First Line Friday — The Dress Shop on King Street

25 Dec

Merry Christmas! Did Santa leave you a bunch of books under the tree? As I am writing this post, I don’t expect any bookish gifts. However, I play Santa to myself, so . . . . 😉

This week I am featuring my current read — The Dress Shop on King Street by Ashley Clark. This debut novel has grabbed me from the opening page. I anticipate some leisurely reading enjoyment in my future.


Here’s the first sentence:


The candlelight sent a shadow of Rose up against the wooden wall.


Harper Dupree has pinned all her hopes on a future in fashion design. But when it comes crashing down around her, she returns home to Fairhope, Alabama, and to Millie, the woman who first taught her how to sew. As Harper rethinks her own future, long-hidden secrets about Millie’s past are brought to light.

In 1946, Millie Middleton — the daughter of an Italian man and a Black woman — boarded a train and left Charleston to keep half of her heritage hidden. She carried with her two heirloom buttons and the dream of owning a dress store. She never expected to meet a charming train jumper who changed her life forever . . . and led her yet again to a heartbreaking choice about which heritage would define her future.

Now, together, Harper and Millie return to Charleston to find the man who may hold the answers they seek . . . and a chance at the dress shop they’ve both dreamed of. But it’s not until all appears lost that they see the unexpected ways to mend what frayed between the seams.


Ashley Clark in her own words:

I write romantic women’s fiction set in the South, and The Dress Shop on King Street is my debut novel. I have a Master’s degree in Creative Writing and enjoy teaching literature and writing courses as an adjunct. I’ve been an active member of American Christian Fiction Writers for almost decade! When I’m not writing, I’m re-watching You’ve Got Mail, dreaming of Charleston, and drinking all the English Breakfast tea I can get my hands on.

​My journey to publication took ten years, so I am a huge believer that sometimes God-dreams can take a while to grow, and that’s really what The Dress Shop on King Street is all about. If you, too, are holding a dream that feels invisible or altogether gone, I hope you’ll come away encouraged that perhaps you are simply in a mending season, where God is still strengthening your dream at the seams.


Are you reading on this Christmas Day?

What is your first line?


For more first line fun, head to Hoarding Books.


One Response to “First Line Friday — The Dress Shop on King Street”

  1. Paula Shreckhise December 25, 2020 at 5:06 pm #

    I loved Dress Shop!

    My first line is from The Thief of Blackfriars Lane by Michelle Griep:
    April 1885 London
    For want of a properly working pocket watch, Jackson Forge failed to save the world today— or at least the city of London. Now he’d be lucky to save himself.

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: