Lies in White Dresses: A Novel

Written by Sofia Grant
Review by Julia C. Fischer

In 1952, best friends Francie Meeker and Violet Carothers flee San Francisco for Nevada and “the Reno cure.” In the 1950s, this method was the fastest way to get divorced. Since 1931, when Nevada passed this law, women could live in Reno for six weeks to establish residency, and then they could be free from their husbands. Francie and Vi have both have been married for decades, and their children are now adults. Ready to face their failed marriages, they go to Reno to start the next chapter of their lives. On the train there, they meet June, a young mother who is desperate to get divorced. Taking June under their wing, the three women arrive at the Holiday Ranch Hotel in Reno to wait out the weeks until freedom. But when the unthinkable happens, none of their lives will ever be the same.

Some of my favorite historical fiction books involve learning about a time period or bit of history that I had no idea about. Sofia Grant does just this by bringing “the Reno cure” to life through Francie and Vi’s story. Lies in White Dresses is a deeply moving narrative about friendship and how sometimes your soulmate might not be your husband but your best friend, who is truly there for you through thick and thin. The story is populated by a cast of memorable secondary characters, like Virgie, the twelve-year-old future detective; Alice, Francie’s resilient but handicapped daughter; and Charlie, Vi’s son. The reader is swept away into 1950s Reno, rooting for Francie, Vi, and June’s friendships and hoping that they find independence, peace, and happiness. This book is perfect for fans of Kristina McMorris and Susan Meissner.