Book Review of
“For fans of “The Crown,” looking for history served up as intimate drama, and those seeking another angle on royal lives, “The Gown” seems likely to dazzle and delight.” – The Washington Post
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.
If you enjoy shows like the Crown or Downton Abbey, The Gown by Jennifer Robson is a book you will probably love.
After having surgery last fall, I read quite a few fiction books. The Gown was one of them. It was a great book to read while I recovered.
The book is written from multiple points of views during multiple time periods. It is currently popular for historical fiction to be written that way. I don’t always love the multiple time periods, and I actually think it is being over done in books. However, in this book, I think it worked well.
The writing and character develop are well done. It draws you into the story and make you care about the characters and what happens to them. It takes a story about sewing and textiles and makes it interesting. It also gives you a look into what the lives of lower class workers at the time was like.