• The Christmas Dress

  • A Novel
  • By: Courtney Cole
  • Narrated by: Bailey Carr
  • Length: 8 hrs and 23 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (75 ratings)

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The Christmas Dress  By  cover art

The Christmas Dress

By: Courtney Cole
Narrated by: Bailey Carr
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Publisher's Summary

An enchanted Christmas dress brings two generations of women together for the magic of the season in this delightful holiday story from New York Times best-selling 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 lifelong dream of her own, a dream that will help save the crumbling Parkview West and restore it to its former glory, keeping it as a safe home for all of the current tenants. 

The dress and the magic of the holiday season help both Meg and Ellie find their own happy endings. 

©2021 Courtney Cole (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: Romance

What listeners say about The Christmas Dress

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A Christmas must

This book is so good and beautiful! It is definitely a Christmas must book to listen to!

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Fluff

Not my kind of story…predictable, fluffy romance, stock characters. And please ! Why did the author frequently have the heroine swooning over the hunky handyman and feeling a “tingle in my ovaries” ?!?! Double cringe 😬

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beautiful

This was a Hallmark worthy love story. The Bailey Carr did a good job taking the reader to the story. Listening to her voice made this story come alive. I gave the performance 4/5 because there was one particular character whose voice I felt could have been performed differently.
For anyone looking for a cozy romance, this story is worth the time.

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An enjoyable Christmas story

3.5 stars

I am conflicted about my rating for The Christmas Dress by Courtney Cole, and here’s why...

I want to avoid spoilers, so I will just say that there is a specific plot line about the historic apartment building that Meg Julliard inherits that I found very interesting. I would have loved for that narrative to be an even larger part of the story with perhaps some greater suspense woven in, but this is a romance not a mystery, so I will just applaud Ms. Cole for twining that bit of history into a Christmas romance.

There are many plot lines in this story, which is perhaps why after 347 pages I still didn’t feel very connected to the characters. Meg is understandably saddened after the death of her father leaves her with no family, but she spends too much time moping for someone with a building to repair and run and a design contest to prepare for. Two residents in the building were also featured, and while Ellie’s history was shared, Sylvie’s life remained mostly unknown, despite her frequent inclusion in the story.

There is a scene at 30% into the book where Meg removes a dress (“I take off the dress, hanging it back on the closet door.”), only to remove it again several paragraphs later (“I think on that as I carefully step out of the dress, hang it up, and put my robe on.”) It’s a simple editing mistake, but it grates.

The epilogue was similarly disconcerting for me. After an entire book told in first person from Meg’s perspective, the epilogue is told from Ellie’s point of view. It would have worked better to tell the entire story in third person instead, as the sudden switch was distracting and confusing.

The ending was too tidy, even for me. Like most readers I don’t like loose ends, but the resolution for Ellie was a bit of a stretch, and the journey of the Christmas dress unbelievable.

Bailey Carr does a good job narrating the various female characters in the audiobook, but the male characters sound pretty awful.

Despite my complaints, I did enjoy The Christmas Dress. There was humor throughout, the imagery of the historic building was enjoyable, and the development of Sylvie’s character from brusque to whimsical and warm-hearted was delightful. The ending is a happy one for all of the characters you care about, including the building itself.