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An enchanted Christmas dress brings two generations of women together for the magic of the season in this delightful holiday story from author Courtney Cole. One Dress. Two Women. The Magic of the Holiday Season. When hopeful fashionista Meg Julliard must return to her hometown of Chicago to manage her late father’s apartment building, she thinks her dreams of making it in t An enchanted Christmas dress brings two generations of women together for the magic of the season in this delightful holiday story from author Courtney Cole. One Dress. Two Women. The Magic of the Holiday Season. When hopeful fashionista Meg Julliard must return to her hometown of Chicago to manage her late father’s apartment building, she thinks her dreams of making it in the fashion business are over. Add in her father’s eclectic roster of tenants who all need Meg’s attention (ASAP!), a host of building related disasters, and a handsome handyman she keeps embarrassing herself in front of, and this has all the makings for the worst Christmas she’s ever had. Ellie Wade, one of the building’s longtime residents, is also not feeling the Christmas Joy this year. She is preparing to move into a nursing home (reluctantly), and is in the process of sorting through her belongings to downsize. Every corner of her apartment holds memories, some good, some bad. But there’s one dress she hesitates to pack up as it represents both the best and worst night of her life. Ellie and Meg strike up an unlikely friendship and the story of Ellie’s dress comes out. Ellie gifts the gorgeous dress to Meg, hoping that it will bring her more luck, on the condition that she wear it to the building’s Christmas party. The dress magically fits, and while it eventually leads to the best night of Meg’s life, it also acts as inspiration for Meg to follow a life-long dream of her own, a dream that will help save the crumbling Parkview West, and restore it to its former glory, and keep it as a safe home for all of the current tenants. The dress and the magic of the holiday season helps both Meg and Ellie find their own happy endings. 


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An enchanted Christmas dress brings two generations of women together for the magic of the season in this delightful holiday story from author Courtney Cole. One Dress. Two Women. The Magic of the Holiday Season. When hopeful fashionista Meg Julliard must return to her hometown of Chicago to manage her late father’s apartment building, she thinks her dreams of making it in t An enchanted Christmas dress brings two generations of women together for the magic of the season in this delightful holiday story from author Courtney Cole. One Dress. Two Women. The Magic of the Holiday Season. When hopeful fashionista Meg Julliard must return to her hometown of Chicago to manage her late father’s apartment building, she thinks her dreams of making it in the fashion business are over. Add in her father’s eclectic roster of tenants who all need Meg’s attention (ASAP!), a host of building related disasters, and a handsome handyman she keeps embarrassing herself in front of, and this has all the makings for the worst Christmas she’s ever had. Ellie Wade, one of the building’s longtime residents, is also not feeling the Christmas Joy this year. She is preparing to move into a nursing home (reluctantly), and is in the process of sorting through her belongings to downsize. Every corner of her apartment holds memories, some good, some bad. But there’s one dress she hesitates to pack up as it represents both the best and worst night of her life. Ellie and Meg strike up an unlikely friendship and the story of Ellie’s dress comes out. Ellie gifts the gorgeous dress to Meg, hoping that it will bring her more luck, on the condition that she wear it to the building’s Christmas party. The dress magically fits, and while it eventually leads to the best night of Meg’s life, it also acts as inspiration for Meg to follow a life-long dream of her own, a dream that will help save the crumbling Parkview West, and restore it to its former glory, and keep it as a safe home for all of the current tenants. The dress and the magic of the holiday season helps both Meg and Ellie find their own happy endings. 

30 review for The Christmas Dress

  1. 4 out of 5

    Darla

    True love is timeless. Looking for a holiday read that will bring out the tissues in a good way? No ugly cries -- I promise! This is the book for you. A vintage dress is also a timeless centerpiece for this new release. More about that dress in a bit. Meg Julliard has inherited a tired old building from her late father. Structural issues abound from the creaky elevator to the dangerous copper pipes. The clientele is genteel and delightful, but not capable of bankrolling expensive renovations. Cue True love is timeless. Looking for a holiday read that will bring out the tissues in a good way? No ugly cries -- I promise! This is the book for you. A vintage dress is also a timeless centerpiece for this new release. More about that dress in a bit. Meg Julliard has inherited a tired old building from her late father. Structural issues abound from the creaky elevator to the dangerous copper pipes. The clientele is genteel and delightful, but not capable of bankrolling expensive renovations. Cue Logan, the handyman (and certified contractor), who is loyal to a fault and available for every emergency. Then there is the dress. A tenant (Ellie) gifts a dress from her past to Meg. The classic lines and magic fit inspire Meg to design more pieces like it. As a former fashion merchandising major, this piece of the story was such a treat. I just loved the way the dress was a part of the love story for multiple women. It reminded me of how much I loved another book about a dress: Nine Women, One Dress. So, heat up your hot chocolate and curl up with this beautiful book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did! Thank you to William Morrow and Edelweiss+ for a DRC in exchange for an honest review.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Whitney Erwin

    This book was super cute!! It is the perfect feel good Christmas read to add to your list this holiday season. This book will leave you with a smile on your face. I love Christmas books so this was an easy, quick read for me! The storyline was enjoyable and the characters in this book were fun. Thank you Net Galley and William Morrow Custom House for the ARC in return for my honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dianne

    This book was one of the sweetest books I have read in a long time. NOT sappy sweet, but uplifting sweet. Yes, there is a HEA, and well, there should be. But, no, there are no steamy sex scenes-none at all! And I didn't miss it one bit. The story was just that good that it didn't need sex to 'pep it up or 'keep it real.' I will not give you much of a description of this book since the recap does it so well. I will just say that if I were Meg Julliard's age and confronted not only with the death o This book was one of the sweetest books I have read in a long time. NOT sappy sweet, but uplifting sweet. Yes, there is a HEA, and well, there should be. But, no, there are no steamy sex scenes-none at all! And I didn't miss it one bit. The story was just that good that it didn't need sex to 'pep it up or 'keep it real.' I will not give you much of a description of this book since the recap does it so well. I will just say that if I were Meg Julliard's age and confronted not only with the death of her last relative AND inheriting a crumbling building that currently houses only older people, I might lose it totally. Meg makes a few mistakes at first but then pulls up her big girl panties and does what needs to be done. I admit, luck (as well as talent), but mainly fate, has a huge thing to do with this story's HEA, but that's okay. After the last year that we've had, we need a little sweetness, don't we? *ARC supplied by the publisher, William Morrow, the author, and NetGalley. My thanks to all.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Becky

