel and I'm eager to see what she writes next! What a lovely debut from Ashley Clark! I'm a sucker for split time stories and this was such an enjoyable read. Both Millie and Harper tugged on my heart and I was thoroughly intrigued by the plot. Plus, there was such a feeling of warmth and heart to this story—and it had a thoroughly Southern feel to it as well. I get the sense that Ashley Clark has handed her heart to us in this novel and I'm eager to see what she writes next!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Iola

    The Dress Shop on King Street is a dual timeline story set in the post-WWII American South, and in the present day. In the present, Harper Dupree’s hopes for a career in fashions have been dashed, so she returns home to Alabama, to the older woman who taught her to sew. Here she meets Peter, an unlikely property developer. Millie Middleton is an expert seamstress who has always wanted to open her own dress shop, but life kept getting in the way. Now she might just achieve her dream, with Harper The Dress Shop on King Street is a dual timeline story set in the post-WWII American South, and in the present day. In the present, Harper Dupree’s hopes for a career in fashions have been dashed, so she returns home to Alabama, to the older woman who taught her to sew. Here she meets Peter, an unlikely property developer. Millie Middleton is an expert seamstress who has always wanted to open her own dress shop, but life kept getting in the way. Now she might just achieve her dream, with Harper and Peter’s help. The past story is Millie’s and takes us from her initial dream through the many reasons why it never came to pass. It’s obvious from the beginning that Millie has a secret, and not just that she’s a mixed-race woman passing as white in 1960’s Georgia, where the “one-drop rule” is a thing. (I had to look that up. For those of us who are not from the USA, it meant that a person with just “one drop” of non-white ancestry was considered black, and therefore treated as a second-class citizen). Harper’s story and slow-growing romance with Peter was the bulk of the story, but the impact and the heart of the story belonged to Millie. It forces us to face the injustices of the past, and ask ourselves what we can do to atone for those in the present, and to make sure they don’t happen again. It also shows that some injustices have consequences that last years or even decades. Some injustices can never be fixed or made right. 2020 has been a year of outstanding debut novels in the Christian fiction genre. The Dress Shop on King Street is one of the best. It’s a novel about identity—our racial or cultural identity, but also our identity as Christians, encouraging us to chase our God-given dreams, no matter how old we are. The Dress Shop on King Street is a novel that will stay with you long after you’ve finished reading. Recommended. Thanks to Bethany House and NetGalley for providing a free ebook for review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Paula Shreckhise

    Absolutely fabulous debut by Ashley Clark. This story connects past and present in a captivating way. Based on a real artifact , this story was obviously woven with love. Millie, Harper and Peter came to life and echoed my sentiments of preservation of old things, be they houses, clothes or memories. “Sometimes life gives us those moments. Like the very first flutter of butterflies wings. Moments that are so profound and so purely beautiful, you try to capture them so you can come back to them l Absolutely fabulous debut by Ashley Clark. This story connects past and present in a captivating way. Based on a real artifact , this story was obviously woven with love. Millie, Harper and Peter came to life and echoed my sentiments of preservation of old things, be they houses, clothes or memories. “Sometimes life gives us those moments. Like the very first flutter of butterflies wings. Moments that are so profound and so purely beautiful, you try to capture them so you can come back to them later.” From the first page, I was enthralled by the memories Ms. Clark evoked. I started sewing at age 9 on a Singer treadle machine. My mother was an Antique collector and dealer, so I grew up going to estate sales, auctions and consignment shops. My teen years were in the 60s. Although I lived in Northern Illinois, I remember the unrest of the times. The nostalgia made this story very real. Harper and Mille share a dream of opening a dress shop. Will they realize their dreams and what will they learn along the way? At any rate, there is a transforming story to tell on their journey. “But you cannot ignore the thing that keeps your soul alive because I believe God puts that sort of stuff in us for a reason. That He speaks to us through it. God is faithful, and when He calls you to something He will also give you the means , even if it doesn’t look as expected.” This book is a beautiful treasure to be pondered over. I will certainly read the next book in the series as more of this story unfolds. *I received a complimentary copy of this book from Bethany House. I was not required to give a favorable review. All opinions are my own.*

