The Gown
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 weddingLondon, 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.

The Gown Details

TitleThe Gown
Author
ReleaseDec 31st, 2018
PublisherWilliam Morrow Paperbacks
ISBN-139780062674951
Rating
GenreHistorical, Historical Fiction, Fiction

The Gown Review

  • Erin
    January 1, 1970
    I won The Gown in a Goodreads giveaway. 4.5 StarsI'm going to be perfectly honest with you. The Gown is a great book and I loved it for its entertainment value. Its a beautifully written story and the characters are so alive that they just suck you in.But I also loved this book because it was my first time winning a giveaway. So that definitely did get factored into my rating. I'm just being honest. It felt good to win a free book that I was actually really interested in reading. I, like a lot o I won The Gown in a Goodreads giveaway. 4.5 StarsI'm going to be perfectly honest with you. The Gown is a great book and I loved it for its entertainment value. Its a beautifully written story and the characters are so alive that they just suck you in.But I also loved this book because it was my first time winning a giveaway. So that definitely did get factored into my rating. I'm just being honest. It felt good to win a free book that I was actually really interested in reading. I, like a lot of Americans woke up at an unreasonable hour (4AM) to watch The Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I'm not a huge fan of the Royal family but I have become way more interest in them this year between the wedding and the tv show The Crown. So when I saw this was up for a giveaway I immediately entered to win it, never actually expecting to win it. But I Did Haters!!!!! The Gown is my favorite kind of Historical Fiction, the kind that mixes real people with fictional characters. The Gown reminded me a lot of a Beatriz Williams novels in that it took place in two separate time periods. The first time period is 1947 and features 2 young women who become friends while working on future Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. The other time period is the present and features the granddaughter of one of the women and her quest to learn more about her beloved late grandmother.This book covers a lot of important issues like rape, the Holocaust, anti semitism, feminism, first love, grief and PTSD. I loved this book and I had fun reading it. I also spent a lot of time Googling people and events mentioned in this book.This book doesn't come out until January but I suggest you guys preorder it now because I think its gonna be a very popular book.Also its once again being featured as a Giveaway, so enter to possibly win it. Read This Book!!!
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  • Kate Quinn
    January 1, 1970
    I had a chance to read this for a cover quote, and devoured it! My quote: "Jennifer Robson embroiders life, friendship, and hope into the somber gray world of post-war London every bit as skillfully as her seamstress heroines embroider crystal flowers into the folds of a royal wedding dress. Miriam and Ann are both battling inner demons when they meet in the backroom of England's most famous couture house, but the chance of a lifetime--the task of embroidering Princess Elizabeth's gown for the w I had a chance to read this for a cover quote, and devoured it! My quote: "Jennifer Robson embroiders life, friendship, and hope into the somber gray world of post-war London every bit as skillfully as her seamstress heroines embroider crystal flowers into the folds of a royal wedding dress. Miriam and Ann are both battling inner demons when they meet in the backroom of England's most famous couture house, but the chance of a lifetime--the task of embroidering Princess Elizabeth's gown for the wedding of the century--will open new doors for both women, and lay the foundations of a mystery to be unraveled seventy years later by their grandchildren. THE GOWN is marvelous and moving, a vivid portrait of female self-reliance in a world racked by the cost of war."
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  • Stephanie
    January 1, 1970
    I admit that I requested The Gown because I was struck by that stunning cover and the title! I'm admittedly an enormous anglophile and lover of the British monarchy so when I saw the picture of the then Princess Elizabeth in her gorgeous wedding gown, I knew this book would blow me away. Did it ever! But not for any of the reasons that I thought it would! I expected to mostly read about the young lovestruck princess and her handsome soon to be husband but instead, Jennifer Robson has carefully c I admit that I requested The Gown because I was struck by that stunning cover and the title! I'm admittedly an enormous anglophile and lover of the British monarchy so when I saw the picture of the then Princess Elizabeth in her gorgeous wedding gown, I knew this book would blow me away. Did it ever! But not for any of the reasons that I thought it would! I expected to mostly read about the young lovestruck princess and her handsome soon to be husband but instead, Jennifer Robson has carefully crafted a very accurate, detailed, engrossing,  and often poignant novel about the lives of three fascinating women--one living in 2016 and the other two living post-World War II in 1947. The novel is told from the different viewpoints of the three very incredible young women and Robson skillfully intertwines their stories together into one beautifully depicted and outstanding story of family, love, loss, pain, but most of all the importance of friendships and the amazing power of resilience during difficult times.  In 2016, Heather Mackenzie's beloved Nan, Ann, has just died and left her a box filled with lovely, embroidered flower motifs. As far as she knows, her Nan couldn't sew, so how did she have such gorgeous embroideries in her possession? Heather, a journalist, knows there is a mystery behind the embroidered flowers and about her Nan's past which she knows so very little, so she begins to research both.  As Heather begins to unravel her grandmother's secrets, she is shocked to discover the embroidered motifs match the ones on Queen Elizabeth II's wedding gown from 1947. Not only that, she finds old pictures that suggest her Nan worked for Norman Hartnell, Britain's leading couturier and designer of the Queen's wedding dress, and that she was friends with famous artist and Holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin. Heather's discoveries take her on a journey from Toronto to London where she learns about her Nan's past with the help of a new friend who helps her connect with someone special from Ann's old life. In 1947, London is still reeling and recovering from WWII. Ann Hughes has lost everyone she's loved to either the war or sickness and is completely alone in the world. She's a proud, smart, kind young woman and has been working as an embroiderer at Norman Hartnell's Mayfair fashion house since she was a very young girl. She's extremely talented and now one of the top embroiderers at the shop. Still, she's lonely with no family or close friends, and money is very tight since rationing is still a part of British life even two years after the war, yet Ann doesn't complain and makes do with what she has.Miriam Dassin newly immigrates to London in 1947 from Paris where she lost her entire family to Nazi persecution during the war. She's a brilliant artist and embroiderer with references from Christian Dior, so its no wonder that Mr. Hartnell immediately hires her and she's put to work alongside Ann, who she becomes good friends with and soon becomes Ann's roommate. However, Miriam is still haunted by what she endured during her imprisonment at Ravensbrück and is terrified to tell anyone, even Ann, because she is frightened