A Dress the Color of the Sky


Fiction - Womens
322 Pages
Reviewed on 06/15/2018
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

A native New Yorker and captivating storyteller with a flair for embellishment, Jennifer Irwin currently resides in Los Angeles with two cats, a dog, and her boyfriend. After earning her BA in Cinema from Denison University, she worked in advertising and marketing, raised three boys, and ultimately became a certified Pilates instructor. While she has written screenplays and short stories since her college days, A Dress the Color of the Sky is her first novel.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Katherine Williams for Readers' Favorite

A Dress the Color of the Sky by Jennifer Irwin is a romance novel featuring Prudence Aldrich, also known as Prue, a woman who is having a hard time navigating her life. Under the control of her abusive husband, Nick, Prue copes with her pain through various addictions. After having several dangerous sexual encounters with strangers, Prue realizes she is not at fault for her emotions, and checks into Serenity Hills rehabilitation center. There, she discovers who she truly is as a person. She comes to understand that the abuse she has endured her whole life, including her childhood trauma, does not define who she is. She learns that she is here on this earth for a reason, and that it is okay to allow herself to heal and become free from the chains of all her negative experiences.

A Dress the Color of the Sky is a raw, emotional and compelling novel that will help you understand just how resilient victims of trauma can be. Prue is a character you will come to love and admire by the book’s finish; her self-destructive behavior is hard to stomach, but you will cheer for her as she learns to love herself for who she is. Jennifer Irwin’s writing is inviting; the plot goes into a considerable amount of depth that will stick with the reader; her characters are well-rounded and the dialogue is light and witty but heavy when needed. The pacing is just right, and overall the narrative flows nicely and does not seem to miss a beat. This is not your typical romance novel; it is so much more and manages to cover tricky themes like sex addiction in a thoughtful manner. I suggest this book to anyone who wishes to learn more about abuse victims. This book teaches you that no matter what you have done in your past, you are person who is worthy of unconditional love.

Francesca L.

About love, loss, sexual addiction and its relationship to trauma. The book expertly shows we are shaped by our childhood experiences but they do not have to define us. Want an addictive read with amazing characters? Get this book. I love it.

ACA

There are many levels to overcoming or, at the least, coming to grips with the horrible truth, that you have been a victim of sexual abuse, specifically, as a young girl. Prue’s strength and courage, as evidenced in Ms. Irwin’s story, is extremely timely. Moreover, it is extremely honest and quite provocative. Provocative, that I wanted to, somehow, jump into the story and literally strangle or inflict incredulous pain upon her abusers. I, admittedly, attribute that feeling to my own childhood sexual abuse. There was no 12 step program for me, but, looking back I grieved the loss of innocence compounded by some of the same experiences discussed in A Dress the Color of the Sky. Neither of my parents displayed any affection: my father was also an alcoholic and my mother suffered her own demons. The guilt and shame, as revealed in the book as well, crushes you in ways that is unfathomable, perhaps, for those who have not lived through emotional, physical, and/or sexual abuse. Still, as survivors, like Prue, we always seem to ‘make’ it, even if it’s one step at a time. Sometimes, for me, it’s a reminder that I am not that vulnerable, helpless, unloved, neglected little girl, but rather a woman who has overcome and will, as Prudence, allay some of those ghosts...a crushing past. As aberrant as it may sound: I am the person I am today because of or in spite of my past. Most days, I love ME!

Lady ESPN

Don't hesitate on this book. It sucked me in right away and I could not put it down. A powerful story. This book impacted me in more ways than I anticipated. Interesting to feel the change in the main character throughout the book. Irwin masters her character development so well you feel as if you know each character personally. Really absorbing. I only wish she had more books to read!