  10. 5 out of 5

    Darla

    Two beautiful butterfly buttons, tucked into the bag of a little girl who is being taken away from her mother, become heirlooms and connect a young man to his grandmother. Ashley Clark weaves a beautiful story showing the ultimate triumph of truth over lies as we pursue our dreams and God's purpose. Millie and Harper share a dream of opening a dress shop. Both have felt the pain of a dream deferred. We follow their paths in Millie's past story and their present connection. Millie's struggles wit Two beautiful butterfly buttons, tucked into the bag of a little girl who is being taken away from her mother, become heirlooms and connect a young man to his grandmother. Ashley Clark weaves a beautiful story showing the ultimate triumph of truth over lies as we pursue our dreams and God's purpose. Millie and Harper share a dream of opening a dress shop. Both have felt the pain of a dream deferred. We follow their paths in Millie's past story and their present connection. Millie's struggles with her biracial heritage and the racism of her day are heartbreaking and a jarring reality of the work we still have to do. Harper's struggle with self-doubt is a reminder of our daily spiritual battle against the enemy. Using beautiful metaphors with buttons, seams, butterflies, water, and more Clark gives us all a reminder of our Maker and His love in the midst of the toils and troubles of this veil of tears. There were times when I felt the seams were unraveling a bit regarding the plot, but the writing is beautiful and I look forward to Heirloom Secrets #2. Thank you to Bethany House and NetGalley for a DRC in exchange for an honest review. All my opinions are my own.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lisa (Bookworm Lisa)

    WOW! This is such a beautiful story. It is a multi-generational novel that takes the reader from before the Civil War into the present day. Millie is a woman who is half white and half black. Her mixed heritage gives her more freedom to live in the white world. Her story begins before Martin Luther King changed life for many black people. Her life is threatened when a white young man learns of her mixed heritage. In order to protect her, Millie's mother puts her on a train to move to an area wher WOW! This is such a beautiful story. It is a multi-generational novel that takes the reader from before the Civil War into the present day. Millie is a woman who is half white and half black. Her mixed heritage gives her more freedom to live in the white world. Her story begins before Martin Luther King changed life for many black people. Her life is threatened when a white young man learns of her mixed heritage. In order to protect her, Millie's mother puts her on a train to move to an area where she can pass as a white woman. The story "packs a punch" as injustice is described. Millie has a love story that is beautiful, but her heart is broken when she becomes a mother. To me, it is unfathomable the way that people in the black community were treated. It is because I have never experienced it, that I have a hard time wrapping my head around it. While there is a lot of pain, there are good times too. The story really is one of hope. It comes full circle when dreams are realized and that generations following have more opportunity. I cannot give this book a higher recommendation. This will remain in my head and heart for a long time to come. Source: I received a complimentary copy. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    4.5 stars "Harper, have you ever considered whether fear - rather than your dream - is what you're holding onto?" Possibly. But wasn't that what her entire world had been surrounded by lately? . . . . the "possibly" that had suddenly and most cruelly morphed into impossibly? Her dreams had vanished, like the wisp of a cloud, beautiful and fluffy one moment and gone the next, driven by the winds of change and the storms of years that felt wasted. Fashion design had been her passion for so long that 4.5 stars "Harper, have you ever considered whether fear - rather than your dream - is what you're holding onto?" Possibly. But wasn't that what her entire world had been surrounded by lately? . . . . the "possibly" that had suddenly and most cruelly morphed into impossibly? Her dreams had vanished, like the wisp of a cloud, beautiful and fluffy one moment and gone the next, driven by the winds of change and the storms of years that felt wasted. Fashion design had been her passion for so long that Harper Dupree didn't know who she was without it. . . . until she travels back to where it all began, or rather to the "who", the woman who brightened a little girl's days with sewing lessons in her kitchen. Millie Middleton had so many secrets tucked under her red cloche that she could fill the shelves of a small library with their stories. So many dreams, so many possibilities, so many unexpected sacrifices, so many . . . . As a young woman, leaving the life she knew for one that loomed before her with unfathomable depth, she met the love of her life, birthed two beautiful daughters, and found herself alone again with the same dream . . . . . a dress shop on King Street. When the all-grown-up version of Harper arrives on her doorstep yet again, the two of them decide to give fashion another chance, giving Millie's sewn-up-tight secrets a prime opportunity to burst their seams wide open into a kaleidoscope of success for Harper, along with a handsome young Charleston historian named Peter , "who has always been interested in the stories behind the walls". Rarely does a debut novel evoke such deep emotion. Layered as softly and elegantly as one of Harper's vintage gowns, this story exposes the necessary authenticity needed to manage grief, endure broken dreams, and cherish forever loves and then . . . . dare to move forward with hope. As Harper's wise father said on more than one occasion, "No matter how long it takes, Harper Rae, when your Jubilee tide comes in, make sure your nets are good and ready". The book's remarkable strength is not only in the ability these characters have to rise above the ashes, but in the confidence they inspire us to have in the One who is "the author of your (our) story, and where He calls, He equips". Such a lovely reading experience; enjoy every page! I received a copy of this book from the author and publisher. I also purchased a copy. The opinions stated above are entirely own.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Martha

