Thursday, January 10, 2019

Review: The Gown by Jennifer Robson

The Gown
by Jennifer Robson

Publisher: William Morrow
Pages: 400
Format: book
Buy the Book: Amazon

Goodreads:  “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?

Kritters Thoughts:  What a perfect historical fiction!  Dueling storylines - Ann and Miriam are in London 1947 and they work for the fashion house of Norman Hartnell as embroiderers.  In Toronto 2016, Heather has just had the death of her grandmother and while going through her things is finding clues of a life she lead that no one knows about.  It is obvious early on how these stories will converge and what is most interesting is as you are reading you are wondering where the fact and fiction end.    

My favorite thing about historical fiction is when it makes me look up to see something visual.  There were a few times during this book where I looked up details about the dress, the venue and all things royal wedding.  It was so fun to read this after all the hype of Kate and Meghan's royal weddings.  I have read about the many hours that go into these dresses, but to really see it through their eyes was so interesting.  

There were moments where I felt as though Heather's storyline was unnecessary and I thought it was just extra beyond the heart of the story but in the end I liked that it was included.  I liked that we were learning about where Ann ended up while also learning what sent her down that path, it almost felt like the two storylines were going to meet in the middle.

I have read all of Jennifer Robson's books and this one by far is my favorite!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

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