RedButler

Review for A Dress the Color of the Sky by Jennifer Irwin
This author needs not my assistance, this book is astounding, and single handedly adds basis to a proper child rearing and anti-pedophilia movement in society, only overdue by thousands of years. I am just some real American guy from the 70s that happened upon this book, and decided to weigh in. I had a family member abused at one point and was forced into becoming a dark knight, so I had a prescient feel in selection. It is a terrible thing to experience, and I have seen firsthand what becomes of the mind, first shattered, then fragmented, then the poison of the decades. This is a well written tale of sheer madness, of a long legged beauty of intimated blue blood Yankee background suffering from a wild haired sexual addiction that makes the Energizer bunny seem slo-mo, normal, and rather sedate. The author leads us on a manic journey through the life of Prudence, a name meaning “good judgment and sensibility”, something we must predominantly wait for till epilogue. This is an insane bi-coastal tale of a woman’s life from Cali to Long Island and hell and gone. The story is told with flashbacks from an elite psychiatric therapy unit, reaching back through her years. From childhood, there is divorce and the mother takes up with a sexually abusive, violent step father. Your heart bleeds for the children. This book is full of the highly dysfunctional horrific torment of vulnerable youth. A tale of child abuse both ugly and distressing, and how it affects the turbulent life of the adult Prudence, a candid story, told with severe directness and espousing the often amusing survival thought mechanisms of the protagonist, which keeps the reader engaged, though gripping the handle of the wild coaster. The present world is full of strangeness that often never makes therapy that is abundantly clear, just as it has been for millennia. This is the story of Prudence so beautiful, and this book’s sure broad success is in its depiction of both payback of human endurance in the face of evil, and of healing so deserved and voraciously fought for. This is the story of the fire bringer, showing the way through foibles, failures, and continuing breath against incredible odds. It is a tale of one wrongheaded heartbreak romance (or tryst) after another based on human guttural attraction of both youth, beauty and animal lust. Everything about the troubled life is here, the infidelity; the red finances; the desperation; the loss… of everything. All the challenges many of us have known, or those we have loved. We feel every emotion for Prudence, so attractive and funny, the ultimate survivor. One has to see the beauty in the monster eh? Go look in the mirror, we are all the same, all hiding something, working through to healing. And do we not deserve love? This book moves fast with excellence of exposition of what it means to have quality private rehab devoted to actual effectiveness. This is about living in hope, one day at a time if necessary. Some won’t make it, like in this story. Ultimately, we are given life based upon what we make. The only downside to this story was the incessant sexual detail that could easily have been scaled down, and yet still had a profound effect upon the overall drama. This is a raging first outing for super talented author Jennifer Irwin.

Skeptic

A tale of a woman trapped and controlled by her childhood trauma of sexual abuse. Her adult actions become poignant and increasingly frightening. I was relieved Prue was brave enough to confront her demons.

Dawn H.

What a beautifully written story of healing, hope and redemption. As a former addictions counselor, the author does an amazing job of portraying treatment and recovery. Jennifer Irwin handles the difficult subject of sexual addiction and abuse with great care and grace. Her writing pulls the reader into the character's minds and souls, each of them leaving a lasting imprint on me. I didn't want Prue's story to end and can't wait to see what happens next for her.

K. Z. Howell

Jennifer Irwin has created a smorgasbord of unique and compelling characters in her book. While Prue Aldrich is the focus of the story the cast of supporting characters that either feed Prue's issues or offer support to her recovery are equally relatable and well defined. Prudence' own addiction to sex is thoroughly explored and her path to recovery is fraught with potential set backs and the inner struggle with the demons of her childhood.

The role her parents, friends and acquaintances play in Prue's early life, along with her frankly psychopathic husband, Nick, is detailed in well written flashbacks that all lead to the recovery center where most of the story is set. The graphic and painfully detailed events in the center are gripping and well paced as they lead to the emotional conclusion of Prue's struggle to regain control of her own life.

ahptx22

Truth—I was searching online for an agent and a publisher that likes the kind of stuff I write and I came upon several that mentioned this book as an example. So I looked it up on amazon. Read the description and thought it didn’t sound like my cup of tea, but, hey, I’m game. Started reading and could not put it down. Loved Jennifer’s characters—and the way she wove past and present was seamless. I immediately re-read the first few chapters for all those little things that ended up to be such a big deal later on in the story. Now I can’t stop thinking about this book. I learned a lot about myself and others in my life. I think of all the problem people I know and wonder what’s their story?

I was disappointed Jennifer hasn’t written more books because I was ready to buy all of them!

Get busy, Jennifer!!

Marc Hoberman

Jennifer Irwin's novel is a triumph. While often tragic, Irwin's story also offers levity. Her main character, Pru, is a sex addict with whom
readers can easily identify. Irwin's writing style truly hooks the reader from the very first page. The use of flashback enables the reader to empathize with Pru as she tries to rid herself of her addiction, which has hampered her relationship with her young son. Kudos to Jennifer Irwin for taking us on a journey that touches the soul and shows us all that with support and love, we can overcome anything.