    I am not sure why I have not heard more about this book, as it is truly a hidden gem. I found myself going between the characters, wondering wishing and hoping to see as the story unfolded. Sometimes stories with racial divisions from the past, open a new world to us that we wish we had not seen. I loved the hints and quotes from Gilmore Girls, the fashion design quality and the boarding house history enclosed in this book, as well as shades of Jane Austen slipped in. With heartbreaking moments, I am not sure why I have not heard more about this book, as it is truly a hidden gem. I found myself going between the characters, wondering wishing and hoping to see as the story unfolded. Sometimes stories with racial divisions from the past, open a new world to us that we wish we had not seen. I loved the hints and quotes from Gilmore Girls, the fashion design quality and the boarding house history enclosed in this book, as well as shades of Jane Austen slipped in. With heartbreaking moments, you will find yourself thinking about this one after you finish.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Chiavaroli

    A beautiful weaving of past and present, Ashley Clark isn't afraid to tackle the tough topic of racial tension, how it plays out in the life of one woman, and how it affects so many around her. I loved the satisfying ending and the sweet reminder of second chances in the midst of broken dreams. A beautiful weaving of past and present, Ashley Clark isn't afraid to tackle the tough topic of racial tension, how it plays out in the life of one woman, and how it affects so many around her. I loved the satisfying ending and the sweet reminder of second chances in the midst of broken dreams.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    Oh, my word...I am in love with this book. From page one, I knew that this was going to be an amazing book. I do not even think I can put into words how beautiful this book was. Everything from the storyline to the characters had me in love. Literally, this book is a MUST read for everyone. I really loved the split-time aspect of this novel. It was so beautifully crafted. This split story allows the reader to get to know, and love, all the characters. These stories were filled with so much heart Oh, my word...I am in love with this book. From page one, I knew that this was going to be an amazing book. I do not even think I can put into words how beautiful this book was. Everything from the storyline to the characters had me in love. Literally, this book is a MUST read for everyone. I really loved the split-time aspect of this novel. It was so beautifully crafted. This split story allows the reader to get to know, and love, all the characters. These stories were filled with so much heartbreak yet so much hope. My favorite part about this whole book was how everything intertwined. I loved being able to read the history of the story while seeing how everything plays out in the future. The characters in this book were so complex and beautifully written. I could not help but love them all. I loved reading about Millie's past self and future self. She was so strong and so inspiring. Franklin was just as strong as Millie. I loved watching their story evolve. Harper was a really fun character. I loved watching her grow throughout this book. Peter was probably my favorite. I really related to him and all of his love for history. Honestly, it is so difficult for me to put into words how amazing these characters were. I do not think words can describe how these characters touched me. One of my favorite parts of this book was how much history was woven throughout every page and chapter. Ms. Clark definitely did her research while doing this book and I could not help but feel like I was right there with all the characters. Another part of this book that I loved was the theme of God's timing. Throughout this whole book, we see how characters chase dreams and ambitions only to see God answer them in His timing and not their own. It was a great reminder for me in this time of life. This book took me on a whirlwind of emotions. I was laughing, crying, getting giddy, feeling hope, feeling despair, and all the emotions in-between with these lovable characters. This book is great for every historical fiction and contemporary lover. I cannot really put into words my love for this book but all I know is that this book is a must-read for every reader. Do yourself a favor and read this masterpiece!! *FTC: I received this book from Bethany House in exchange for my honest opinion. All thoughts are my own. I was not required to write a positive review.*