    I'm not sure what I thought when I chose to read this book, what drew me to it; but it was a great book to read. Meghan has inherited an historic building in Chicago that has been converted into condominiums that house older residents. The elevator is on its last legs, the plumbing is shot, there are structural issues that need to be repaired. The kicker is there is no money to be had to make any of the repairs and some of the residents need a safer place to live. Meghan has given up a career wo I'm not sure what I thought when I chose to read this book, what drew me to it; but it was a great book to read. Meghan has inherited an historic building in Chicago that has been converted into condominiums that house older residents. The elevator is on its last legs, the plumbing is shot, there are structural issues that need to be repaired. The kicker is there is no money to be had to make any of the repairs and some of the residents need a safer place to live. Meghan has given up a career working for a fashion magazine to come and take care of the building and its residents. While Meghan is not missing being with the fashion magazine, she does miss designing. It is through the auspices of one of the residents, she finds that her building has significant historical value. This opens the door to possible grants from the historical society, which will help but not entirely cover the repairs needed. An opportunity arises for Meghan to show her designing chops in a contest that holds a purse of $300,000 for the winner. The two second place prizes are $100,000 each, and even if she came in second, the money would go a long way toward making the needed repairs. During the months that Meghan is sorting through all of the options and designing the dresses for the contest, her father's handyman, Logan, is doing Bandaid™ repairs to hold the building together until funding for the major renovations can be found. Everything culminates on Christmas Eve--the fashion contest, an inspection by the historical society, and a party for the residents of the building. Courtney Cole has woven a bit of magic into the plot of this book, making it a most entertaining read. There is a bit of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants involved in the book, along with nostalgia for a different era, and more happy endings than anyone could thing possible. And I do love me a happy ending. Five Stars, Two Thumbs Up, and a dress that not only fits, but makes you look gorgeous regardless of the occasion. William Morrow and Custom House and NetGalley.com provided the copy I read for this review. All opinions expressed are solely my own.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Aya

    A sweet and cozy read, perfect for the holiday season. It was like a warm blanket wrapped all around me, all warm and comfy. It was predictable and it was like a hallmark movie. But the author made it fun to read with all the interesting characters. The author was amazing at making the characters came alive.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Judy

    I am loving the Christmas stories this year. This is my first book by Courtney Cole, but I hope it won’t be my last. This story is wonderful and the characters even better. It was great to see Meg take charge of her life and her circumstances. I love old buildings and would love to explore the Parkview and yes, live there too. This story shows the love of friends and neighbors and how family is of the heart. We all need a little Winter White in our lives. I received this book from NetGalley, but I am loving the Christmas stories this year. This is my first book by Courtney Cole, but I hope it won’t be my last. This story is wonderful and the characters even better. It was great to see Meg take charge of her life and her circumstances. I love old buildings and would love to explore the Parkview and yes, live there too. This story shows the love of friends and neighbors and how family is of the heart. We all need a little Winter White in our lives. I received this book from NetGalley, but my opinion is my own.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Rachel

    The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole is an excellent novel that has it all: romance, festive spirit, historical fiction, and an uplifting and positive message that I truly enjoyed. I loved reading this wonderful story of love, hope, family, friends, and making that go of following your heart. Meg and Ellie may be of different ages and generations, but their hopes, dreams, and “that” magical dress all make these two ladies more similar than it first appears. I loved the story of Meg, returning to The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole is an excellent novel that has it all: romance, festive spirit, historical fiction, and an uplifting and positive message that I truly enjoyed. I loved reading this wonderful story of love, hope, family, friends, and making that go of following your heart. Meg and Ellie may be of different ages and generations, but their hopes, dreams, and “that” magical dress all make these two ladies more similar than it first appears. I loved the story of Meg, returning to Chicago lost, dejected, and down in life, only to find a friend in Ellie, and a purpose, and perhaps even a love interest with Logan. I loved the eclectic cast of inhabitants in the down and out apartment building, and I enjoyed the friendships that developed. The pace, plot, and dash of “magic” really added to the feel of the story to give it a sense of hope and promise. The progression and change in the characters as the story goes on really added to my enjoyment and satisfaction with the storyline. I finished the book with a bounce in my step and in a festive spirit for the holidays to come. 5/5 stars Thank you NG and William Morrow and Custom House for this wonderful arc and in return I am submitting my unbiased and voluntary review and opinion. I am posting this review to my GR and Bookbub accounts immediately and will post it to my Amazon, Instagram, and B&N accounts upon publication.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Janelle

    Just the perfect book for this Christmas! It's a sweet romance set in an ageing condo community in Chicago. The cast of characters are so endearing and funny - I would love to live in that condo! Meg leaves her fashionista world in NYC to move back to Chicago to manage the condo after her father passes away - basically leaving her an orphan alone during the holidays....however, she soon finds family in the building occupants. Determined to save the crumbling condo, she sets out to win a dress de Just the perfect book for this Christmas! It's a sweet romance set in an ageing condo community in Chicago. The cast of characters are so endearing and funny - I would love to live in that condo! Meg leaves her fashionista world in NYC to move back to Chicago to manage the condo after her father passes away - basically leaving her an orphan alone during the holidays....however, she soon finds family in the building occupants. Determined to save the crumbling condo, she sets out to win a dress design competition - and along the way, finds the perfect Christmas dress for inspiration. There is a touch of magic in the old dress and it's story is so sweet. Thank you to NetGalley, the author and publisher for a temporary, digital ARC in return for my review.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Kendra Choy

