I am delighted to be kicking off the blog tour today for Laurel Remington’s latest book, ‘The Polka Dot Shop.’ Laurel has a flair for writing heart-warming, funny stories that capture brilliantly the ups and downs of family life. Andy’s life feels officially over when her school announces a new no-uniform policy. While she is desperate to look and dress like everyone else she knows she will be forced to wear dreadful cast offs from her Mum’s vintage boutique and when the ‘fashion police’ see what she’s wearing she’ll never live it down. Fast forward two years and she’s confined to the outskirts of friendship groups and her problems have grown bigger than having terrible fashion sense. Her Mum is becoming increasingly distant and the vintage shop is under threat and all Andy can focus on is finding a way to dress so she can fit in. A chance find of a bag full of designer clothes in the shop, changes everything. Will Andy uses this to make her dreams come to true or can she find a way to help her Mum and transform the shop? Delightful in every way, ‘The Polka Dot Shop,’ totally charmed me with it’s winning formula of friendship, family with just enough of a sprinkling of romance to leave you with a warm glow inside.
Inspiration behind The Polka Dot Shop – Laurel Remington
When I was a girl, we had a box of old clothing in the garage. I don’t even know who it all belonged to – my mother and various grandmas, I suppose – but once something found its way to the box, it was mine.
I remember playing dressing-up with friends from the street or on my own. We used to put on shows – singing songs from musicals, using the dressing up box clothing as costumes. It was fun being someone else, wearing things that might suit me someday, but right now, didn’t quite fit. Wondering where they’d last been worn for real – on a happy day, a sad day, or just a day like any other.
Years later when I was living in Los Angeles, I joined the Twentieth Century Society which celebrated the Art Deco era. At that time, I began to collect vintage clothing, and in those days, it was sometimes possible to find hidden gems in antique stores that were actually affordable (and back then, I could even fit into some of them). I participated in 1920s re-enactment events, and we were lucky enough to have two Hollywood costume designers teach a sewing class on 1920s fashion.
It’s been a while now since I’ve really had a chance to do much dressing-up, and I’m afraid my 1920s clothing collection is now mostly packed away. However, my love of vintage lives on, as the inspiration for The Polka Dot Shop.
For 13-year old Andy, vintage is not her thing. She dreams of being able to buy new clothes, with a crisp tag, that no one else has worn. Her mum owns a quirky vintage clothing shop, and everything Andy wears is second-hand, ‘pre-loved’ – used.
Andy’s journey is one of transformation, inside and out. She makes a plan, takes a risk, and finds a way to use her flair for fashion to transform her mum’s shop into something fabulous – that celebrates both old and new. In doing so, she gains a new perspective on classic fashion, and both she and her mum come to appreciate the other’s point of view.
I like to write stories that build a bridge between children and adults, because so much can be gained and learned on both sides. Each of the characters in the book has a goal, and it’s only by learning to work together that they can achieve the best results.
I hope that you will find Andy’s story inspiring. And if you have your own stories to share of fun, friendship, fashion – and polka dots! – do drop me a line at my website: www.laurelremington.com.
Why not join in with the rest of the blog tour for more reviews and guest post.
Thank you to Jazz and Chicken House for sending me a copy of this lovely story and inviting me to join in with the blog tour. ‘The Polka Dot Shop,’ is released on the 5th July and is available to pre-order online or from any good bookshop.