The New York Times bestselling journalist and author of The Girls from Ames, Jeffrey Zaslow, takes us to a multi- generational family owned small-town bridal shop to explore the emotional lives of women in the 21st century.
You may not have heard of Fowler, Michigan, much less Becker’s Bridal. But for the thousands of women who have stepped inside, Becker’s is the site of some of the most important moments of their lives-moments that speak to us all. Housed in a former bank, the boutique owners transformed the vault into a magic room,” with soft church lighting, a circular pedestal, and mirrors that make lifelong dreams come true.
Illuminating the poignant aspects of a woman’s journey to the altar, The Magic Room tells the stories of memorable women on the brink of commitment. Run by the same family for years, Becker’s has witnessed transformations in how America views the institution of marriage; some of the shop’s clientele are becoming stepmothers, or starting married life for a second time. In The Girls from Ames, beloved author Jeffrey Zaslow used friendships to explore the emotional lives of women. In The Magic Room, he turns his perceptive eye to weddings and weaves together secrets, memories and family tales to explore the hopes and dreams we have for our daughters.
I often read non-fiction but mostly current affairs or history, so I’m not sure what possessed me to request to take part in Crazy Book Tour’s virtual book tour for The Magic Room. I suppose all I can say is that every now and again a book ‘speaks’ to you and cries out to be read (much like the cookies that – ahem – cry out to be eaten).
The Magic Room was one such book. I was intrigued by the description and the idea of a book that examined such a wide range of relationships: the relationship between marriage and the modern world. The relationship between mothers or fathers and daughters. The relationship between the bridal dream and the fiscal reality.
Jeffrey Zaslow chose to set his book about “the Love We Wish for Our Daughters” in a bridal shop and I think doing so was a masterstroke. In that one decision he opened up boundless possibilities and the book embraces many of them fully. The Magic Room is a wonderful mix of anecdotes, family history, economic history and statistics. The book is related with warmth and humour, with touching stories interspersed with tongue-in-cheek media story mentions or interesting cultural references. It is neither preachy nor too touchy-feely but instead is a wonderful balance of all the things a marriage is: some ups, downs, worries, good times, cross words, touching speeches, advice, memories and, perhaps most importantly, hope.
It’s now coming up to two years since I got married. I ordered my gown via the internet and decided to forego the full bridal experience of bridal shop, dress fittings etc. There you are: in a rare protest against my anti-photo stance, I have included a photo! Despite not having had the experience, I can see the magic behind The Magic Room (in terms of both the book itself and the ‘magic’ room within the bridal store Beckers) and understand why it is so important to the people that frequent the store, the owners, the community. Don’t be lured into thinking this is ‘just’ a tale of a bridal store, though. The history of Beckers is, indeed, fascinating but even beyond that, this is a work that offers so very much more.
Title: The Magic Room: A Story About the Love We Wish for Our Daughters
Author: Jeffrey Zaslow
Source: I received a copy of the book from Crazy Book Tours in exchange for my fair and honest review