of anyone knowing she is a Jew.The announcement of the Princess' engagement and Hartnell's commission to design and create her wedding dress is very exciting for all the seamstresses and embroiderers at Hartnell's! Both Ann and Miriam are given the job to embroider the most important and delicate parts of the dress and the train, not only an honor but a job they must never talk about with anyone since the dress design must remain secret until the Princess' wedding day! The meticulous research and attention to detail in The Gown makes this book well worth the read. Any historical fiction worth reading should be well researched, and Robson raised the bar here. I love how real characters and facts are interwoven with her fictional ones, and it was amazing to read about how the dressmakers worked so hard to create the Queen's famous and oh, so gorgeous wedding dress! I go gaga over these gowns, but I don't think that I've ever once stopped to think about the work that has gone into making one of them! It's amazing how hard the work was and how dedicated these women were in not only making this gown but keeping the gown's design secret from spies and journalists who were offering bribes in exchange for the dress' pattern-I didn't realize they had crazed paparazzi types back then! Very crazy!I love historical fiction, and The Gown is truly an excellent work of historical fiction. It captured me from the very first page and never let go. As I already said, it wasn't what I expected and for that, I'm so very glad because it was so much more. I loved the friendships that Robson depicts in the novel because they are meaningful and true. For me, she shows how women's friendships are meant to be trustworthy, healing, nurturing, and to lift each other up instead of using and hurting one another, and I loved that so much.Obviously, I'm highly recommending this book! You don't have to love the royal family to enjoy this one since they only play a very minor role. If you like historical fiction, then this is a beautiful novel that will sweep you away with its affecting story of courage and friendship. It publishes December 31, 2018!**Thank you Edelweiss and William Morrow for an ARC to read in exchange for my fair and honest review. **
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  • MaryBeth's Bookshelf
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you TLC Book Tours for gifting me a copy of The Gown in exchange for an honest review.It is no secret that Historical Fiction is my favorite genre to read and The Royal Family are my favorite people to obsess over. So, of course, I would have to read The Gown, a fictionalized account of the Norman Hartwell's fashion house as they created Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown in 1947. The story focuses on Ann Hughes and Miriam Dessin, two young girls working for Mr. Hartwell. The story jumps ah Thank you TLC Book Tours for gifting me a copy of The Gown in exchange for an honest review.It is no secret that Historical Fiction is my favorite genre to read and The Royal Family are my favorite people to obsess over. So, of course, I would have to read The Gown, a fictionalized account of the Norman Hartwell's fashion house as they created Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown in 1947. The story focuses on Ann Hughes and Miriam Dessin, two young girls working for Mr. Hartwell. The story jumps ahead in time to Heather MacKenzie and her quest to understand more about the beloved woman she called "Nan." Her journey takes her to London and discover more about her grandmother.I absolutely loved this book. Loved the history, loved the fashion, loved the characters. It was the perfect read for HF lovers.
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  • Tammy
    January 1, 1970
    Jennifer Robson was written a beautiful story of the ladies that created Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. I have always been fascinated by the monarchy and loved reading The Gown. The story is told from three viewpoints. In 1947, Ann and Miriam are young embroiderers and have been chosen to work on Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. There is a bit of intrigue as the details of the gown are top secret and the press is constantly hounding them for details. As the story unfolds, we learn more about Ann Jennifer Robson was written a beautiful story of the ladies that created Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. I have always been fascinated by the monarchy and loved reading The Gown. The story is told from three viewpoints. In 1947, Ann and Miriam are young embroiderers and have been chosen to work on Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. There is a bit of intrigue as the details of the gown are top secret and the press is constantly hounding them for details. As the story unfolds, we learn more about Ann and Miriam's history. In 2016, Heather travels to London in the hopes of discovering more about her late grandmother. Jennifer Robson does a marvelous job of weaving an unforgettable story and giving us a peek behind the scenes of the creation of this beautiful gown!
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  • Chanel Cleeton
    January 1, 1970
    A moving story of life after the end of World War II centered on the women behind the scenes of the joyous occasion of Queen Elizabeth's wedding. A celebration of strength, resilience, and friendship, The Gown transports readers as Robson offers a richly detailed and meticulously researched glimpse of daily life in post-war Britain. An enchanting must-read for historical fiction fans!
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  • Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
    January 1, 1970
    So, what makes a story about a gown so special? In this case, it's the wedding gown that Princess Elizabeth wore at her wedding. Jennifer Robson has woven together a fascinating tale about two women that worked on the gown and a young woman that discovers her grandmother has some skeletons in her closet...READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!
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  • Susan Peterson
    January 1, 1970
    Jennifer Robson has written a very touching novel about the women who made the glorious wedding gown that Princess Elizabeth wore when she married in 1947. This historical novel gives us intimate details of not only the gown, but also of what it was like in post-war Europe. What I loved most about the book was the friendship between Ann and Miriam; I was very moved by their story. This is the perfect book for anyone who is enthralled by the Royal Family!
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  • Sharlene
    January 1, 1970
    Truly a beautiful, moving story of the women that worked on Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown.The story focuses on 3 young women, two in the 40s that are working on the gown, Ann and Miriam and one in present time, Heather who is Ann's granddaughter.I found the book hard to put down and very immersive. I felt in the moment with the story. Loved all the details of how one embroiders a wedding dress and the many hours of hard work that goes into it.I would recommend this book to all that love histori Truly a beautiful, moving story of the women that worked on Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown.The story focuses on 3 young women, two in the 40s that are working on the gown, Ann and Miriam and one in present time, Heather who is Ann's granddaughter.I found the book hard to put down and very immersive. I felt in the moment with the story. Loved all the details of how one embroiders a wedding dress and the many hours of hard work that goes into it.I would recommend this book to all that love historical fiction.
