Sunday, 22 October 2006

The Hat Shop on the Corner by Marita Conlon McKenna

The Hat Shop on the Corner

Marita Conlon-McKenna
Bantam Press price??

HATS have a special place in a woman's heart. There's something about a hat
that represents the celebration of life; they call up the happy times. You
have to live up to a hat by being happy in it.

The Hat Shop on the Corner is by the author of The Magdalen, and a series
of children‚s novels on the Famine, filmed as Under the Hawthorn Tree.But
here she‚s using a more gentle touch.

Ellie Matthews is cleaning up her late mother's hat shop on South Anne
Street in Dublin when two people come in and change her life.

One had ordered a hat from Ellie's mother, and expects to find it ready for
her daughter's wedding in a few days. .

The other is the solicitor with whom Ellie‚s mother had been negotiating -
to sell the shop to the developer who's hoping to build a multi-storey

It‚s a development that could spell the end for the lovely street of
intimate shops where generations of Dubliners have bought treats for
themselves and the people they love.

As Ellie‚s aunt Yvette says, "Naturellement the gallerias and the large
department stores bring thousands of people to shop every day, but just
look at Paris - we have the best shopping in the world, huge stores, but
many of our finest shops are small, exquisite and individual."

Somehow, Ellie ˆ who was trained as a milliner by her French mother, but is
now a textile buyer for a big Dublin company - is drawn back into running
the shop.

This is a charming story of Ellie and her customers, who run the gamut from
ladies who lunch to the highly unlikely.

Dublin's new mayor Mo Brady, a battling northsider, walks in looking for a
serious hat for her newly glamorous life - and weighs in to make sure Anne
Street‚s shops stay in business.

Tough tyke Tommy Butler wants a Memory Hat for his nan's 100th birthday,
commemorating her century of Dublin life.

The neighbourhood revives as shopkeepers and their friends help each other
to repaint and rebuild, and offer each other ideas ˆ and have lots of great

And amid the millinery Ellie finds love: unreliable but gorgeous Rory, the
roadie for a series of bands, and Neil Harrington, the serious young

This joyous book is delightful - a perfect gift, and a story to treasure.

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