Review: Dictatorship of the Dress by Jessica Topper

Posted March 19, 2015 by admin in Adrienne's Reviews, Reviews / 0 Comments

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Review:  Dictatorship of the Dress by Jessica TopperDictatorship of the Dress by Jessica Topper
Published by Berkley, Penguin on January 6, 2015
Genres: Adult Fiction, Chick Lit, Contemporary Romance, Humor, Romance, Women's Fiction
Pages: 370
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From Jessica Topper, author of the “beautiful and engaging” (Open Book Society) debut novel Louder than Love, comes the story of second chances, missed flights, and a woman ruled by her mother’s wedding dress.

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.

Adrienne's Review v2

If I had to sum up this book in one word it would be…


Dictatorship of the Dress is a story about a young woman whose overbearing and rude mother, has tasked her with the job of carrying her wedding dress to Hawaii.  Laney is a vivacious albeit self conscious young woman trying to live up to her mother’s standards and failing every step of the way.  Her only job in her mother’s wedding is to bring the wedding dress.  What neither of them anticipate is a blizzard and the man who blows into Laney’s life shaking up her already complicated world.

Noah is fleeing his own overbearing and rude person, his fiancee.  He’s high-tailing it to Las Vegas for a bachelor party.  Hoping that some time away with his best buddies will be just enough to clear his head and put him back on task of marrying the girl of his dreams.  But a blizzard and a gorgeously frustrating young woman stand in the way of strippers and free booze.

There are so many things that I enjoyed in this story.  Laney is absolutely adorable, she has a quirky personality and she was a character that was easy to love.  I enjoyed so much her creative nerdy side which is usually lacking from female characters.  She has a lot of baggage and like so many of us, mommy issues.  Making adult/life choices which may not correlate to what a parent wants is all a part of growing up.  Laney struggles to make her mother proud and no matter what she does, it’s a failure.

I appreciated that the story between Laney and Noah didn’t feel forced.  There was a natural progression to their relationship.  Noah wasn’t looking to cheat on his fiancee and Laney wasn’t looking to be the other woman.  Although their relationship may have progressed quickly, the story really did call for it.  The interaction between them was really cute.  They were obviously attracted to each other and that added confusion was exactly what they both needed.  It was time for them as individuals to “figure themselves out” and move forward.

Although Noah’s story was important, I almost felt like it was secondary to Laney’s.  We get enough of his story to know how he’s feeling and why but I didn’t connect on that same level with him as I did her.  He was obviously struggling with his own issues and trying to sort out the life he chose but honestly if he had been just a normal guy the story would have survived.

My biggest issue was the mother/daughter relationship.  The story itself is about their relationship and the metaphorical job of getting that dress to her perfect mother.  Each obstacle meant to be another nail in her “can’t do anything right” coffin.  I was right there along with Laney hating the situation and wishing she had the backbone to stand up and tell her mother off.  Instead she pushes and pushes trying to please her.  But the glimpses into the past and the things her mother said and did were seriously rude and unforgivable.  It’s the ending though that killed it for me.  I did not like the way it was written off.  There was no big showdown.  No angry tears or bitter words.  It just fell totally flat and for me that was a huge let down.

With that said, Jessica Topper is a talented writer.  I did enjoy this story and you will too.  There are many sweet moments and the build up between Laney and Noah is swoon-worthy.

*A copy of this book was kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review*




About Jessica Topper

Jessica Topper is an ex-librarian turned rock n’ roll number cruncher. She can trace her love for the written word back to age three, when she memorized Maurice Sendak’s “Chicken Soup with Rice” in its entirety.

After her daughter was born, Jessica left the Manhattan library world and began working for her husband’s music management company. He offered her a part-time bookkeeping job so she could “stay home for the baby’s first year” and pursue her dream of writing.

The baby is now thirteen, and Jessica has been working her full-time, sold-her-soul-for-rock-n-roll job as Office Manager for veteran jam band moe. ever since. She may have traded in books for bookkeeping, but the written word is never far from her mind, or her heart.

Jessica lives in upstate New York with her husband, daughter and one ancient cat. You can visit her at

Rating Report
Overall: 3.4

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