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  • Meagan
    January 1, 1970
    I LOVED this book. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one day. I don’t know if it is because I am a big Royal watcher, or because Harry and Meghan’s wedding happened earlier this year, or because I have been lucky enough to hear Jennifer Robson talk about this book twice this year, but I felt like I knew these characters and this story. It was familiar and captivating at the same time.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    I received an advanced reader copy from the publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The Gown is going to be one of those buzz books this winter that everyone will be talking about, I guarantee it.Instead of exploring the story of the royal family and all of its mystery, Robson decides to explore a royal wedding through a different set of eyes. These eyes she chooses to tell her story through are those of the women that made and embroidered the dress of Princess Elizabeth when sh I received an advanced reader copy from the publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The Gown is going to be one of those buzz books this winter that everyone will be talking about, I guarantee it.Instead of exploring the story of the royal family and all of its mystery, Robson decides to explore a royal wedding through a different set of eyes. These eyes she chooses to tell her story through are those of the women that made and embroidered the dress of Princess Elizabeth when she wedded Lieutenant Philip.Set in 1947, Ann Hughes & Miriam Dassin are talented embroiderers that have been tasked with the intricate stitching that will adorn the royal bride's priceless wedding gown. Following the royal wedding though, Ann moves and never tells her family of her life in London and the work she did for this famous gown.It is only in 2016, when Ann's granddaughter stumbles upon a box of her late grandmother's belongings that she finds a set of hand-stitched flowers with no background information on them. What she discovers though is that these motifs are the same that decorated the Queen Elizabeth II's gown and she begins to wonder if there was more to her grandmother's story than she realizes.Heather travels to London to unravel the past that Ann never shared with her family and her secret friendship with Miriam Dassin, a celebrated artist and Holocaust survivor.Robson discusses, rather frankly, her struggles with finding information on the real women behind the real gown. It was through a chance meeting that she got in touch with Betty Foster, a woman who aided in the actual embroidery of the dress, that she was able to use this interview to flesh out these characters, along with her own independent research at another embroidery house.An excerpt of the interview with Betty appears at the end of the book and showcases how much her voice shaped Robson's writing and these gorgeous characters that she has crafted.Fans of, Secrets of a Charmed Life and the show,  The Crown , will DEFINITELY be swept away in this gorgeous book.I absolutely loved it!
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  • Eden Church | The Required Reading List
    January 1, 1970
    To read THE GOWN is to be transported back in time. Robson’s new book is so rich with detail, the 21st century seemed like a distant memory. Jennifer Robson's best book yet, at once utterly transporting and profoundly relatable, THE GOWN tells the story of Ann, Miriam, and Heather, three women separated by countries, religion, and sometimes decades. Ann and Miriam work as embroiderers for beloved English fashion designer Norman Hartnell during the 1940s when he was commissioned to create the the To read THE GOWN is to be transported back in time. Robson’s new book is so rich with detail, the 21st century seemed like a distant memory. Jennifer Robson's best book yet, at once utterly transporting and profoundly relatable, THE GOWN tells the story of Ann, Miriam, and Heather, three women separated by countries, religion, and sometimes decades. Ann and Miriam work as embroiderers for beloved English fashion designer Norman Hartnell during the 1940s when he was commissioned to create the then Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown. Brought together by this momentous task, Ann, an English girl who never thought very much of herself becomes fast friends with Miriam, a young French woman fleeing a country ravaged by one of the worst periods of violence in the world's history. Years later, on the occasion of her beloved Nan's passing, Heather must begin to unravel the fabric of the mystery that binds her to these two extraordinary women who created part of history. Alternating between 1940s London and 2016 Toronto and London, Robson weaves a beautiful story that perfectly balances the glitz and magic of involvement in the fabrication of the wedding gown for the future Queen of England with the horrible experiences that shadowed day-to-day life for British citizens haunted by a barely-finished war during one of the coldest winters and largest food shortages that Britain had ever seen. THE GOWN is an absolute triumph that left me in tears, at once feeling like I'd just been dealt a punch to the gut, yearning to get myself to the nearest textile museum or art gallery to see how history can be immortalized in fabric, and wanting to give every member of my family a long hug. Historical fiction fans and followers of the royal family absolutely cannot miss this book. *Thank you to Harper Collins Canada for an advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*
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  • Sabreena - Books and Prosecco
    January 1, 1970
