The Gown by Jennifer Robson

The Gown by Jennifer Robson

6225FA4B-7AC2-4E1E-9D0D-CC5A7E0FDD81Thank you to TLC Book Tours and William Morrow books for sending me a free copy of The Gown.  All opinions are my own.

Synopsis from Amazon:

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 Review:

I loved this book!  The Gown is historical fiction at it’s best.  The story is told through three points of view: Ann in 1947, Miriam in 1947, and Heather in 2016. I loved reading from each woman’s point of view to see what she was going to add to the story.  Sometimes when books have past and present points of view, one can tend to overpower the other, but in The Gown, the past and present storylines meld together seamlessly and all of them add to the telling of this fascinating tale.

I am always pleased to learn something new from reading, and I learned a lot about dress making in the 1940’s in this novel. I was so interested to read the details about the methods and techniques the girls used to sew and embroider.  About half-way through reading, I was googling images of this gown because I just had to see it!

In addition to all the historical components, The Gown really brought to life the friendship between two women who have both come from difficult backgrounds. Ann and Miriam lived in a time when a woman supporting herself was no easy feat. Their relationship was so supportive and empowering.  These characters were naturally developed and added one more compelling component to an already interesting story.

The Gown is well written and researched.  It has historical relevance and heartfelt emotional connections as well.  I truly enjoyed every page and can easily rate this book five out of five stars. If you like historical fiction, you would love this book!

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