  16. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Timerman

    From beginning to end this book is a page-turner, and you will not be disappointed. Millie is a spunky young woman when this story begins and we follow her into her 90's, and what a life she has had. Not many could have withstood the heart aches, but she has hung in there, and we journey with her in deep south Alabama. Hate and prejudice abounds here, but how she deals with it, such grace and a few chuckles. Millie's heart desire is to open a dress shop and she has a kindred spirit in Harper, a yo From beginning to end this book is a page-turner, and you will not be disappointed. Millie is a spunky young woman when this story begins and we follow her into her 90's, and what a life she has had. Not many could have withstood the heart aches, but she has hung in there, and we journey with her in deep south Alabama. Hate and prejudice abounds here, but how she deals with it, such grace and a few chuckles. Millie's heart desire is to open a dress shop and she has a kindred spirit in Harper, a young woman she has know from Harper's childhood on. There are surprises here, and how the facts unfold, we don't get to see the justice that should have happened, but we get to know Millie. This is an eye opening, heart wrenching read, that you don't want to miss. I received this book through Net Galley and the Publisher Bethany House, and was not required to give a positive review.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jeanne Alfveby Crea

    Oh my goodness what an excellent debut novel!!! I could not put this book down, and I loved not knowing where the story would take me. A beautiful multigenerational story, The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark, seamlessly weaves together the past and the present, heartache, and joy in this fantastic page-turning story. The story of Millie Middleton, the great-granddaughter of a slave (Ashley) who was sold at age 9 and forever separated from her mother Rose in 1860. Rose gave Ashley a flou Oh my goodness what an excellent debut novel!!! I could not put this book down, and I loved not knowing where the story would take me. A beautiful multigenerational story, The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark, seamlessly weaves together the past and the present, heartache, and joy in this fantastic page-turning story. The story of Millie Middleton, the great-granddaughter of a slave (Ashley) who was sold at age 9 and forever separated from her mother Rose in 1860. Rose gave Ashley a flour sack containing an old dress, three handfuls of pecans, and a braid of her hair, and two butterfly buttons that continue to appear over the generations. The story of Millie, a beautiful young woman, the daughter of loving parents, a black mother and an Italian father begins in 1946 when inter-racial marriages were banned and attitudes completely against biracial marriages were sadly incredibly prevalent. Millie's father dies trying to protect her from racist people who did not want her playing with their children. Millie's mother wants her to leave town to find a better life. Because of Millie's light skin, her mom wants her to pass herself off as a white woman to pursue her dream of owning a dress shop and having a better life far away from where she grew up. Millie loves both sides of her heritage and struggles with trying to hide one of them. "But here on this train between home and new ground, God settled how very deeply she was loved, even as her grandparents before her had been, and the generations before them, She would embroider Rose and Asley's story on the satchel when she got situated in Alabama. Maybe that would bring some closure about the life she had to leave for the life she wanted to live. The hidden heritage that still caused her to ache with pride, regardless of where she called home." Millie later says of her hero of a husband "Well, I can't speak to what he was trying to find, but what he did find was me, and I'll tell you, that changed things for both of us." Millis is simultaneously vulnerable, tough, and funny. She & Franklin are very easy to love. "Sometimes life gives us those moments. Like the very first flutter of a butterfly's wings. Moments that are so profound and so purely beautiful, you try to capture them so that you can come back to them later." In the present timeline, Millie reconnects with her former neighbor and sewing student Harper, who is at a crossroads in her life, and she also connects with a handsome young man Peter who Millie has known for many years. Peter has a great love of history and is trying to unravel his own family history one clue at a time. Later in life Millie reflects: "How do you do right by your child when you don't even know what that is or looks like? At times, I was convinced I'd allowed fear to make all my decisions and done everything wrong. other times, some awful act of racial violence would be in the paper, and I'd feel justified." The themes of the resurrection of hope and dreams, family past and present, and striving towards your dreams, come full circle in this very compelling story. I highly recommend The Dress Shop on King Street! Thank you to Bethany House and Net Galley for allowing me to read an early copy. I loved it! All opinions are my own.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Jolene -