    Meg is trying to live the life of her dreams in NYC as a fashion designer until the day she gets a phone call telling her her father is dead and has left her a run down apartment building/retirement home in Chicago. So she leaves everything behind to go to Chicago and fight her demons. She despises the building as it contains nothing but memories of loss and pain for her from her childhood and is basically a money pit with everything run down and breaking. With the help of some of the residents Meg is trying to live the life of her dreams in NYC as a fashion designer until the day she gets a phone call telling her her father is dead and has left her a run down apartment building/retirement home in Chicago. So she leaves everything behind to go to Chicago and fight her demons. She despises the building as it contains nothing but memories of loss and pain for her from her childhood and is basically a money pit with everything run down and breaking. With the help of some of the residents and a dress from a different era that she finds, she begins to shift her life into restoration of the building all while still trying to chase her dreams of becoming a fashion designer. This was my first book by Courtney Cole and while I wouldn't say that I didn't like it, it left something to be desired for me. It definetely read like a Hallmark movie, which, eh, are not my favorite. I had a hard time with the development of most of the characters. Meg seemed very spoiled and whiny and honestly helpless even for the most simple of tasks. Logan was sweet but kind of came out of nowhere and then all of a sudden was one of the main characters in the book. The only characters I really enjoyed were the residents, Ellie and Sylvie, but I felt like their stories got passed over a little bit too much. Then the book wrapped up all of Meg's problems with a neat and tidy bow in the span of 2 chapters. Was it a feel good book? Yes. Did it have some sweet moments? Most definetely but it was lacking in places as well. Thank you to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC in exchange for my review and honest opinion.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Luanne Ollivier

    Yes, more Christmas reading! This latest - The Christmas Dress - is new from Courtney Cole. I love watching Christmas movies in the run up to the actual day - it's my not so secret vice. I can absolutely see The Christmas Dress as a movie! Meg Julliard had dreams of making it in the New York fashion world. But, she's lost her job.....and her beloved father. She returns to Chicago and the apartment building he owned. Maybe she can sell it and use the money to set up her own label? Box 1 ticked. But Yes, more Christmas reading! This latest - The Christmas Dress - is new from Courtney Cole. I love watching Christmas movies in the run up to the actual day - it's my not so secret vice. I can absolutely see The Christmas Dress as a movie! Meg Julliard had dreams of making it in the New York fashion world. But, she's lost her job.....and her beloved father. She returns to Chicago and the apartment building he owned. Maybe she can sell it and use the money to set up her own label? Box 1 ticked. But the building is old (as are the residents) and desperately needs lots of repairs. The handyman isn't old though - he's her age - and very attractive. Box 2 ticked. The residents are a delightfully quirky crew. Box 3 ticked. Meg quickly makes friends with Ellie, who is clearing out her possessions for an impending move. One dress captures Meg's attention. Its beautifully cut and sewn. The dress will figure prominently in this tale. You could say its almost magical. Cue Box 4. Meg and the residents are determined to save their home and come up with some novel ideas. But will they work? The countdown is on and fingers are crossed. Box 5. I quite liked the setting - the apartment building has lots of history. And setting the book's pinnacle moments around Christmas is perfect. Box 6. There's heartache, heartstrings tugged, hope, friendship, love, loss and more. And you just know everything's going to work out in the end. Perfect seasonal reading. I quite liked it. Tick, tick, tick. Best read underneath a cozy throw with a mug of cocoa.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book was so cute and had all the fun holiday goodwill I love! Meg Julliard is in fashion in NY but after her father's death she has to return to Chicago to take care of the building he owned that is now hers. The building needs so much help. But there is a hottie handyman that helped out her Dad and is kind to all the retiree tenants. She is trying to find a way to keep the building from falling apart and keep the tenants there. Surprisingly, they find out this building has an interesting his This book was so cute and had all the fun holiday goodwill I love! Meg Julliard is in fashion in NY but after her father's death she has to return to Chicago to take care of the building he owned that is now hers. The building needs so much help. But there is a hottie handyman that helped out her Dad and is kind to all the retiree tenants. She is trying to find a way to keep the building from falling apart and keep the tenants there. Surprisingly, they find out this building has an interesting history and might be saved as a historical building. All the while there is a dress that was shared by a tenant named Ellie with a one that got a way story. She gives this beautiful dress to her hoping she will make good memories with it since she thinks it's magical. I just loved Ellie's love story as well as Meg's.  They were so sweet. Meg had a lot of decisions to make and needed to learn to trust. Ellie ran away when she was young and wanted Meg to learn from her mistakes. I would love to see some classic 1930s-40s dresses of great quality being mass produced for evening wear instead of disposable few time wear clothes, no offense. (I break things easily, if you ever need anyone to test durability send it to me, I unreasonably break things, esp when I'm careful) I can't wait for the holidays and the crisp air, Sylvie's Christmas sweaters and hot cocoa. I hope to find a magic dress this holiday season. Do you believe in holiday magic? Rating ⭐⭐⭐⭐💫 Thank you williammorrowbooks and netgalley for the e-ARC for my honest and voluntary review.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Michelle

    Oh I loved this! Christmas, a love story and fashion? What’s not to love? Meg inherits an apartment building when her dad dies. She hasn’t been home to Chicago in many years. She’s been living in New York, working hard to achieve her dreams of being a clothing designer. Her dad understood that it was painful for her to come home. Her sister died when they were very young and her mother died too. Her dad’s house felt like a shrine to the ones she lost. Now her dad is gone too and Meg feels alone in Oh I loved this! Christmas, a love story and fashion? What’s not to love? Meg inherits an apartment building when her dad dies. She hasn’t been home to Chicago in many years. She’s been living in New York, working hard to achieve her dreams of being a clothing designer. Her dad understood that it was painful for her to come home. Her sister died when they were very young and her mother died too. Her dad’s house felt like a shrine to the ones she lost. Now her dad is gone too and Meg feels alone in the world. But the residents of the apartment quickly take her in and show her the love they showed her father. She meets Ellie, who gives her the most beautiful vintage dress. Ellie’s life changed the night she wore it, decades ago and she tells Meg her story of a lost love. She gives the dress to Meg and makes her promise to wear it before the year ends, it’s almost Christmas time. Ellie thinks maybe Meg will wear it to the apartment’s Christmas party. But she has no idea that huge impact that dress will make on Meg’s life, her career and the future of the apartment itself. If that’s not enough, how about two beautiful love stories? One for Meg, involving a handsome, caring man who is working on repairs of the apartment. He even brings her a kitten, if we didn’t love him enough already. I was a bit irritated with one of the characters named Sylvie for awhile, but rest assured that she changes quickly. She’s not sure whether she can trust Meg at first. This book also has lots of Christmas magic. I got to read an early ebook edition from NetGalley, thank you!