    The Gown by Jennifer RobsonStars: ⭐⭐⭐⭐Disclaimer: I was lucky enought to receive an arc of The Gown from HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions below are my own."I wouldn't mind being rich. But for everyone to know my name and expect something from me? Watch every move I make? That'd be awful."In 2016, Toronto, Canada, Heather's Nan has just passed away, her job is not amazing, and she's feeling a little lost. In her belongings, Heather's Nan has left he The Gown by Jennifer RobsonStars: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️Disclaimer: I was lucky enought to receive an arc of The Gown from HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions below are my own."I wouldn't mind being rich. But for everyone to know my name and expect something from me? Watch every move I make? That'd be awful."In 2016, Toronto, Canada, Heather's Nan has just passed away, her job is not amazing, and she's feeling a little lost. In her belongings, Heather's Nan has left her a box filled with little mementos, including some stunning pieces of embroidery. Heather had no idea her Nan used to do embroidery, not to mention the pieces look strangely similar to Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown! But she's about to find out a lot more that she didn't know about her Nan as well...More than half a century earlier, in 1947, Ann Hughes loves working for one of England's most famous dressmakers, Norman Hartnell, favoured dressmaker of the Queen. Ann's life is simple. She lives with her sister-in-law, and together they do their best to get by after the war. One day, a new face arrives at Norman Hartnell. Miriam Dassin moved to England from France looking for a better, more peaceful life after what she experienced during the war, and slowly, Ann and Miriam become friends. However, 1947 has some shocks for them, and before they year ends, they will both be changed forever. "Someone, once, had thought her lovely. Not pretty, but lovely, which had seemed somehow better. Deeper and truer, a compliment born of honesty rather than obligation." This book was so adorable, and I definitely squealed with delight several times. The best part about this book was the kindness of the characters. Despite being a post war novel, and having some serious trigger scenes, this book was a surprisingly lighthearted read and I was pretty happy throughout.Ann and Miriam are so kind to each other that it absolutely warmed my heart. This may have to do with the fact that in a lot of the books I've read lately, you cannot trust the characters. They are pretty much always hiding terrible secrets, or vying to murder someone... What on earth have I been reading?! "Ann had never expected to be the girl in the fairy tale. She didn't believe in them, for a start, and she wasn't certain she believed in this. She shouldn't allow herself to believe." In any case, the characters in The Gown were the opposite. They did have some secrets, but with the exception of one character, they were all genuine, kind people. It was nice to read something like this again.The one person that did have a secret was horrible, but the story didn't linger on them because they weren't the point. This person is involved with the "climax" of the story, and while what happened broke my heart, I didn't feel like it brought down the mood of the story. Instead, Robson does a good job of showing how others can be there for you with only love and kindness as their agenda. It doesn't diminish what happened and in no way dismisses it, but it does show one person's way of coping and moving forward. "My family of intention, as it were, rather than blood. But no less precious for all that." Walter is a big teddy bear, and oh, I just wanted to hug him tight! He also somehow reminded me of Mitch from Vicious and Vengeful, but only in his kindness/teddy-bear likeness and not in the criminal way... "But she didn't worship the royals the way her mom did, with the kind of devotion that involved getting up in the middle of the night for Will and Kate's wedding in 2011, and doing so while wearing a home-made fascinator and Union Jack slippers." I also found the story itself quite interesting, though long at times. Some parts were definitely more "telling" than "showing", but for the most part, I was interested in what was happening. I enjoy reading about/watching The Royal Family, especially the royal weddings (no, I did not wake up in the middle of the night to watch the wedding!), so this was right up my alley. While the Royal Family is not the main focus of the book, the creation of the Queen's wedding gown is (obviously), and it was quite magical reading about such a famous real life event. "He looked up just as she crossed the street, and the expression of delight on his face made her heart skip a beat." I did find the dialogue to be a bit awkward sometimes, and did not always feel the chemistry between couples. Several of the characters are rather reserved, and I think the dialogue was meant to reflect that. Instead, I found it a little clumsy, and couldn't quite picture the conversation.As for the romances, it was pretty obvious when two people were being set up to be together, but their conversations and interactions sometimes felt awkward. That being said, this may also be an effect of the other books I've been reading where a person being genuine feels weird... "'So will you be leaving work, then?' ... 'Not until after the wedding. Joe wants to start a family straight-away, so there isn't much point in staying on.'Ann disagreed, but there was no point in making a pill of herself by saying so." The book also does a good job of incorporating a 1947 mindset when it comes to women and their behaviours - which, while I am glad I do not have to deal with some of that, I did find rather entertaining at times. Some of the characters, shown by the quote above, were definitely ahead of their time! "So they said good night to Miss Duley, who warned them to be careful and for heaven's sake stay well clear of men in uniform..." Overall, I enjoyed The Gown. Despite some heavy themes, it was a light read that had me smiling from ear-to-ear nearly throughout the whole book. I enjoyed joining Heather on her journey to discover more about her Nan, and while not all of the "twists" were very surprising, there were at least a couple that had me shocked. "The act of creation was what mattered." One last thing! The book also had some beautiful moments about supporting each other, and supporting art. To all the writers, drawers, painters, sculptors, etc. out there, you are ALL artists! Even if you haven't shared your work publicly yet, or even if you never do. As long as you have ideas, and you strive to create something, you are an artist. Your work matters, even if you are the only person who ever sees it.If you liked the show The Crown, enjoy post-war books, enjoy books in the style of The Lake House (i.e. told from different perspectives at different times), and/or are just looking for a lovely read filled with beautiful moments about friendship and kindness, then I'd definitely recommend this for you!Triggers: rape, discussions about war.*the quotes above were taken from an advance reader's edition of The Gown and are subject to change in the final version.Do you enjoy books/shows about the Royal Family? What is your favourite book/show?Read more book reviews at Books and Prosecco!