    The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark started out rough. While well-written, the heartbreaking situations in the first few chapters made it difficult to continue into the novel. However, I persevered to discover a dual-timeline story full of love, fear, and redemption. My journey with Harper and Millie reaped rewards as the deep themes of the book settled in my mind. The Dress Shop on King Street plunged into issues relevant to modern society. Racism, in the past and present, deeply affec The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark started out rough. While well-written, the heartbreaking situations in the first few chapters made it difficult to continue into the novel. However, I persevered to discover a dual-timeline story full of love, fear, and redemption. My journey with Harper and Millie reaped rewards as the deep themes of the book settled in my mind. The Dress Shop on King Street plunged into issues relevant to modern society. Racism, in the past and present, deeply affected Millie and her decisions. Disillusionment drove Harper to turn from her dreams. Yet, I loved the novel’s theme of redemption – for people, items, and history. Threads about discovering and preserving history weave through the novel as characters seek to understand their family history, restore vintage pieces, and cultivate hope for the present and future. I enjoyed the slow, deep exploration of issues in The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark. Readers who enjoy dual timeline fiction that dives into painful issues and searches for hope will likely enjoy this novel. Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this book by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    This is Ashley Clark's debut novel and it most certainly blew me away. It is in my top ten books of the year and I am anxious to read her next story. This book has a lot going on with a dual time line and multiple characters. It was very well done and I adored both story lines and all of the characters. Each person in this book was well developed and I felt like I got to know them personally. There is so much that this book holds I couldn't begin to describe it all. This book brings home the fa This is Ashley Clark's debut novel and it most certainly blew me away. It is in my top ten books of the year and I am anxious to read her next story. This book has a lot going on with a dual time line and multiple characters. It was very well done and I adored both story lines and all of the characters. Each person in this book was well developed and I felt like I got to know them personally. There is so much that this book holds I couldn't begin to describe it all. This book brings home the fact of how racism has affected people lives FOREVER as it continues to do today. There is a wonderful story of family and romance and there is a twist near the end that you don't see coming. This isn't a fast read by any means and I thoroughly enjoyed savoring each page. If you enjoy dual time lines you will love this book! I highly recommend so go buy a copy now! Five stars. "I received this book from Bethany House for free. All opinions are my own and I was not required to write a positive review."

  20. 4 out of 5

    Brenda Feinen

    A heart wrenching family history. Present Day - Harper has dreamed of owning a dress shop since she was a little girl taught to sew by Mrs Millie. About to graduate from design school, her senior project is rejected by her advisor. Lost without her dream, Harper returns to Mrs. Millie. Mrs Millie convinces Harper to take her to Charleston to fulfill her own dream decades old- owning a dress shop. After WWII, many families struggled to fin work. One family struggles with finding peace as a biraci A heart wrenching family history. Present Day - Harper has dreamed of owning a dress shop since she was a little girl taught to sew by Mrs Millie. About to graduate from design school, her senior project is rejected by her advisor. Lost without her dream, Harper returns to Mrs. Millie. Mrs Millie convinces Harper to take her to Charleston to fulfill her own dream decades old- owning a dress shop. After WWII, many families struggled to fin work. One family struggles with finding peace as a biracial family. Millie is sent from home by her mothet as a teenager, passing as white to fulfill her dream of owning a dress shop. Emotional. Amazing family history. Loved the perspectives of both time periods. Loved the characters- especially Millie. Oh to have such a love, such strength. Great story.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Alexa

    This was split between two timelines. It was a good read, and easy to follow. It’s set in history, and family and how everyone is tied together over time. You learn Olean on how everyone ties together, but that does not take away from the storyline of the book. I definitely enjoyed this book and would recommend. Harper it is a seamstress and designer who was taught by Millie in her hometown. After trying out for a special show she is rejected and decides to return home and stay with Millie. Milli This was split between two timelines. It was a good read, and easy to follow. It’s set in history, and family and how everyone is tied together over time. You learn Olean on how everyone ties together, but that does not take away from the storyline of the book. I definitely enjoyed this book and would recommend. Harper it is a seamstress and designer who was taught by Millie in her hometown. After trying out for a special show she is rejected and decides to return home and stay with Millie. Millie has always dreamed of owning a dress shop, and with Harper it just may come true.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Emma

    This was a beautifully crafted split-time novel following the lives of two very different women with two different stories who ultimately share the same dream— to one day own a dress shop. There’s the historical storyline that tells Millie’s story which begins right after The Great Depression, starting when she is a only a teenager. Then there’s the contemporary storyline that follows Harper’s story as she pursues her dream of being a seamstress and opening a dress shop, a dream she almost gives This was a beautifully crafted split-time novel following the lives of two very different women with two different stories who ultimately share the same dream— to one day own a dress shop. There’s the historical storyline that tells Millie’s story which begins right after The Great Depression, starting when she is a only a teenager. Then there’s the contemporary storyline that follows Harper’s story as she pursues her dream of being a seamstress and opening a dress shop, a dream she almost gives up on... until she becomes friends with the elderly woman, Millie. This story was heartbreaking yet filled with hope. The characters were well-done and felt real. They were also complex and interesting, each one unique. Millie was such a strong, inspiring character and watching her life play out was really special and heartfelt. Franklin was one of my favorite characters. He was wonderful. Harper was a likable, relatable character but I really, really liked Peter! He was a favorite for sure. The historical storyline was my favorite as it was a bit more compelling but the contemporary one wrapped it altogether nicely. Also, the faith content in this one was wonderful. I loved that! There were times I smiled, laughed, and teared up. That makes for a good book in my opinion! I’d recommend for historical fiction lovers as well as contemporary fiction lovers as in this one, you will get both. *Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for a review. •BEAUTIFUL QUOTES• “Just that sometimes, we all hold tighter and tighter to the very things that are drowning us. We think we’re keeping ourselves safe, but we’re not. We’re just trying to control the stuff that scares us rather than to feel the fear and move on.” “She didn’t know his pain any more than he knew hers. And love was not a yardstick to which she ought to be comparing. Loss was loss, and grief was grief. Something to acknowledge, something to cherish, something to which they might cling. Something that would altogether shape them and their future by the absence it had rounded out in their beings.” “But you also can’t ignore the thing that keeps your soul alive, because I believe God puts that sort of stuff in us for a reason. That He speaks to us through it. God is faithful, and when He calls you to something, He will also give you the means, even if it doesn’t look as expected.” ““No matter how hard we try to avoid them, we’ll spend half our lives living in the shadows. Because the thing of it is, we were never supposed to run.” “The secret, my sweet Harper, is we stop fearing shadows when we see the sun that makes them. Instead of cowering, we shift into the sunlight, and the shadows disappear.”

  23. 5 out of 5

    Staci

    Lovely time slip debut! Millie, the daughter of an Italian man and Black woman, leaves her Charleston home in 1946 to live out life as a white woman at the urging of her mother. Millie years to own her own dress shop. In the present day thread, Harper has ambitions for a bright future in the fashion industry. When her instructor tells her she lacks the talent needed, Harper is crushed. She seeks refuge with Millie that taught her how to sew as a young girl. This novel is about racial inequality and Lovely time slip debut! Millie, the daughter of an Italian man and Black woman, leaves her Charleston home in 1946 to live out life as a white woman at the urging of her mother. Millie years to own her own dress shop. In the present day thread, Harper has ambitions for a bright future in the fashion industry. When her instructor tells her she lacks the talent needed, Harper is crushed. She seeks refuge with Millie that taught her how to sew as a young girl. This novel is about racial inequality and having dreams. I love this quote from the novel: "From the beginning, I have been working between the seams. Where you have ripped, I have mended. When you have torn, I have sewn you....Keep the fabric of your dreams." My gratitude to Bethany House Publishers for a complimentary NetGalley copy of the novel. I was not required to post a review and all opinions expressed are my own.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Christine

    The Dress Shop on King Street is a heartbreaking yet beautiful story. Racism is the main theme here and I commend Ashley Clark’s bravery in writing such a novel and doing so with such diplomacy. This was a dual time period novel, one beginning in the 1940s and the other in present day. The historic story line will move you and is a sobering reminder that such events really didn’t happen all that long ago. But this novel will also bring you joy. The contemporary storyline ties in well to the old, The Dress Shop on King Street is a heartbreaking yet beautiful story. Racism is the main theme here and I commend Ashley Clark’s bravery in writing such a novel and doing so with such diplomacy. This was a dual time period novel, one beginning in the 1940s and the other in present day. The historic story line will move you and is a sobering reminder that such events really didn’t happen all that long ago. But this novel will also bring you joy. The contemporary storyline ties in well to the old, however, I did preferred the historic one as it had a lot more depth and felt more realistic. But overall, this was an excellent story, thoughtfully and creatively put together. I’m glad I had the opportunity to read it.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Victoria Rodríguez