  13. 5 out of 5

    ShanKL (ShopCoffeeKids - Instagram)

    The Christmas Dress is the joyful read we all need this Holiday season. This is an uplifting tale of one women’s inheritance of a historic residential building in downtown Chicago and how she unearths its rich history to save not only herself but her neighbors in the building. Meghan, distraught over the loss of her father, returns to Chicago, leaving NYC’s fashion scene to become a super of a multi-floored residential complex that is literally crumbling around her. Armed with a hunky handy man The Christmas Dress is the joyful read we all need this Holiday season. This is an uplifting tale of one women’s inheritance of a historic residential building in downtown Chicago and how she unearths its rich history to save not only herself but her neighbors in the building. Meghan, distraught over the loss of her father, returns to Chicago, leaving NYC’s fashion scene to become a super of a multi-floored residential complex that is literally crumbling around her. Armed with a hunky handy man and some pretty great elderly residents, Meghan begins the process to salvage the building to its original glory. A time when gangsters and prohibition tore through Chicago, creating speakeasy’s in secret locations like the basement of this building. Along the way she also befriends a resident who’s heart was broken in the ballroom and a dress that has a story to tell. A tale that will ignite a dream and bring joy some 50+ years later. Meghan also opens her heart to love and trust with the building’s sexy, handyman. I love how the residents swoon over him throughout the story. The Christmas Dress deals with heartbreak, hope, friendship, love, grief and finding the holiday spirit. This is the perfect seasonal read to warm your heart in a winter wonderland. The Christmas Dress - AVAILABLE NOW - @courtneycolewrites Thank you @williammorrowbooks and @customhousebooks for the complimentary copy of this novel. @netgalley

  14. 5 out of 5

    Penny Leidecker

    Meg returns to Chicago to manage her late father’s apartment building, after his death. All the residents need Meg’s attention for one reason or another. Ellie, one of the residents, is preparing to move into a nursing home, so she’s missing her Christmas spirit, just as Meg is. One dress in Ellie’s apartment represents the best and worst night of her life, so she’s hesitated to pack it away. As Meg and Ellie form a bond and spend time together, Ellie’s story about the dress comes out. You may w Meg returns to Chicago to manage her late father’s apartment building, after his death. All the residents need Meg’s attention for one reason or another. Ellie, one of the residents, is preparing to move into a nursing home, so she’s missing her Christmas spirit, just as Meg is. One dress in Ellie’s apartment represents the best and worst night of her life, so she’s hesitated to pack it away. As Meg and Ellie form a bond and spend time together, Ellie’s story about the dress comes out. You may want to have some tissues for this part. She gives Meg the dress on the condition that she’ll wear to the building’s Christmas party. Oh, I can’t forget to mention the amazing handyman, Logan, Meg’s new love interest. This is the first book I’ve read by Courtney Cole and what a read it was. She took me on a roller coaster ride. This book will have you experiencing the character’s heartaches, their hopes and dreams, their loves, their losses, and their friendships. No spoilers, so grab your copy and see what happens in this fantastic Christmas time read. I highly recommend this book to everyone. I received an advanced reader copy of this book from NetGalley and this is my voluntary and honest review.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Stacy

    If you only pick up one holiday-themed book this year, make it The Christmas Dress. Although it is undoubtedly a story that will warm your heart, no matter the season! The story centers around Meg, who just lost her father unexpectedly and inherits the building he owned. It's not in great shape and she's quickly over her head. She can't do this alone and gets help from some pretty incredible tenants. I consider a book 5 stars if it moves me to tears or I don't want to put it down. With that said, If you only pick up one holiday-themed book this year, make it The Christmas Dress. Although it is undoubtedly a story that will warm your heart, no matter the season! The story centers around Meg, who just lost her father unexpectedly and inherits the building he owned. It's not in great shape and she's quickly over her head. She can't do this alone and gets help from some pretty incredible tenants. I consider a book 5 stars if it moves me to tears or I don't want to put it down. With that said, I should be giving The Christmas Dress 40 stars! This gave me all the feels and I didn't want it to end. The beauty in this story lies in the characters, the romance, the friendships, the season...I could go on and on. But I especially loved that this book is not all peaks, there are real valleys here--and it made for such an authentic, heartwarming story. Can't recommend this one enough! Thank you to NetGalley, Avon Books and William Morrow for an advanced copy of this and the opportunity to share my honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Denice Langley

    An absolutely wonderful, feel good book. It seems as if the world is conspiring to make Meg Julliard's life miserable. Her father dies, leaving her an apartment building that has seen better days. The tenants are all senior citizens who are desperately needy and demand her attention. Looking at her life, there is no way she can follow any of her dreams. The tenants are all characters, they've lived their best lives and are just trying to keep from wasting away. As we watch, Meg will learn so muc An absolutely wonderful, feel good book. It seems as if the world is conspiring to make Meg Julliard's life miserable. Her father dies, leaving her an apartment building that has seen better days. The tenants are all senior citizens who are desperately needy and demand her attention. Looking at her life, there is no way she can follow any of her dreams. The tenants are all characters, they've lived their best lives and are just trying to keep from wasting away. As we watch, Meg will learn so much about life from them. The Christmas Dress is gifted to Meg by one of the tenants, she wants Meg to feel beautiful and the dress does its' magic. There is no limit to magic, share it with everyone and it will multiply. Guaranteed to make you feel good!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lauren