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  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. I am a huge fan of Jennifer Robson's historical fiction and The Gown continues the love affair. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a high tea with Jennifer Robson and Kate Quinn and receive advance copies of each of their new novels. I read The Gown in about a day and a half. The characters became like family, and even though I'm the furthest thing from a fashionista, I found the details of the dressmaking mesmerizing. Having read (and loved) Goodnight from London, I was thrilled t Wow. I am a huge fan of Jennifer Robson's historical fiction and The Gown continues the love affair. I was fortunate enough to be able to attend a high tea with Jennifer Robson and Kate Quinn and receive advance copies of each of their new novels. I read The Gown in about a day and a half. The characters became like family, and even though I'm the furthest thing from a fashionista, I found the details of the dressmaking mesmerizing. Having read (and loved) Goodnight from London, I was thrilled that one of my favourite characters from that story found their way into The Gown and got what they deserved. I will admit to being enthralled by the recent Royal Weddings of Prince William and Prince Harry, but The Gown takes us back to *the* Royal Wedding - that of Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten in 1947. After a long war that had taken its toll on England (some of which was richly described in Goodnight From London), there was now a chance to celebrate as a nation. Even though the country had not recovered yet and was still dealing with rationing of clothing, food, and other necessities, the royal wedding was a cause for hope - and the centerpiece of the wedding was, of course The Gown.The book moves seamlessly between 2016 in Toronto and 1947 England. With two characters in the past and one in the present, the story of the creation of a wedding dress that was so much more than a wedding dress comes together perfectly. Beginning with Ann's story, we hear about the toll the extended rationing was having on the lives of everyday Britons - the chilly nights because there wasn't enough coal to keep the fire lit, the tea getting progressively weaker as pots were steeped and re-steeped, the bland porridge that was a staple because it was filling and warm. We hear about the lengths women went to in order to secure work, the long train rides, and the societal expectations of courtship and marriage made more difficult by the thousands of war widows. Ann found work soon after leaving school as an embroiderer at Norman Hartnell - one of the fashion houses that designed for the Royal Family.We are then introduced to Miriam - an accomplished embroiderer from the fashion houses of Paris. Running from her past in France, where her parents and grandfather had been killed for their faith and she had only narrowly escaped the same fate only to wind up in a prisoner of war camp for aiding the Resistance, Miriam is starting fresh. She and Ann become friends, and then roommates when Ann needs someone to share her flat with after her sister in law emigrates to Canada. Miriam and Ann are Hartnell's best embroiderers and work together on the Princess' gown, even adding a special touch to the train. The third strong woman in the book is Heather, Ann's granddaughter. Living in Toronto, Heather's life is turned upside down when she loses her Nan. As far as Heather knows, her Nan moved to Canada shortly after the war. Heather has no inkling that her grandmother was an embroiderer working at one of England's finest fashion houses until she finds a piece of fabric and a photo while going through her Nan's things. This sets her off on a mission to find out the family history that she didn't even know she was missing. The three stories are woven together like a fine fabric. The storytelling is rich, the scenes exquisitely set, and no detail is spared. I could see the workroom at Hartnell's with embroidery frames spread across it, a women at each frame working painstakingly at these tiny works of art. The Gown is about the making of Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress, but it is so much more than that. It is a tale of friendships, families, and love. A story of redemption, perseverance, and triumph but also of heartbreak and betrayal. Most of all, The Gown is the story of three strong women, over the span of seventy years, doing what they could to survive and thrive in a world where everything they knew was changing.
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  • Linda Zagon
    January 1, 1970
    Lindas Book Obsession Reviews “The Gown” by Jennifer RobsonKudos to Jennifer Robson, Author of “The Gown” for vividly writing and describing the enchanting, emotional, exciting, heartbreaking, enthralling and intriguing novel about one of the most famous Royal wedding dresses in history and the workers who created it. The Genres for this story are Historical Fiction, and Romance. The timelines for this story are in the past after World War Two, and in the present. The story goes further in the p Lindas Book Obsession Reviews “The Gown” by Jennifer RobsonKudos to Jennifer Robson, Author of “The Gown” for vividly writing and describing the enchanting, emotional, exciting, heartbreaking, enthralling and intriguing novel about one of the most famous Royal wedding dresses in history and the workers who created it. The Genres for this story are Historical Fiction, and Romance. The timelines for this story are in the past after World War Two, and in the present. The story goes further in the past only when it pertains to the characters in the events in the stories.The story takes place in England, France, Canada, and the United States. The author describes her colorful characters as hardworking, creative, complex and complicated perhaps to the events in history.In 2016, in Toronto, Heather Mackenzie is left some material with exquisite embroidered flowers in an envelope addressed to her from her late grandmother, Nan. Heather has no idea what they mean. They appear to be at least 70 years old, and possibly have something to do that was part of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown. After viewing some pictures of Nan, and some friends from years ago, Heather wants the opportunity to go to London to learn what Nan’s live was like. Nan was a quiet woman, and never shared many parts of her life. When Heather is in London she is trying to find former friends and acquaintances of her grandmother. Heather realizes that there is a huge connection with the famous textile artist Miriam Dassin, a holocaust survivor, and her grandmother.In 1947, Ann Hughes (Nan) and Miriam Dassin feel lucky to be working as embroiderers for the fashion house of Norman Hartnell. In London, it is a cruel cold winter with shortages of fuel, food and many items. After World War Two, England is still trying to recover as most of the world is. Norman Hartnell is known for making gowns for the Royal family. There is a huge fascination with the royal family. Ann and Miriam are living in Ann’s house and go to work together, and become the closet of friends.. Miriam has an exceptional artistic talent and Ann encourages her. Miriam also has deep dark secrets and guilt. When Princess Elizabeth gets engaged at the young age of 21, Norman Hartnell as well as his employees are hoping that they get to design the wedding gown. When Norman Hartnell and staff get to do the gown, extreme measures of secrecy are put in place. Newspapers and journalist are trying to get information on the royal wedding gown. Unscrupulous people are willing to pay a fortune to get information about the gown to make money. These are still desperate and dangerous times.The “Gown” represents to many of the workers hope, and faith and love. What does Heather learn about her grandmother and Miriam Dassin’s relationship? Why has Nan been so secretive about her life? How does this tie into the making of the most famous gown in history?The author is an amazing storyteller, and the details of how hard it was for the workers getting the materials, and making the designs was so intriguing. I would recommend this book for readers that love the genre of Historical Fiction.