    An adorable book. This story is about Harper Albright, who has pinned all her hopes on a career in fashion design. However, one day she feels that her future is in danger, so she returns to her home, Fairhope, Alabama. This return is for Harper an opportunity to be with Millie, the woman who taught her to sew. On the other hand, the author narrates Millie's life in Middleton during the year 1946. Millie arrives in Charleston, a place where she will surely live many adventures. I liked this book An adorable book. This story is about Harper Albright, who has pinned all her hopes on a career in fashion design. However, one day she feels that her future is in danger, so she returns to her home, Fairhope, Alabama. This return is for Harper an opportunity to be with Millie, the woman who taught her to sew. On the other hand, the author narrates Millie's life in Middleton during the year 1946. Millie arrives in Charleston, a place where she will surely live many adventures. I liked this book because of the two narrated timelines. Life was not easy in the 1940s, and the challenges Millie faced were many. I loved the importance given to the dress store. Besides that, I have always thought that clothes have intriguing stories. It is the first book in this series. I will be looking forward to the next books. I thank NetGalley and Bethany House Publishers for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Libby May

    The Characters Let me start by saying this story was not my favorite. It was mostly Meh. Harper, the MC, was nothing special. She was so flat that it was almost painful. She had a dream. But that was all that made her part of the story. Her moods and ideas all seemed just kind of bland and there because they had to be. Not because that's what she had. Millie was something special if she had been executed a little bit better. She had a background, a secret, a life, and she had emotions. Peter was qu The Characters Let me start by saying this story was not my favorite. It was mostly Meh. Harper, the MC, was nothing special. She was so flat that it was almost painful. She had a dream. But that was all that made her part of the story. Her moods and ideas all seemed just kind of bland and there because they had to be. Not because that's what she had. Millie was something special if she had been executed a little bit better. She had a background, a secret, a life, and she had emotions. Peter was quirky, but I imagined him almost more like an old man in a lab coat that's bursting at the buttons. He and Harper had NO chemistry. It was all just kind forced to make a plotline of some kind. The Plot As you probably guessed from the previous paragraphs, the plot wasn't super solid. There was a line. But the buildup wavered ALL over the place. I feel like there were way too many tiny details that were not nessacary for the story. It was fast paced, but in a very muddy sort of useless way. The Content There wasn't that much content. I mean all in all, it was a fine story. There wasn't anything wrong with it, there was just nothing outstanding about it. I never even got myself to finish the ending, and I'm about 50 pages away. I just don't WANT to. The "romance" (could it even be called that?) between Harper and Peter felt forced, but I wanted to mention that it was there. I don't know if they kissed or not in the last 50 pages, I didn't finish it. In Summary I was too bored to finish The Dress Shop on King Street. I appreciate that the author finished her book. That is a HUGE feat to accomplish. But I didn't enjoy this story as much as I have other stories. Three stars. Thank you Bethany house and Ashely Clark for getting me a copy of this book to check it out. A positive review was not required and all opinions are honest and my own words.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    With a refreshing new voice, Ashley Clark's debut novel is sure to win the hearts of many readers. This dual timeline story of long buried secrets coming full circle is one of my favorite story tropes that never grows old. Especially when such dazzling characters come to life and populate the pages, their stories tugging at my heart. Ms. Clark has designed a heroine who faced a moral dilemma and was haunted by a choice that would affect those she loved for generations. Her prose is melodic, rich With a refreshing new voice, Ashley Clark's debut novel is sure to win the hearts of many readers. This dual timeline story of long buried secrets coming full circle is one of my favorite story tropes that never grows old. Especially when such dazzling characters come to life and populate the pages, their stories tugging at my heart. Ms. Clark has designed a heroine who faced a moral dilemma and was haunted by a choice that would affect those she loved for generations. Her prose is melodic, rich with images that transported me to another place and time, holding me captive. Laced within is a wonderful faith thread that will resound with readers. I look forward to reading more books by this author in the future. I received a complimentary copy of this book from the author/publisher and was not required to write a review. All opinions expressed are my own.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Inspirationalfictionreader