    Meg is pursuing her dream of working in fashion in New York. When her father dies, she is left with no family and with an inheritance of a deteriorating apartment building of elderly residents. It's a really tough start to a story and a reminder that the holidays can be a very sad and lonely time. The novel is told entirely in the present but with pictures and stories about a dress that has been worn by multiple women over the decades. The dress is a timeless classic with some sort of magic that Meg is pursuing her dream of working in fashion in New York. When her father dies, she is left with no family and with an inheritance of a deteriorating apartment building of elderly residents. It's a really tough start to a story and a reminder that the holidays can be a very sad and lonely time. The novel is told entirely in the present but with pictures and stories about a dress that has been worn by multiple women over the decades. The dress is a timeless classic with some sort of magic that makes it look good on a variety of women. And the building has a similarly rich history. Both feel like really important symbols throughout the story. This is a story of grief and resilience, of dreams, and of love. It's not your typical, light Christmas romance. It's an emotional and very moving story. I really loved reading it and couldn't put it down. Thank you to William Morrow, Avon and NetGalley for the advanced reader copy. These opinions are my own. TW: heart disease, childhood cancer 4.5 stars rounded up

  18. 5 out of 5

    Pat

    A very charming Christmas story, with a little magic along the way. The characters are wonderful, the descriptions of the surroundings and Chicago paint a lovely picture of the holidays in a big city. Really enjoyed this story.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Holly Isaacson

    This was really probably more of a 3.5. I rounded up. I did enjoy the story quite a bit. It was sweet, but maybe a little too much saccharin. Everything was wrapped up in an adorable little Christmas bow. If you like books like that, you're in for a treat with this one. It has a bit of Devil Wears Prada element to it. The history of the apartment building that Meghan inherits is interesting. Her relationship with Logan is just a bit too quick and unrealistic for me. Not bad, a nice holiday read, This was really probably more of a 3.5. I rounded up. I did enjoy the story quite a bit. It was sweet, but maybe a little too much saccharin. Everything was wrapped up in an adorable little Christmas bow. If you like books like that, you're in for a treat with this one. It has a bit of Devil Wears Prada element to it. The history of the apartment building that Meghan inherits is interesting. Her relationship with Logan is just a bit too quick and unrealistic for me. Not bad, a nice holiday read, but not amazing. Many thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for sharing this book with me. All thoughts are my own.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ronnie

    This is not a genre that I usually read. I'm guessing it would be women's literature? Basically, to me, it's the written equivalent of a "chick flick". That said, it was an enjoyable easy read that I finished on a lazy Sunday. Would be a great winter "beach read". It held my attention and I liked the various characters. It was somewhat predictable but then, I find most books are. My only complaint to the story was the relationship dithering near the end by the heroine. I felt it was unnecessary. This is not a genre that I usually read. I'm guessing it would be women's literature? Basically, to me, it's the written equivalent of a "chick flick". That said, it was an enjoyable easy read that I finished on a lazy Sunday. Would be a great winter "beach read". It held my attention and I liked the various characters. It was somewhat predictable but then, I find most books are. My only complaint to the story was the relationship dithering near the end by the heroine. I felt it was unnecessary. Overall, I give it 4 stars. Thanks to Netgalley for the chance to read it.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Vikki Sorensen

    Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow and Custom House for this eARC in exchange for an honest review. One Dress. Two Women. The Magic of the Holiday Season. When hopeful fashionista Meg Julliard must return to her hometown of Chicago to manage her late father’s apartment building, she thinks her dreams of making it in the fashion business are over. Add in her father’s eclectic roster of tenants who all need Meg’s attention (ASAP!), a host of building related disasters, and a handsome handyma Thank you to NetGalley and William Morrow and Custom House for this eARC in exchange for an honest review. One Dress. Two Women. The Magic of the Holiday Season. When hopeful fashionista Meg Julliard must return to her hometown of Chicago to manage her late father’s apartment building, she thinks her dreams of making it in the fashion business are over. Add in her father’s eclectic roster of tenants who all need Meg’s attention (ASAP!), a host of building related disasters, and a handsome handyman she keeps embarrassing herself in front of, and this has all the makings for the worst Christmas she’s ever had. Ellie Wade, one of the building’s longtime residents, is also not feeling the Christmas Joy this year. She is preparing to move into a nursing home (reluctantly), and is in the process of sorting through her belongings to downsize. Every corner of her apartment holds memories, some good, some bad. But there’s one dress she hesitates to pack up as it represents both the best and worst night of her life. Ellie and Meg strike up an unlikely friendship and the story of Ellie’s dress comes out. Ellie gifts the gorgeous dress to Meg, hoping that it will bring her more luck, on the condition that she wear it to the building’s Christmas party. The dress magically fits, and while it eventually leads to the best night of Meg’s life, it also acts as inspiration for Meg to follow a life-long dream of her own, a dream that will help save the crumbling Parkview West, and restore it to its former glory, and keep it as a safe home for all of the current tenants. The dress and the magic of the holiday season helps both Meg and Ellie find their own happy endings. This book was like a Hallmark Christmas movie wrapped up in a book. It has a girl who’s life is at a crossroads, a handsome boy with a past, a snarky best friend and an older woman full of wisdom. I loved every bit of this book. After losing her Dad, Meg Julliard moves into the old, dilapidated apartment full of senior citizen formerly owned by her Dad. The building needs an overhaul and of course, money is in short supply. She meets Ellie, one the residents, who gives her an old dress full of magic. A little magic plus a stubborn “concierge” and a hot handyman who likes to donate his talents and time to anything Meg needs makes for a perfect Christmas romance. One of the first things I loved about this book is the romance is just that - romance. Not sex. I’m sure this is an unpopular opinion but I don’t need a bunch of sex or steamy scenes in order to make a book romantic for me. Innuendo goes a long way for those of us more old-fashioned readers. Every single character right down to the cat was interesting. I loved each one of them! I loved their stories and how they created a family atmosphere within the building. Each one had their own stories and what I really loved was how the author touched on each story without allowing the story to lag and become inundated with details. The main character, Meg, sorta comes of age in this story. But so does the building. As Meg grows and grieves and remakes herself, the building undergoes the same, revealing some life saving history that actually probably exists in many of the older Chicago buildings downtown. It’s true there were some cheesy moments and, like any good Hallmark movie, it’s totally predictable but there were some nice surprises along the way. All in all, this was very enjoyable. A very nice Christmas read for the upcoming season.