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  • Betty
    January 1, 1970
    If you like books about strong female friendships and/or British royalty (especially an interest in the wedding gowns worn by Diana, Kate, and Meghan) this is the book for you.It is 1947 and Princess Elizabeth is to marry Prince Philip. Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin are embroiderers for Norman Hartnell, designer for the royal family. Ann is alone after her brother is killed in the war and her sister-in-law moves to Canada. Ann becomes friends with Miriam, the mysterious new French girl at work an If you like books about strong female friendships and/or British royalty (especially an interest in the wedding gowns worn by Diana, Kate, and Meghan) this is the book for you.It is 1947 and Princess Elizabeth is to marry Prince Philip. Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin are embroiderers for Norman Hartnell, designer for the royal family. Ann is alone after her brother is killed in the war and her sister-in-law moves to Canada. Ann becomes friends with Miriam, the mysterious new French girl at work and invites her to be her roommate. Miriam Dassin eventually reveals that she is Jewish and was imprisoned at Ravensbruck.Toronto, 2016 – Heather Mackenzie is saddened over the death of her grandmother “Nan”. While going through her grandmother’s effects a box marked “To Heather” is found. Inside are three lovely embroidered pieces and a photo of some women gathered around a sewing frame. Heather realizes that neither she nor her mother know anything about Nan’s life before she came to Canada. They uncover a few more photos that reveal that Nan had apparently been friends with the well-known embroiderer Miriam Dassin. Thus begins Heather’s quest to learn about Nan and her secretive past.I thoroughly loved this book. The characters emerged from the written page and came to life as I read. While being eager to get to each new chapter I also was compelled to set aside the book to look up elements from the story – close up photos of the actual wedding gown, other dresses designed by Norman Hartnell, the Chulily sculpture mentioned in the book. I could envision myself there in Hartnell’s workroom with the drawings and sketches pinned to the walls and fabric everywhere. The book has romance, it has villainy and glamour, but above all it has an amazing bond between two women. The premise of the book is well stated in a paraphrase from Heather: The story is about the gown and what it was like to create a wedding gown for a princess – and how it felt to receive no acknowledgement of their work.This book filled me with a warmth and a sense of completion – a feeling of “this is how it should be”. There is so much more I would love to write about this book but I don’t want to give away too much of a story that you just must read for yourself.
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  • Nóri Goreczky
    January 1, 1970
    What an absolutely enchanting read this was! I didn’t expect to feel so many emotions from a book that I thought would be a lighthearted, gossipy account of the women who worked on Queen Princess Elizabeth’s wedding dress. In fact, that’s just the bare basics of it: The Gown is essentially the story of a friendship between two extraordinary women, Ann and Miriam, who are brought together under dire circumstances in post-war London. Armed with relentless courage, kindness and determination, they What an absolutely enchanting read this was! I didn’t expect to feel so many emotions from a book that I thought would be a lighthearted, gossipy account of the women who worked on Queen Princess Elizabeth’s wedding dress. In fact, that’s just the bare basics of it: The Gown is essentially the story of a friendship between two extraordinary women, Ann and Miriam, who are brought together under dire circumstances in post-war London. Armed with relentless courage, kindness and determination, they help each other through hard times and inspire each other to be more than they thought themselves capable of. The third point of view in this dual-timeline masterpiece belongs to Ann’s granddaughter Heather, who uses her skills as a journalist to unravel the mysteries of her Nan’s past and in the process find a part of herself she never expected to. Not only do her chapters add a bit of mystery to an otherwise pretty straightforward book, they also serve to give closure to our two leading ladies. I do wish their story ended slightly differently, but I won’t argue with the author for choosing to go with an ending that is, ultimately, probably the most realistic one for them, no matter how sad it made me to read it.I know it’s a cliché but this book really does stay with you. In fact, it was with me all the time while I was reading it: I would read a few chapters on my way to work in the morning, proceed to think about the book all day, only to eagerly pick it up again as soon as I was on the train back home. It was just that good. It also dawned on me while reading it that I’ve never actually seen a picture of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding dress, which is weird. We had two royal weddings in recent years, and when the time came to speculate about the gowns Kate and Meghan would wear, everyone always talked about Diana’s in comparison… which I always found weird because to me, that dress is hideous. So why didn’t anyone ever bring up the Queen’s absolutely astonishing wedding gown as a possible inspiration? It’s a mystery. Anyway, I want you all to look at it now.Amazing, isn’t it? Just like this book. If it doesn’t get at least nominated for Best Historical Fiction novel at this year’s Goodreads Choice Awards, I’ll buy a hat just so I can eat it.(Review cross-posted to my blog)A thousand thanks to Edelweiss for my review copy!
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  • Margaret
    January 1, 1970
    The Gown is Jennifer Robson's new book which releases the end of this month. A dual time period that is current day and one taking place a few years after the 2nd world war ended. I loved that setting, it’s not a setting I see much of and reading about the struggles after the war was interesting.The 70th wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip was perfect timing for the release of this book. With the media hype, tv specials and more enhancing my reading experience. I loved the p The Gown is Jennifer Robson's new book which releases the end of this month. A dual time period that is current day and one taking place a few years after the 2nd world war ended. I loved that setting, it’s not a setting I see much of and reading about the struggles after the war was interesting.The 70th wedding anniversary of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip was perfect timing for the release of this book. With the media hype, tv specials and more enhancing my reading experience. I loved the past storyline, it’s 1947 with England still recovering from the war, yes life goes on, it isn’t easy for most and harder still for others - Miriam and Ann are new friends with the Norman Hartnell binding them together. I enjoyed reading about the process of their work there, the secrecy of the making and how it’s done.As usual, it’s the past story that really captivates me, not that I didn’t like the present day one here, I just think it’s the history nerd in me that draws me to learning new things from the past. Present day Heather is set in uncovering secrets her grandmother had. With her travels around London, it has reinforced my desire to travel and see the area for myself.Definitely a book I recommend not just for the unique storylines but a writing style that kept me entertained. Thanks to Harper Collins Canada for an ARC provided at a recent English Tea with the author.