    I love timeslips because they give you the best of both worlds - a little contemporary and a little historical. Many times when I read a time slip, I end up liking one story more than the other. In this case, I was equally enthralled by both. Honestly, because Harper and Millie’s stories are so intertwined in the contemporary part of the novel, I almost felt like this was more of Millie’s life story. Millie and Franklin’s story was equally as beautiful as it was heartbreaking. Several times whil I love timeslips because they give you the best of both worlds - a little contemporary and a little historical. Many times when I read a time slip, I end up liking one story more than the other. In this case, I was equally enthralled by both. Honestly, because Harper and Millie’s stories are so intertwined in the contemporary part of the novel, I almost felt like this was more of Millie’s life story. Millie and Franklin’s story was equally as beautiful as it was heartbreaking. Several times while reading their story, it kind of broke my heart. After I read the authors note in the back of the book, my heart really did feel broken. While I loved their relationship, there was one thing I wish Millie would’ve handled a bit differently even though I understood that, for her, it seemed like the only choice. There was also a life changing decision that I wish both her and Franklin would’ve somehow been able to come to a different conclusion for because of the many lives it affected. The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark is a story that will definitely touch your heart and one I won’t be forgetting anytime soon. I received a complimentary copy of this book. All opinions are my own.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jasmine

    Two women bound together by a dream... Some books are packed with a much deeper emotion than your average paperback, and they elicit a stronger emotional response in the reader. The Dress Shop On King Street is one of those books. I initially chose this book because I love split time stories. I love how the past and present are intertwined and how one has a direct effect on the other. Ashley Clark skillfully blended those aspects in the first book in her Heirloom Secrets series. There's a lot to u Two women bound together by a dream... Some books are packed with a much deeper emotion than your average paperback, and they elicit a stronger emotional response in the reader. The Dress Shop On King Street is one of those books. I initially chose this book because I love split time stories. I love how the past and present are intertwined and how one has a direct effect on the other. Ashley Clark skillfully blended those aspects in the first book in her Heirloom Secrets series. There's a lot to unpack in The Dress Shop On King Street but the two things that really got me thinking the most were, Harper's struggles with discouragement and not giving up, and Millie's struggles with fear and trust. Most of us have faced dreams not panning out, people's lack of faith in our abilities, and those things sting. And, while most of us haven't had to hide our heritage it did make me think more about my own ancestors as some of them made the same choice that Millie did, to choose one heritage over the other. Kudos to author Ashley Clark for her portrayal of the pain and angst of such a decision and the long term effects for everyone involved. I will say that the choice to capitalize one race and not the other was a bit uncomfortable for me as a reader. I would have preferred that they both be capitalized or neither of them. As a history lover I have to say how much I liked the premise of the two story arcs hinging around a pair of antique buttons, and, as a museum volunteer the restoration aspects were a hit. If you enjoy emotionally consuming novels that will make you chuckle and tug at your heartstrings you should definitely check out The Dress Shop On King Street, Ashley Clark's debut novel and the first book in her Heirloom Secrets series... (I received a copy of this book from the publisher. All opinions are entirely my own.)

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rosalyn

    An incredible story that is a richly woven tapestry of textures and designs. Love. Racial tensions and difficulties. Family. Friendships. And so much more. Harper was such an intriguing heroine. Her lifelong dream of owning her own dress shop is what has kept her going. Then, when that is dream is quickly snatched away, she's left without purpose, not knowing which way to turn. This book takes place in several different time periods. There's the current day one, with Harper. Then there's the hist An incredible story that is a richly woven tapestry of textures and designs. Love. Racial tensions and difficulties. Family. Friendships. And so much more. Harper was such an intriguing heroine. Her lifelong dream of owning her own dress shop is what has kept her going. Then, when that is dream is quickly snatched away, she's left without purpose, not knowing which way to turn. This book takes place in several different time periods. There's the current day one, with Harper. Then there's the historical one with young Millie Middleton, the wearer of the red cloche. Ashley Clark beautifully pulls these two time periods together, one intricate piece at a time, leaving you with bits and pieces of the puzzle to solve as you read. Millie was also an inspiring character. She saw some hard things in her life, and had to make some seemingly impossible choices, because of love. This story is just an all-around beautiful tale, and I loved it from the beginning to the very end. In the midst of all the hard times, there are those bursts of hope that carry the story through, and keep it moving ever onward. Disclaimer: I receive complimentary books from various sources, including, publishers, publicists, authors, and/or NetGalley. I am not required to write a positive review, and have not received any compensation. The opinions shared here are my own entirely. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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