  22. 5 out of 5

    MJLovestoRead

    The Christmas Dress is the perfect uplifting story for the holiday season. Courtney Cole takes a lighter direction in this new novel but it is no less engaging nor emotional. It's a book full of surprises and even a bit of magic as a dress seems to offer up a bit of hope and love for those who are lucky enough to wear it. With Meg Julliard having to return home to Chicago after her beloved father's sudden death, she is thrust into the job of caretaker and owner of a run-down building filled with The Christmas Dress is the perfect uplifting story for the holiday season. Courtney Cole takes a lighter direction in this new novel but it is no less engaging nor emotional. It's a book full of surprises and even a bit of magic as a dress seems to offer up a bit of hope and love for those who are lucky enough to wear it. With Meg Julliard having to return home to Chicago after her beloved father's sudden death, she is thrust into the job of caretaker and owner of a run-down building filled with elderly tenants. Right from the start, the feisty Sylvie sets the stage as Meg's seemingly uphill battle to figure out what to do with this relic of a structure is only more difficult as a bit of mistrust is tossed at her almost daily from her dad's former 'assistant'. But perhaps it's the need to prove herself, that Meg begins to take the reins, and finds herself amongst some of the most wonderful people she never even dreamed she'd have the good fortune to meet. And as she excepts help from all who inhabit this unusual residence, it was incredible to see how one small gesture eventually leads to new discoveries and a life laid out for Meg she never dreamed possible. Cole allows Meg to wax poetic a bit thinking of the memories of her and her sister growing up in the Parkview while she toils away at keeping her former and now somewhat permanent home afloat. There is a melancholy that can be felt as Meg remembers the pain regarding her family combined with some sweeter thoughts when she had all of them by her side. And now as she starts to meet and mingle with the eclectic group of tenants, it's the grand dame in Ellie who helps Meg turn things around. With a little bit of that afore-mentioned magic, their burgeoning friendship seems to truly be the catalyst to Meg finally being on the right track to not only save the Parkview from ruin but continue her dream of becoming a well-known clothes designer. With love as a subtle knock on Meg's hapless world's door, Logan Scott proves himself as just what our girl needs even when she may not have been looking for it. He's such a great character and endears himself to everyone who comes in contact with him. He gives our girl the attention and care she deserves and together with his gift of Winter, Logan becomes the man clearly made especially just for Meg. There is a certain sense of reliability in this book that had me turning the pages in a flurry because I honestly could not get enough. I read it within a day and was thoroughly enamored with each new person that was introduced while cheering Meg on to find her way through all the indecision and doubt laid at her feet. I simply had the absolute best time as the Parkview, its residents, and a certain dress seemed to cast a spell on me as well while reading this delightful story. The Christmas Dress is clearly a departure for this author but she delivers matters of the heart for everyone involved within the pages of this well-written and magnificent book beautifully. A true heartwarming read, I happily give this superb book a huge 5+ stars!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jani Brooks

    Chicago - Present Day Meghan Julliard, promising fashion designer who is now unemployed after leaving Stitch magazine, has arrived in Chicago to take over Parkview West, the condo building that her late father left her. His sudden death shocked her, and now she must face an uncertain future because the building is falling apart, its elderly residents are relying on her to fix everything, and there is no money to do anything. Plus, the self-appointed manager, resident Sylvie Reinhart, clearly disl Chicago - Present Day Meghan Julliard, promising fashion designer who is now unemployed after leaving Stitch magazine, has arrived in Chicago to take over Parkview West, the condo building that her late father left her. His sudden death shocked her, and now she must face an uncertain future because the building is falling apart, its elderly residents are relying on her to fix everything, and there is no money to do anything. Plus, the self-appointed manager, resident Sylvie Reinhart, clearly dislikes Meghan for not being here more for her father over the years. And, it's apparent that only Sylvie knows what's going on in the running of the building. What she isn't aware of is that Meg, who grew up in her parent's condo, has stayed away due to the inability to control the sad memories of, first, losing her sister to cancer, and then her mother. So, the hot water is out, the elevator is broken, and it's pretty obvious that these aren't the only things wrong with Parkview West. Sylvie breaks down and lets Meg in on what's going on, or what isn't going on, and calls in the building's handyman. Meg is expecting an old codger, but instead, a hunky young man around Meg's age appears. Logan Scott is nothing like Meg's ex-boyfriend, Drake, whom she dumped recently because he clearly isn't "the one". Logan sets to right the hot water issue, and tinkers with the electrical system to get the elevator up and running, but points out to her these are stop-gap fixes, and she needs to address them eventually. But how? Meg meets tenant, Ellie Wade, who, at the urging of her London-based daughter, is planning to move to an assisted living facility. She invites Meg in and there on the sofa is the most beautiful dress Meg has seen in ages. Ellie tells her it's a special dress that she wore only once on the happiest and saddest night of her life. The green material shimmers in the light, and Meg is thrilled when Ellie gives her the dress. Once in her condo, she tries it on and it fits as if made for her. This gives Meg an idea as she sits and sketches versions of the dress. When Logan emails her about a fashion contest set for Christmas Eve where the winner can win enough money to fix Parkview West, Meg sets her sights on winning. Ellie and Logan are helpful in that they, as well as Sylvie, know a bit of the history of the building. Fascinated, Meg, with their help, begins to work on a plan to have the Chicago Historical Society give her a grant to restore the building. Can Meg resurrect Parkview West for its tenants? And can her growing relationship with Logan be for real? What they all find in the basement of the old structure will bring back memories, good and bad. If readers want a feel-good story for the holiday season, THE CHRISTMAS DRESS can't be beat. What kind of magic does the dress possess? Can it help further Meg's career? Will it bring back memories and love for others? Don't miss this poignant, heart-warming Christmas story filled with wonderful characters and a lovely premise.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Shawna Borman

