A five star read 🌟

Published by Erica on

Jennifer Robson The Gown

Wow, I don’t often rate books as five-star reads, but this is one of the rare few that has broken into that top echelon for me!

First off, this is a piece of historical fiction. But it is so well-researched and presented, with characters so human and relatable, that you’re going to think it’s all true! Sadly, you can’t google Miriam Dassin and see her art embroideries, because she isn’t real. I know, I wish she were, too.

Robson vividly paints the factual history underpinning this story, from post-war life in Britain to the scars of being a Jew from occupied France; from the glittering fashions of Norman Hartnell to the humble gardens to the clanging Underground. She uses three narrative perspectives to craft the plot into an encompassing, intertwined tale.

Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin work as embroiderers for Norman Hartnell in 1947 London; Heather, we quickly learn, is Ann’s granddaughter in Canada. Perhaps the most central character, though, is the actual gown. From the appliqué samples Heather discovers, to the side-by-side embroidery work of Ann and Miriam, to the sworn secrecy about the dress, Princess Elizabeth’s gown is the catalyst for friendships and family heritage, a touchpoint for self-discovery and change.

I could keep going on about how great this book is, but you should really just go read it for yourself. But beware! You may come away like I did – with a hankering to take up embroidery (more) and really nail some skills!

Categories: Book Review


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