Alissa Reviews: The Fashion Orphans by Randy Susan Meyers and M.J. Rose

The Fashion Orphans by Randy Susan Meyers and M.J. Rose [This book is so new no libraries own it yet. Please check back here to see about future availablity]

In this novel by co-authors Randy Susan Meyers and M.J. Rose, estranged sisters Gabrielle and Lulu find themselves thrown together to solve some mysteries around their late mother’s will. Elder sister Gabrielle was raised in Manhattan’s wealthy Upper East Side, while her younger half-sister Lulu was raised mostly by her working-class Brooklyn grandparents. On top of losing their mother Bette, both sisters are recovering from devastating losses; Gabrielle’s husband has recently left her and Lulu is a young widow. Gabrielle and Lulu are shocked when they attend the reading of their mother’s will, and instead of the inheritance that they both expect, they find that they have inherited a puzzle that needs to be solved.

Bette was not a warm, caring mother and both Gabrielle and Lulu have deep resentment towards her. Bette was always dressed impeccably and tried her hardest to impress the importance of high-quality designers upon Gabrielle and Lulu. The sisters are completely unprepared, however, to discover that Bette had a secret closet that is full of high-end designer clothes, bags, shoes and accessories, mostly by Chanel. They are instructed by Bette’s lawyer to work together to figure out what to do with this collection of designer goods. Both Gabrielle and Lulu are trying to get back on their feet financially, and are not happy when they learn that Bette’s will will not allow them to sell this valuable collection.

As Gabrielle and Lulu sort through the collection and catalog each item, they find some hidden messages from Bette. These unexpected messages from their distant, controlling mother make the sister take pause, and they slowly realize that they need to work together and might be able to regain some of the closeness they had as children. Gabrielle and Lulu also get to know some of Bette’s friends, who come together to support the sisters and give them a new perspective on who Bette was, and the sides of her that her daughters never got to see.

This book is about sisterhood and family, and illustrates the strength that women can offer to one another. The story explores the bonds of friendship and obligation to families. This novel gives a fun window into the world of high-fashion,and touches on how women have used fashion to fight for their independence throughout history.