    It’s book review time. This month, I decided to step completely outside of my comfort zone and into potential Hallmark Christmas movie territory. I wanted something happy and annoyingly cutesy, so I requested The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole. It was released yesterday (October 26th) from William Morrow Paperbacks (an imprint of HarperCollins). As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it! The Christmas Dr It’s book review time. This month, I decided to step completely outside of my comfort zone and into potential Hallmark Christmas movie territory. I wanted something happy and annoyingly cutesy, so I requested The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole. It was released yesterday (October 26th) from William Morrow Paperbacks (an imprint of HarperCollins). As usual, I must thank them and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest and unbiased review. Let’s get to it! The Christmas Dress follows Meg Julliard who returns to her Chicago home after her father’s death. She leaves behind a bad ex as well as a budding fashion career in NYC to take care of a 1920s era apartment building filled with elderly residents and so many things that need to be fixed. With very little money and no idea what she’s doing, Meg thinks things are impossible. But with a little help from the residents, the hunky handyman, and a smidge of luck, things just might turn around. Sounds sickeningly sweet, doesn’t it? It is. It has everything you could ask for in a Hallmark holiday movie. Quirky best friends and random new friends, manly dudes to lust after and fall in love with, and so much drama that you know will work out perfectly. Plotwise, there are plenty of twists and turns, but none of them are unexpected. Awkward moment with the ex witnessed by the new beau? Right on cue. Drama from the new beau’s manipulative ex? Ditto! I can honestly say I’ve only read like three books in this particular genre in my life and they all have the same basic plot points. That’s not bad. It’s a really popular structure. It just leaves little to be said that hasn’t already been said. The characters are all sweet and endearing, except for the two exes. As it should be. Personally, I thought Meg was over the top dramatic, especially when it comes to Logan’s ex. Who in their right mind would decide to break up with their new boyfriend without even listening to his thoughts on drama that he had no idea was coming? And she puts her decision on him because she repeatedly says that he’s such a good guy that he’ll end up doing the “right thing” despite the fact that he’s flat out said he’s not going back to the ex for any reason. Meg’s whole value system is stuck in the 1920s along with the apartment building. It’s creepy. And she flat out refuses to listen to people who actually have experience with the manipulating so and so, which causes more drama. She only chills when her bestie does some light cyber stalking and says the bitch is crazy. That is so weird to me. Luckily, everyone else in this book is relatively sane. As far as the writing goes, it flowed nicely and made for a quick read. There were some things that made me raise an eyebrow, but I have a feeling they’re pretty standard for the genre. Like, every time Logan shows up, Meg’s ovaries tingle. I don’t know what that means. I understand it’s code for him making her horny, but my ovaries have never been the bits that tingle. It’s an hilarious phrase to run across, though. Ultimately, The Christmas Dress was exactly what I wanted it to be. Nothing more, nothing less. It was fun and corny and predictable. I won’t be looking for another one like it for a while. Overall, I gave it 4 out of five stars. Like I said, it was exactly what I wanted, but it didn’t offer anything new either. If Hallmark holiday movies are your thing, it’s definitely worth a read.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Wendy W.

    Four and a half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒ I really enjoyed The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole. It was very different than what I expected and all in a good way. This book was magical, fun, emotional, and heartwarming. I flew through the pages of this book enjoying the romance, the history, and the mystery. This book has everything. Meg Julliard returns to her father’s apartment building after his sudden death to manage and run the old building that is falling quickly into disrepair and further into debt. The Four and a half Stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭒ I really enjoyed The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole. It was very different than what I expected and all in a good way. This book was magical, fun, emotional, and heartwarming. I flew through the pages of this book enjoying the romance, the history, and the mystery. This book has everything. Meg Julliard returns to her father’s apartment building after his sudden death to manage and run the old building that is falling quickly into disrepair and further into debt. The residents of the building are all elderly and depend on the building as their only home as they face the later years of their lives. Meg’s only experience is in Fashion as she worked as a journalist for a high-powered fashion magazine in New York City. Meg feels as if her dreams of making it big as a fashion designer is over as she has to live in Chicago to manage the building her father left her. The one highlight of managing the building is the very handsome, handyman, Logan Scott who knows all the problems of the building and all the residents. Meg, Logan, and the residents of the building work together to save and upgrade the building as Meg works to find a way to save her dream of becoming a fashion designer. I enjoyed this book from cover to cover. Meg is a very sympathetic character as is her love interest Logan. They have many obstacles to overcome and I enjoyed watching them struggle to find their way to happiness. The historical significance of the old building was fun to uncover and gave the book a bit more depth and interest. The magical properties of the dress are subtle, but powerful making the story realistic and enchanting at the same time. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves a good Christmas romance. I received a complimentary copy of this book. The opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    Meghan has had to leave her job working for a top fashion magazine to take over the management of her father’s condo building called Parkview West. Now that her father has passed away, there is no one in the family left to assume responsibility. The condo has 60 tenants some of whom have lived there for many years. Her father had been very generous to them, often letting the rent go if they were having difficulties with payment. Meghan realizes that there are a number of things that need to be fi Meghan has had to leave her job working for a top fashion magazine to take over the management of her father’s condo building called Parkview West. Now that her father has passed away, there is no one in the family left to assume responsibility. The condo has 60 tenants some of whom have lived there for many years. Her father had been very generous to them, often letting the rent go if they were having difficulties with payment. Meghan realizes that there are a number of things that need to be fixed. She calls upon Logan, the handyman who knows the building well and is able to fix a lot of things. He also knows that there are many things that need replacing and that they won’t be cheap. Meghan dives in and gets to know the tenants and begins to address the things that need immediate attention. As it is Christmas time, she wants to make things as festive as possible. One tenant, Ellie, at the request of her daughter, is preparing to move into an assisted living facility. She and Meghan become close and Ellie gives her Christmas decorations for the lobby. In addition, Ellie gives her a beautiful dress perfect for Christmas. She insists that she keep it and hopefully wear it for Christmas. Meghan learns that the building once had a speakeasy during Prohibition called the Red Alibi which was probably bricked up. Meghan hopes to locate it and get funding to designate it a historical landmark. As Meghan and Logan work closely together a friendship develops that begins to turn to love. All of the characters in the book are delightful and the story is so charming that I know readers will love it. I certainly did. Don’t miss this wonderful story! Copy provided by the NetGalley in exchange for a fair and honest review.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Robin

