Book Review – Dictatorship of the Dress By Jessica Topper


Book Cover – Dictatorship of the Dress (Pic of Woman in Wedding Dress Holding Roses)

A mere misunderstanding is perpetuated during a flight to Hawaii, each white lie turning into another. Laney Hudson must take her mother’s wedding dress to Hawaii, a job she doesn’t want, but can’t say no to. Everyone assumes the dress belongs to her, and since she’s offered an upgrade to First Class as a wedding present, she doesn’t argue.

Although Laney is the wild-child, she’s also quite intimidated by her mother. A gifted cartoonist, she even agreed to quit her job at Marvel comics for the safe and stable job of drawing illustrations for her mother’s greeting card business. As Laney waits for her flight, she’s intrigued by a man who is plugged into multiple electronic devices, occupying all nearby outlets. She passes the time drawing his caricature and nick-names him Tech Boy.

Boarding in First Class, Laney is shocked when she’s seated next to Tech-Boy. She chalks it up to Karma, paying her back for drawing a cartoon of him, and for lying about the wedding dress. Sitting next to him is a comedy of errors. He introduces himself as Noah Ridgewood and perfectly pulls off the obnoxious rich-boy routine. At one point, Laney thinks he just might be flirting, but then dismisses that ludicrous thought when he returns to being arrogantly annoying. As much as Laney lives life on the fly, Noah is just the opposite – constantly governed by a strict schedule and multiple spreadsheets. While Laney has trouble meeting the expectations of her family, Noah is the perfect overachiever, always fulfilling the desires of others and never himself. They are both quite relieved when the flight to Chicago is almost over and they can go their separate ways.

Unfortunately, Karma strikes again. Laney and Noah’s connecting flights are both grounded by a snowstorm in Chicago and they end up at the same hotel. At check-in, they find the only available room is the honeymoon suite, which is oddly already reserved in their names, as the newlyweds. With cold feet and nowhere else to go, Laney can’t bring herself to correct the mistake. Again. You must be the bride and groom is the recurring mantra of their trip.

Will the weekend spent with Noah reveal how much they have in common, or will a misunderstanding and heavy baggage cause them to lose sight of what each really wants from life?

As Noah finally flies to his bachelor party in Las Vegas, and Laney arrives in Hawaii with her mother’s dress, each must decide how much they will risk for happiness.

Written in a unique voice laced with humor, passion, and the desire to be loved, Topper’s story of a misunderstanding snowballing under its own momentum made me laugh at the irony of Laney and Noah’s predicament and feel the pain of a woman underestimating her own worthiness. Reading Dictatorship of the Dress, I was entwined in the comedy of errors knit from nuptial assumptions and rooting for the friendship and love created between two polar-opposite strangers. Laney and Noah teach us that we are all worthy of love, and we might just find it in the most unusual of circumstances.

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