Review: Dictatorship of the Dress by Jessica Topper


Title: Dictatorship of the Dress (Much "I Do" About Nothing #1)
Author: Jessica Topper
Date of publication: 6 Jan 2015
Genre/themes: Contemporary Romance

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My rating: 4 stars


As the dress-bearer for her mother’s wedding, comic book artist Laney Hudson has a lot more baggage than the bulky garment bag she’s lugging from New York to Hawaii. Laney is determined to prove she’s capable of doing something right, but running chores for her mom’s fairytale nuptials is proving to be a painfully constant reminder of her own lost love.

So when she’s mistaken for the bride and bumped up to first class, Laney figures some stress-free luxury is worth a harmless white lie. Until the flight crew thinks that the man sitting next to her is Laney’s groom, and her little fib turns into a hot mess.

The last thing Noah Ridgewood needs is some dress-obsessed diva landing in his first-class row. En route to his Vegas bachelor party, the straight-laced software designer knows his cold feet have nothing to do with the winter weather.

When a severe storm leaves them grounded in Chicago and they find themselves booked into the last available honeymoon suite, Laney and her in-flight neighbor have little choice but to get better acquainted. Now, as her bridal mission hangs in the balance, perhaps the thing Laney gets right is a second chance at love.


I really enjoyed this book though it turned out to be different from what I expected. Based on the cover I thought it would be a light romantic comedy and while it had its funny times, it was much more serious and thought-provoking. It's not dark or depressing, but there is some sense of sadness, a lot of regret and a wonderful HEA.

I really enjoyed Ms Topper's debut novel, Louder Than Love (my review) and I can see some similarities in the writing here. It's a complex story with well developed characters who undergo profound changes in their lives - real people with real problem, easy to relate to and understand the decisions they make.

On the surface this story shouldn't work for me, he is engaged, they meet under extreme circumstances and are forced to share a room/space, fall in love in matter of 2 days, turn their lives around, still I'm surprised how much I enjoyed it. Ms Topper has given both the characters and their romance some depth and authenticity which made them very appealing. 

Laney is lost, grieving, insecure, a quitter. Noah seems her polar opposite - he is in control of his life, knows who he is and where he is going. As it turns this is pretty much an illusion, a lie he keeps telling himself.

There is subplot, the story of Laney and Allen, which I found very moving and emotional. We see just bits and pieces but they are enough to create a powerful vision of their romance which I absolute loved.

The story goes between present and past and this is where I had some issues. It was confusing, the transitions between Laney's memories and her present day situation were too abrupt sometimes and I needed time to figure out who is talking and when the said events are taking place.

Another weakness for me was the way things with Noah's fiance were handled. The problems there were resolved too neatly and everybody got their HEA, which took away from the realistic aspect of the story. 

I'm already excied about the next book in the series coming in the summer of 2015. It's be about Laney's best friend, Dani, and to my surprise not Noah's army buddy Ben. Ms Topper keeps twisting my expectations with this series! I recommended this read if you are looking for a contemporary romance with a touch of humour, some sadness and nostalgia but ultimately with a lot of passion, love and hope for the future.

 Pre-order links: Amazon / / iBooks / Kobo / Penguin

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