    2.75/5⭐️ Judging from other reviews I’ll be in the minority here. The premise of this book is good, and I had high hopes based on that, but unfortunately it didn’t deliver for me. Meg is a 30-year-old making her way into the fashion design world in NYC when her dad dies suddenly, leaving her the Chicago retirement home (housed in an historic building) that he’s owned since Meg was a young girl. She’s all that’s left of her family and has sad memories of her old home as she lost her mom and sister 2.75/5⭐️ Judging from other reviews I’ll be in the minority here. The premise of this book is good, and I had high hopes based on that, but unfortunately it didn’t deliver for me. Meg is a 30-year-old making her way into the fashion design world in NYC when her dad dies suddenly, leaving her the Chicago retirement home (housed in an historic building) that he’s owned since Meg was a young girl. She’s all that’s left of her family and has sad memories of her old home as she lost her mom and sister while living there and hasn’t been back since her sister died. The building is falling apart, but she falls in love with the residents (especially feisty Sylvie, her helpmate and Ellie, a former attorney with a sad romantic past) and decides to try and secure a grant for restoration as well as win a $300,000 design contest in NYC. Oh, and she also falls for the building’s handyman, Logan. All of this sounds great. But the characters felt underdeveloped and too-good-to-be-true, Meg struck me as too immature for her age and never seemed to be able to handle anything on her own (Logan was constantly called for the over-the-top building calamities that seemed to take place every 5 minutes and even for a runaway rat), and the wrap up gave me whiplash. The three main conflicts (trouble with Logan’s ex, getting the grant and winning the contest) all ended happily within 24 hours. So while again the premise was good, the development of the characters and the plot just wasn’t there for me. My thanks to #NetGalley and #WilliamMorrow for providing me the free early arc for review. The opinions are strictly my own.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sally Mander

    5 stars, An enchanting dress THE CHRISTMAS DRESS by COURTNEY COLE Publisher WILLIAM MORROW and CUSTOM HOUSE An enchanting dress is what it takes to bring two women together as fast friends and create the dream of a lifetime. Meg Julliard leaves her unfulfilling job in the fashion industry in New York, to come home to Chicago to settle her father's affairs and take over the management of her late father's apartment building, Parkview West. She finds the crumbling building and all of the tenants are ov 5 stars, An enchanting dress THE CHRISTMAS DRESS by COURTNEY COLE Publisher WILLIAM MORROW and CUSTOM HOUSE An enchanting dress is what it takes to bring two women together as fast friends and create the dream of a lifetime. Meg Julliard leaves her unfulfilling job in the fashion industry in New York, to come home to Chicago to settle her father's affairs and take over the management of her late father's apartment building, Parkview West. She finds the crumbling building and all of the tenants are overwhelming and endearing. Now, if they will only give her a chance to improve everything. Logan is Mr. Fixit for Parkview West. He likes the old building and wants to help to keep it in a good state of repair. Then another tenant gives Meg a beautiful Christmas dress and it fits her, she is amazed. Join Meg, Logan, and the other tenants to find out the amazing history behind Parkview West and the amazing Christmas dress. Highly recommend. Much appreciation to @WmMorrowBooks @williammorrowbooks @customhousebks @customhousebooks #netgalley @netgalley for the complimentary copy of #TheChristmasDress I was under no obligation to post a review.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kelly

    The Christmas Dress has no great pretensions of being the great literary novel, which is more than fine, because it is no less than an absolutely wonderful, feel-good Christmas story that's worth reading any time of the year. Cole does a wonderful job of incorporating adversity into this story - main character Meg leaves a mean, demanding boss and an ex-boyfriend that didn't understand her in New York City to take over management of an apartment building her father left her when he passed away u The Christmas Dress has no great pretensions of being the great literary novel, which is more than fine, because it is no less than an absolutely wonderful, feel-good Christmas story that's worth reading any time of the year. Cole does a wonderful job of incorporating adversity into this story - main character Meg leaves a mean, demanding boss and an ex-boyfriend that didn't understand her in New York City to take over management of an apartment building her father left her when he passed away unexpectedly. Meg, already feeling her fashion career slipping away, gets off to a rough start and the building seems to be falling apart around her. But a handyman with a heart of gold and a community that wants to see her succeed begins to make her believe that even if she no longer has a biological family of her own, she does have one in the community around her. A tenant's dress further inspires her that her career in fashion may not be over after all, and that she can save it and the building and create a happily ever after not just for herself but for the people she's beginning to consider her found family. This is just a wonderful, happy story that have me all the warm fuzzies.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Blodeuedd Finland

    A magical dress that fits everyone, and that still looks great decades later. More women's fiction than romance. Meg inherits a building that is crumbling. People are upset when she does show up, cos hello, things to fix. But Meg is the sweetest, nicest person ever ( I would just have sold that money pit at once.) She tries to help, to fix, and to figure out what to do with her life. She is also very self sacrificing. She meets this great guy, but is ready to give him up because she thinks she kno A magical dress that fits everyone, and that still looks great decades later. More women's fiction than romance. Meg inherits a building that is crumbling. People are upset when she does show up, cos hello, things to fix. But Meg is the sweetest, nicest person ever ( I would just have sold that money pit at once.) She tries to help, to fix, and to figure out what to do with her life. She is also very self sacrificing. She meets this great guy, but is ready to give him up because she thinks she knows best (she does not). She broke up with someone (he was not for her), and she seems very cool with her best friend seconds later asking if she can date him. Wait until the body is cold. That feels like a really strange friendship. But yes Meg is really nice, she would be the best friend anyone could have. A little sidestory about the dress and its previous owner, Ellie is in here too. But is mostly about saving this building, falling for someone (not a romance book though.) And meeting a new family. A nice little Christmas book. Good narration, and good voices for the whole cast.

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