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  • Denise
    January 1, 1970
    A thoroughly enjoyable read and one in which will keep you interested as well as intrigued. Art can be brought to us in many forms whether it be through paintings, pottery, music and yes....embroidery, which is the basis of this narrative. The Gown, a story of Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown and Royal Wedding, is brimming with the wonderful women of the Hartnell fashion house who sacrifice themselves with their due-diligence in making this special day a fascination of talent with their intricate, A thoroughly enjoyable read and one in which will keep you interested as well as intrigued. Art can be brought to us in many forms whether it be through paintings, pottery, music and yes....embroidery, which is the basis of this narrative. The Gown, a story of Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown and Royal Wedding, is brimming with the wonderful women of the Hartnell fashion house who sacrifice themselves with their due-diligence in making this special day a fascination of talent with their intricate, pain staking detail too fashion.Jennifer Robson weaves a marvelous story between the time period of 1947 London, to 2016 Toronto, with characters who are well developed and whom you'll grow to love with their resilience and dedication to those they are close to, too themselves and to the most anticipated gown of its time. A story with a voice, family secrets and life itself will keep you turning the pages with anticipation.Thank you Goodreads for the gift of this ARC in order to read and review.Novels & Latte Book ClubNovels N Latte Book Blog
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  • Mainlinebooker
    January 1, 1970
    There are specks of truth in this interesting novel about the creation of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown. It is told through the voices of three women, two of them being embroiderers and one(told in the future) from a granddaughter. I had hoped to have more historical nuggets, but aside from the place of work and the hush behind the gown’s creation, the novel just portrayed a romanticized version of friendship burdened with secrets. However these women were also portrayed as strong independent w There are specks of truth in this interesting novel about the creation of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown. It is told through the voices of three women, two of them being embroiderers and one(told in the future) from a granddaughter. I had hoped to have more historical nuggets, but aside from the place of work and the hush behind the gown’s creation, the novel just portrayed a romanticized version of friendship burdened with secrets. However these women were also portrayed as strong independent women who had to deal with war torn Europe. Jewish atrocities during Hitler’s reign that affected one of the seamstresses, was skillfully told and woven in seamlessly. For individuals wanting an entertaining read with some intrigue this novel will be the perfect companion.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Uterley captivating. I was fully transported to London 1947 to the lives of Ann and Miriam as they worked in the workshop of Norman Hartnell as he was awarded the commission to design and make Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown. This is the story of the beautiful friendship these women share as they work on the beautiful embroidery of the gown. We also meet Heather who is the grandaughter of Ann and she comes into procession of samples of the embroidery from the gown. She goes on a journey to fin Uterley captivating. I was fully transported to London 1947 to the lives of Ann and Miriam as they worked in the workshop of Norman Hartnell as he was awarded the commission to design and make Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown. This is the story of the beautiful friendship these women share as they work on the beautiful embroidery of the gown. We also meet Heather who is the grandaughter of Ann and she comes into procession of samples of the embroidery from the gown. She goes on a journey to find out about Anna life before she arrived in Canada and discovers her grandmothers involvement in one of the most memorable gowns in living memory. This was a book that I equally wanted to devour quickly but also savour. It's a beautiful story and I think my favourite book this year!
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  • Carrie
    January 1, 1970
    First, a huge thank you to Goodreads and the publisher--I won this advance reader copy through a Goodreads give-a-way. This was the first book of Jennifer Robson's I had read, although I do own several of her others. I really enjoyed it, from beginning to end. I actually enjoyed both stories, the present day and the historical one, and how they intertwined. It was interesting to consider what goes into making a royal wedding gown and sad to learn of Ann's fate. I'm really looking forward to read First, a huge thank you to Goodreads and the publisher--I won this advance reader copy through a Goodreads give-a-way. This was the first book of Jennifer Robson's I had read, although I do own several of her others. I really enjoyed it, from beginning to end. I actually enjoyed both stories, the present day and the historical one, and how they intertwined. It was interesting to consider what goes into making a royal wedding gown and sad to learn of Ann's fate. I'm really looking forward to reading more of Robson's work.
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  • ❀ Susan G
    January 1, 1970
    A more fulsome review to come but I loved learning more about the history (through fiction) of Queen Elizabeth’s dress through the eyes of an embroiderer. I enjoy learning more about this part of history as it makes me think of my own Grandma who got to attend the coronation. Jennifer Robson weaves a great story with her meticulous research and I have been privileged to meet her at a couple of events.Thank you to Harper Collins for a chance to read and review this advance reader copy!!!
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  • Michaela
    January 1, 1970
    ---Full disclosure: I received this book for free from Goodreads. --- DNF at just under 100 pages, somewhere in Ch. 9, I think. Just couldn't get interested. I think the jumping around b/w characters & time periods kept me from getting invested. Moved too slowly, also. By the time I am hitting 100 pages in I should give a crap about something or someone & not be bored. That wasn't the case, so I called it. I'm moving on to something else.
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  • Donna Alward
    January 1, 1970
    THE GOWN was worth the wait. There is a reason Jennifer Robson is an autobuy for me. Really well structured and paced, with great characters and a few story hooks I didn't see coming. The only downside? I didn't want it to end.
  • Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
    January 1, 1970
    Confession the first: I’m not really that interested in the actual royal family or royal weddings. Like, even when I was younger and would fantasize about randomly meeting Prince Harry and falling in love with him, I really didn’t know anything about them. Confession the second: I largely found The Crown boring. Everyone recommended it, but it’s so slow and I never got invested in the characters (particularly Philip—fuck Philip). As such, I debated about requesting The Gown, but I do love histor Confession the first: I’m not really that interested in the actual royal family or royal weddings. Like, even when I was younger and would fantasize about randomly meeting Prince Harry and falling in love with him, I really didn’t know anything about them. Confession the second: I largely found The Crown boring. Everyone recommended it, but it’s so slow and I never got invested in the characters (particularly Philip—fuck Philip). As such, I debated about requesting The Gown, but I do love historical fiction and I’ve been meaning to read Robson. Good choice, past self!When I was younger, I devoured all the WWII historical fiction I could get my hands on, but in the last few years, I’ve very much burnt out on that subgenre of historical fiction. I really like that The Gown is set in the period after WWII as people deal with the aftereffects and try to move forward. You don’t see as much fiction set during that period because wars make such a dramatic background for fiction, but this period is fascinating too. While it’s not as overtly dramatic, the political landscape is fascinating, especially because you haven’t read it a million times.The Gown is told in three points of view, which trade off consistently. The first is Ann Hughes, an English embroiderer. Ann’s good, hardy English stock, hardworking, honest and kind. Briefly, early on, you learn about how her mom gave her serious shit for going for a job as an embroiderer and made her feel like shit, and it immediately made my heart ache for Ann. It also made me respect her so much for carrying on and being so loving and kind in spite of her toxic mother. When her sister-in-law moves to Canada, she tells her to go, even though it would be easier for Ann to convince her to stay. Ann’s such a genuinely good person. Ann’s plot line kinda broke my heart tbh, but more on that later.The second POV is Miriam Dassin, an embroiderer from France. She emigrates because she cannot bear to live in France anymore after everything that happened during Nazi occupation. Ann’s Jewish, and, though she managed to avoid detection, her family didn’t, and she’s haunted by everything that happened and dealing with survivor’s guilt of having continued to work and live like “normal.” Miriam’s a badass, intelligent, enormously talented, fierce af defending her friends, and strong of will and character. Of the three heroines, I felt the closest bond to Miriam.The third POV is Heather Mackenzie in the present day. Her grandmother, Ann, has just recently passed and left her a box of embroideries. Neither Heather nor her mother knew that Ann embroidered, and Heather, having just been laid off, sets off to England to research her beloved grandmother who had a whole life in England none of the family knew about.The first half of the book went rather slowly for me. Unless I’m really into each POV, switching POVs makes me want to take a break after each chapter, and it’s not a high action book. Instead, there’s a lot of detail about each woman’s daily life and the embroidery work. It’s very good but didn’t captivate me. At about the halfway point, love interests appear for each girl and everything begins to come together, and I flew through the rest of the book.In some ways, The Gown reminded me of Hidden Figures, because both are about talented women history tends to ignore. Never before had I thought about all the women behind all those famous male designers. I love books and movies that draw focus to all the work women did, only for all the praise to go to men. I also like that it’s focused in on this microcosm of history, with the big political happenings of the day and the actual royal wedding a sort of distant backdrop heard over the wireless after work and before bed.The resolution of the plot lines was satisfying though very much bittersweet. I liked the romances, particularly Heather’s, and I even liked the open-endedness there (as well as the way Miriam was adorably shipping it). But I also liked the handling of the hard stuff. (view spoiler)[Ann’s rape was incredibly hard to read, and I cried as she dealt with the reality that she was pregnant. What I liked though was that Ann knew she wanted the baby and that, though she was single for the rest of her life, she genuinely seemed to be happier that way. It’s rare that you see a female character happy being single, and I appreciate that aspect. You can see clearly how that rape affected her for the rest of her life, and that too is well done. But my god is she a strong woman. (hide spoiler)]In the end, this book made me feel so many feelings. The three POVs ended up feeling very, very necessary, and they all have their own independent, very disparate stories that meld together very well. The Gown is excellent historical fiction, probably especially so if you’re actually into royal weddings and/or The Crown. :-p
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  • Dorothy Schwab
    January 1, 1970
    A box containing embroidered roses and stars is given to Heather after her grandmother’s passing in 2016. Is it possible that these are connected to “ the Gown” worn by Princess Elizabeth in November, 1947? I felt every stitch and had sympathy back aches as I read the intricate details of the design and then how the embroidery-girls worked so lovingly and with such intensity to finish by the deadline! A story of survival and friendship. And as Nan says, “ Chin up!”
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  • MaryAnn
    January 1, 1970
    I received my copy of this via the Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you William Morrow. I LOVED this book. I really enjoy historical fiction and read a lot. This book was really interesting because it presented a period of time I have not read a lot on: post war London. Jennifer Robson is a very descriptive writer, and I easily could see the work and living space of the main character Ann. It was also interesting to learn about the fashion industry in London, and the work that went into embroidery. Of I received my copy of this via the Goodreads Giveaway. Thank you William Morrow. I LOVED this book. I really enjoy historical fiction and read a lot. This book was really interesting because it presented a period of time I have not read a lot on: post war London. Jennifer Robson is a very descriptive writer, and I easily could see the work and living space of the main character Ann. It was also interesting to learn about the fashion industry in London, and the work that went into embroidery. Of course, the gown in the title is that of Princess Elizabeth, so if you love the Royal Family that is another reason to read this. The book also takes place in modern time, and the story line of a granddaughter searching to learn about her beloved grandmother is interesting as well. Overall, I highly recommend this novel to anyone who loves historical fiction, the Royal Family, London, and fashion.
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  • The Library Lady
    January 1, 1970
    This is the second book I've read by this author, and I won't be fooled again. She has a talent for drawing me into a story and then,having spent an hour or two reading 200+ pages, I am left wanting that time back to read someone else's books.Aside from the Nazis in France, no one here is mean, petty, or developed in any other way, they are all nice-nice and bland. Everything in the plot fits as neatly together as a jigsaw puzzle--too neatly. In sum, a fascinating subject and great materials tha This is the second book I've read by this author, and I won't be fooled again. She has a talent for drawing me into a story and then,having spent an hour or two reading 200+ pages, I am left wanting that time back to read someone else's books.Aside from the Nazis in France, no one here is mean, petty, or developed in any other way, they are all nice-nice and bland. Everything in the plot fits as neatly together as a jigsaw puzzle--too neatly. In sum, a fascinating subject and great materials that in another author's hands would have been a terrific book is turned into a bad soap opera.
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  • Mary Jordan
    January 1, 1970
    I loved it. Sorry to see it end. The current and the past combined. This is a story I would have wanted to live. When this is released make a day of it. A comfy chair and a cup of tea are all you need to add. BTW you might want to order out for dinner.
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