Starting January and the new year strong!
Thanks to William Morrow Books and TLC Book Tours for the free copy in exchange for my honest review.
THE GOWN – Jennifer Robson
“The Gown is marvelous and moving, a vivid portrait of female self-reliance in a world racked by the cost of war.”–Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network
From the internationally bestselling author of Somewhere in France comes an enthralling historical novel about one of the most famous wedding dresses of the twentieth century—Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown—and the fascinating women who made it.
“Millions will welcome this joyous event as a flash of color on the long road we have to travel.”
—Sir Winston Churchill on the news of Princess Elizabeth’s forthcoming wedding
London, 1947: Besieged by the harshest winter in living memory, burdened by onerous shortages and rationing, the people of postwar Britain are enduring lives of quiet desperation despite their nation’s recent victory. Among them are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell. Together they forge an unlikely friendship, but their nascent hopes for a brighter future are tested when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor: taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.
Toronto, 2016: More than half a century later, Heather Mackenzie seeks to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers, a legacy from her late grandmother. How did her beloved Nan, a woman who never spoke of her old life in Britain, come to possess the priceless embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the stunning gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II at her wedding almost seventy years before? And what was her Nan’s connection to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?
With The Gown, Jennifer Robson takes us inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created. Balancing behind-the-scenes details with a sweeping portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of victory, she introduces readers to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout its pages, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.
My Thoughts: 4/5 stars
Where are the fans of The Royals? THE GOWN is the kind of historical fiction I believe that a wide variety of readers can enjoy. Jennifer Robson combines real people with fiction, but it’s not about what you would assume. Robson intertwines the lives and stories of three women – one in 2016 and two women in 1947.
We get alternating perspectives and she creates an incredibly engrossing read about family and friendship. In present day, 2016, Heather’s grandmother has just passed away. She was left some beautiful embroideries but has no idea where they could have come from. She begins to research her grandmother’s past and discovers a couple of surprising things: her grandmother was a skilled seamstress and worked on the future Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown.
The dynamic between Ann and her friend, and fellow seamstress, Miriam felt genuine and authentic. I love when authors can create a strong friendship and bond between characters without it feeling forced or outlandish. This is a fictionalized account on the two women creating the beautiful gown under Nathan Hartwell, but you can tell the author did her research on the time period.
Overall, if you’re a fan of historical fiction, then I would highly recommend this one! I need to go back and pick up some more from Robson!
Photo by Natalie Brown/Tangerine Photo
About the Author:
Jennifer Robson is the USA Today and #1 Toronto Globe & Mail bestselling author of Somewhere in France, After the War is Over and Moonlight Over Paris. She holds a doctorate from Saint Antony’s College, University of Oxford. She lives in Toronto with her husband and young children.
Where to Purchase a Copy: