Monday, 31 December 2018

The Gown by Jennifer Robson - Book Review

Jennifer Robson is one of my favourite authors. Not only is she simply a kind human, she also writes novels with which I always fall in love.

Her newest release, The Gown, moves between post-WWII England and present-day Toronto. After her grandmother passes away, Heather discovers a set of hand-stitched flowers that look strikingly like those on Queen Elizabeth II's wedding dress. She takes an opportunity to fly to England and discover a secret history her grandmother had hidden from their family.

Woven through Heather's journey, the reader learns about her grandmother, Ann Hughes, and Ann's close friend Miriam Dassin, a French émigrée who escaped the Nazis and came to find work in London after the war. These two women forge a deep friendship as they work on embroidering the royal wedding gown.

Though I have loved Jennifer Robson's previous books, The Gown is refreshingly different because the central storyline does not focus on a romance. And while, The Gown will absolutely appeal to those interested in the royal wedding, this is not a story about the royal family. This is, instead, a story about the women behind the scenes.

As the royal family sought to bring light to a country still emerging from the darkness of war, what was life like for the women working tirelessly behind them? This is a book about their friendships, their hardships, and their hope for the future during a time when hope was likely hard to find.

Ann, Miriam, and Heather are all characters who will warm your heart, and if you've read Goodnight From London, there are a few familiar faces you will meet again! And for the romance lovers, don't worry, there is still a touch of romance in this novel. 💗

There is so much truth and history in The Gown that I was regularly Googling post-war designers and dresses. I personally love it when books make me feel like looking things up. I love historical fiction for that very reason. I always believe that reading is a gateway to learning and to empathy for other people and other places. To that end, The Gown marries fiction and reality beautifully.


Disclaimer - I received a complementary copy of The Gown from Harper Collins Canada for review purposes. All thoughts and opinions are entirely my own.

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