Wednesday, January 16, 2019

The Gown, by Jennifer Robson

I received a complimentary copy of The Gown, by Jennifer Robson from William Morrow for review purposes, a fact that makes me very happy. It's been awhile since I've accepted a book for review, but I do love the Royal Family and read up on them all of the time so a novel about the dressmakers who made Queen Elizabeth's dress sounded right up my alley! Indeed, it was!

Robson tells her tale of the dress through the lives of three different women and in two different time periods. If you are the type of reader who enjoys stories which hop back and forth between eras, then you will enjoy this. Robson clearly did a good job researching the dress, dressmakers and various points in history in writing this book which made it all the easier to relax into. The writing is engaging and the subject matter a win for me so I really have mostly positive things to say, with one caveat which I'll explain (without spoilers) at the end.

The Gown takes us on a journey during life in post-World War II England with the royal wedding fast approaching. Anne Hughes and Miriam Dassin are two embroiderers who have been chosen to create the stitchwork design on the Princess's gown and veil. Anne is British and has lived in London through the Blitz, suffering her own heartaches and losses. Miriam has left France to move to England and she also has hardships in her past which she would rather not discuss. The two girls friend one another and form a bond that is sweet and endearing. During the book we learn about how the gown was created, what the media circus was like surrounding the royal wedding, and, of course, we get to know Anne and Miriam.

The third woman in the story, Heather, lives in Canada and she is the granddaughter of Anne. How she stumbles into the story of the gown and her grandmother's involvement is something of a mystery itself. In delving into the unknown parts of her grandmother's past, Heather discovers both things about her grandmother that the family had often wondered at, and also how to live her own life in the process. I'm a fan of books which tell you the story in fits and starts so this book suited me well, although I suppose it is a style that could annoy some.

Over all, I thought The Gown was superbly enjoyable. The only caution I would offer is to the conservative reader. There are a handful of moments where Robson used foul language. The words popped up maybe five times at most through the course of the book. They weren't altogether necessary and I will always find it regrettable to think that storytellers believe that they must use such words at all! They rarely add anything to the dialogue and are completely unnecessary in my opinion. There is also a rape scene in the book which some might wish to take note of. I didn't find it overly gratuitous and it can be skipped entirely. (It's brief, thank goodness.) But it's there and I know that some of my readers here at Reading to Know will want to know about this. So there it is.

Would I read this book again? No, I won't. I enjoyed it very much but I'll probably find someone else who would like to read it and pass it along to them.

Many thanks to William Morrow for sending me a copy to check out. Much appreciated. It should be duly noted that I received no additional compensation for my reading services and all opinions expressed above are entirely my own (although I wish my opinion about the use of foul language in books was universally shared).

You can find me on Instagram: @1000lives_and_severalcupsoftea
You can find me on Goodreads at: Carrie Readingtoknow

No comments:

Top  blogs