Nine Women, One Dress, Jane L Rosen’s novel of contemporary life in New York City ties nine women together by their experience wearing The Dress. You know The Dress, the one everyone wants, the dress that makes every woman look good and feel her best.
Four of the women find love because of the dress; one finds her dream job; one discovers her life isn’t what she wants; one discovers her future as a Broadway star; one escapes failure and one finds death. The novel is unusual in that it tells seven of the stories from the viewpoint of the men who fall for the girl in The Dress or those involved in its creation or sale Only two of the women narrate their own story, Andie the private detective and Sophie Stiner the wannabe.
Nine Women, One Dress is a fast read. Author Rosen creates a fast pace by showing us snippets of each relationship in quick vignettes, then moves on to the next one, then circles back. Even with the multiple characters and points of view the novel is easy to follow and the chapter headings help keep each story clear as we cycle through.
The book was funny. I smiled most of the way through, especially with Sophie and her wannabe approach to life and the Diva’s Mancubine. The two Muslim girls and the final owner of the dress didn’t have such happy outcomes.
I liked the people in the novel. Felicia, the older secretary in love with her boss, and the actor Jeremy Madison are the most interesting and Rosen spends the most time on their stories. But the characters I liked the best were Morris Siegal, the pattern maker responsible for The Dress and his grandson Luke. Rosen tells their stories with great economy but I felt like I would recognize them in a crowd.
Rosen did a very good job coming up with characters that felt real and having their lives touched and changed by one little black dress. The only character and romance that felt off to me was Andie’s as I think it improbable that so many lies could turn out so happily.
One of the blurbs described Nine Women, One Dress as chick-lit. That’s unfair. Rosen deftly uses multiple points of view and interesting people – not all of whom are looking for romance – to write a novel that is about people. Men might not quite get The Dress the way we ladies do. Any of us who hunt hours for just the right outfit instantly understands the appeal of the perfect little black dress.