Wednesday, February 18, 2009

On My Nightstand - Painted Dresses by Patricia Hickman

I first met author, Patricia Hickman, at the Greater Philadelphia Christian Writers' Conference. Her workshop, empathy, and kindness touched my life at a time when I was in the throes of grief. Painted Dresses went on my "To Be Read List." Recently, I purchased a copy, and it went on my nightstand.

Two sisters, Delia Cheatham and Gaylen Syler-Boatwright, meet at their father's funeral. Circumstances send them on an unlikely journey. Delia has a knack for getting into trouble and drags big sister, Gaylen, along with her. Gaylen, ever the caregiver, feels a strong obligation to help Delia.

The painted dresses in their deceased aunt's cabin send them on a mission. With the delivery of each dress, another layer of their lives is revealed. Old memories surface, tease, and push the women to piece together their childhood.

In my opinion, Painted Dresses is character driven rather than plot driven. Each nuance in the women's personalities has significance, and are critical to the grand finale. By the last half of the book, I was having trouble putting it down at bedtime. I completed it at 12:30 A.M. on a work night.

Patricia Hickman's writing style and unique way of expressing herself evokes a feeling of, "I wish I'd said that." Her understanding of human nature and how events impact a personality merged with her writing talent to create a memorable reading experience. I'll be looking for other titles by this author.


Jessica Nelson said...

I've read one of her books before and thought she had the most beautiful prose ever. It's nice to know she's a kind person.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Jess -

A poetic quality permeates her work. I'm amazed as I read different authors. Each one has a unique voice born out of their personalities, life experience, and worldview.

Before I met Patty Hickman, I'd never heard of her or her books. It was her kindness that drew me to her work.

Susan :)

Unknown said...

This sounds like a great book. My list of books waiting for me to read has just gotten longer, thanks to your post about this novel. :-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sharon -

Even though I read 2-3 books at a time, I can't keep up with my "To Be Read List." When I find authors I enjoy (and I'm finding many), the list mushrooms.

Susan :)

Sarah said...

I don't know how you find the time to read and review so many books, but I'm so glad you do!

Right now, it takes me about a week to finish one book. I bet it only takes you a day! :)

Patricia Hickman said...

It means a lot that Christ precedes my work. And thanks, Susan, for the thumbs up for Painted Dresses. I've started another labor of love, in addition to the novel I just finished; I've been inviting other authors to sit as guests on my blog, Words to Go. You're all invited to the party at

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sarah -

Before I started reviewing books, I built up a backlog of ones I'd already read. I try to stay ahead of the curve. It takes me about 1-2weeks to complete a book.

Confession time: I've had a post prepared for about three weeks in case I run out of finished books. So far, I've just squeaked by. :)

Susan :)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Patty -

Thanks for stopping by. I'm looking forward to reading more of your books. :)