Saturday, December 19, 2015

FALL READING CHALLENGE: The Black Velvet Coat by Jill G. Hall

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Course Title: Exploratory Studies
Department: Women’s Fiction
Course Date: November 16
Description: Travel across the country and through time with The Black Velvet Coat and discover the commonalities in two women’s lives.

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Synopsis: Twenty-eight-year-old struggling San Francisco artist Anne McFarland is determined to get a one-woman show, even though no one, including herself, believes she can do it. But when she buys a coat at a thrift shop with a key in its pocket, strange, even magical, occurrences begin to unfold, and she is inspired to create her best work ever. Fifty years before, the coat’s original owner, young heiress Sylvia Van Dam, is headed toward a disastrous marriage with a scoundrel. In a split-second reaction, she does the unimaginable, which propels her destiny out of alignment and forces her on a trip of self-discovery to nature-filled Northern Arizona. When Anne and Sylvia’s lives intersect, they are both forced to face their fears―and in the process, they realize their true potential. 

Review: I've been wanting to read this one since the first time I read the synopsis for it, and I'm happy to say that it was well worth the wait. 

Throughout the book, we are treated to alternating points of view....present day, we follow Anne, while in the 60s we meet Sylvia.  We learn a great deal about these two women (who seem polar opposites at first but are much more alike than you might imagine) and watch them mature and gain confidence as they face the various challenges in their lives.

Both stories are very well told, and all of the main characters are well defined and realistic. I alternated between wanting to shake the two main characters and wanting to hug them. When their stories eventually join, it is wondrous....and that section of the book is my favorite by far.

Ms. Hall has written a most amazing debut novel, and I can't wait to see what she offers us next.

**I received a copy of this book from BookSparks in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.**

Rating: Four stars

About the author
 photo jillheadshot1_zpsjo6nrzaw.jpg Jill G. Hall facilitates creativity groups for artists of all types and curates exhibitions at Inspirations Gallery, NTC at Liberty Station. Her poems have been published in A Year in Ink, Wild Women, Wild Voices, City Works Press, Serving House Journal, and The Avocet. She resides in San Diego with her husband, Jerry, and beagle-basset, Lucy.

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