Linda

Riveting, moving, and entertaining. A real page-turner!
Jennifer cleverly wove the past and present from chapter to chapter, which helped me understand Pru's difficult choices throughout her life's journey and through rehab. The characters were so well developed, I grew to love Pru feeling deeply compassionate towards her pain, angry at those who wrote the blueprint that molded her into who she became, and grateful to those who brought her back to who she was always meant to be. It’s hard to believe this is Jennifer's first novel – her writing is exceptional with incredibly vivid details! I’m excited for the sequel to learn where Pru’s heart takes her.

Jacob Thompson

Prue is a very strong woman. This book leaves you on the edge of your seat with the vivid details. Love it.

Dust Puddle

Really enjoyed this book.

Jen Yag

This is a very well written, poignant book about a woman who is working through her issues. It gets pretty heavy, but the characters are compelling as is their journey.

Jen

A deeply touching story that is so relevant for today. I loved Prue from the first moment and I wanted her to be okay. This is a must read for every person who has been marred by abuse if any form or who knows someone who has been abused. I can't wait to read more from this author.

Family Guy 202

I cannot wait for the sequel! As the reader, I felt carried by the words, almost protected, as the main character swam through murky and dangerous moments as she rose up to reclaim her future.

Monica Reents

Prue has experienced an incredible amount of abuse in her life, leaving her with a mountain of self-destructive pain. My heart broke for her many times. I could feel her reaching out for help throughout the entire story... trying to get out of the closet...
I actually set the book down a few times to absorb what I had just read. It just felt powerful on my emotions.

Jennifer Irwin writes an incredible story that pulls you in and forces you into an experience. This book is so well written that you have to keep turning the page.
In my opinion, it is impossible to read this book and not have part of it walk away with you...pinning a piece of Prue to your heart.

Carla

I enjoyed reading this book, especially the way Jennifer wove in the past with the present. I am truly horrified by what she had to live through and thoroughly applaud her strength in trying to find a way to deal with those issues. I very much enjoyed the character of her childhood friend, who never gave up on her. I found myself rooting for her success through her entire stay at the treatment center and certainly wanted her to end up with Alistair.

I think this would make a great movie!

Cynthia A.

I carried this book with me in case there were moments here and there to read it. I learned so much about experiences that were very foreign to me. The author is a great storyteller. Her writing style with jumps back and forth from past to present was very effective in explaining how childhood trauma created adult addiction. This helped me understand the situations of important people in my life. I am looking forward to the movie!

C. A. Hassanzai

Captivating from start to finish! The Dress the Color of the Sky is about a young girl named Prudence “Prue” who endures years of abuse from those closest to her. She navigates through adolescence blaming herself for her irresponsible behaviors. Entering into multiple abusive relationships & dangerous one-night stands with strangers, Prue is forced to face her illicit past in order to save herself.

But can she be saved?
Prue enters into rehab believing she will fix her failing & abusive marriage. She quickly learns rehab will not bring her marriage back to its idyllic beginnings. She sets out to piece her life back together. She learns to not let her abusive past define her present self. But her journey is anything but easy.

The author does an excellent job taking the reader on her emotional journey of self discovery & acceptance. Well written and a must read.

Dina

I don’t usually pick titles from an author I’m not already familiar with, but I saw an ad online about its release and decided I wanted to read.
Jennifer Irwin’s writing style is zero-bull and hits you right in the gut with her honesty. Also, I usually only rate books, and this is the very first review I’ve been compelled to write, A Dress had that much of an unexpected effect on me.
Prue, the main character is seemingly overrun with flaws, and has an extremely addictive personality. While reading about Prue’s life living with a sex addiction, Irwin had me thinking all the while, “don’t we all have regrets, moments of personal shame, should have, could have, would have times in our lives?”
To blow off Prue’s character as frou-frou or rich, bored housewife would be a big mistake for the reader.
Jennifer Irwin has given us a kind, deep, complex, and loving protagonist in A Dress the Color of the Sky. She’s not a lost cause, she could be your best friend, your sister, your mother. Hell, she could even be you!
5 stars for this book (which is soon to be a feature film!)
As a side note, the author is active in her community and on social media. She is an absolute delight, and I can’t wait to see how Prue’s life unfolds in the sequel (there had better be a sequel!)
Now, I’m off to the corner store for some Twizzlers (wink)