Thursday, January 03, 2019

Royal Wedding Novel Interesting and Engaging

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

London, 1947—World War II ended two years ago, but the English are still living with ration books and food shortages, to say nothing of the sorrow that will forever haunt their hearts.  The announcement of a royal wedding between Princess Elizabeth and Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten is just the thing to lift spirits.  From drawing rooms to boardrooms to classrooms, everyone is abuzz with excitement.  For Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, both embroiderers at Norman Hartnell's Mayfair fashion house, the event is also causing more than a little stress.  Tasked with helping to create a wedding gown fit for a princess, they're working feverishly to finish the sumptuous, embroidery-laden dress in time.  When they're not laboring at work, they're falling in love, learning each other's secrets, and making decisions that will impact the rest of their lives and beyond.

Canada, 2016—When her beloved Nan dies, Heather MacKenzie inherits a box of beautiful, hand-stitched flowers.  Although they're exquisite, Heather can't imagine why Nan saved them or why she gifted them to her granddaughter.  What did the pieces mean to Nan, who Heather often saw knitting, but never embroidering?  Heather soon discovers that the flowers she's been given match those that were sewn on Queen Elizabeth's wedding dress in 1947, which is even more perplexing.  Did Nan, who never spoke about her past, have something to do with the famous gown?  If she did, why did she not mention it?  Realizing how little she really knew about her grandmother, Heather embarks on a quest to find out everything she can about the woman's mysterious past.

Dual timeline novels that explore interesting bits of history are my jam, so I couldn't wait to read The Gown, Jennifer Robson's newest.  It's an engaging novel with an intriguing setting, inlaid with fascinating details about the making of a luxurious wedding gown.  Neither of these elements overwhelm the story, which is, at its heart, really a tale of friendship between two women from different backgrounds who come together through their job.  Plotwise, the tale is very straightforward—a little too much so, really, since I kept waiting for a surprising twist to liven things up.  That didn't happen, which left me longing for a bit more development, both in plot and character.  Still, The Gown remains an easy, appealing read that I enjoyed overall.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of dual timeline novels by Susan Meissner and Kate Morton)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for brief, mild language (no F-bombs), violence (including a fairly graphic rape scene), mild innuendo

To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Gown from the generous folks at HarperCollins in exchange for an honest review.  Thank you!

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Interested in more opinions of The Gown?  Follow along on its book tour, organized by TLC Book Tours, by clicking on the following links:

Monday, December 31st: Instagram: @ladyofthelibrary
Wednesday, January 2nd: Instagram: @my_book_journey_
Wednesday, January 2nd: 5 Minutes For Books
Thursday, January 3rd: As I turn the pages
Thursday, January 3rd: Bloggin' 'Bout Books
Friday, January 4th: Into the Hall of Books
Friday, January 4th: Laura's Reviews
Monday, January 7th: BookNAround
Monday, January 7th: InkyMoments
Tuesday, January 8th: Jessicamap Reviews
Wednesday, January 9th: Instagram: @giuliland
Thursday, January 10th: A Chick Who Reads
Friday, January 11th: Lindsay's Book Reviews
Monday, January 14th: Instagram: @ciannereads
Tuesday, January 15th: Instagram: @sjwonderlandz
Tuesday, January 15th: Based on a True Story
Wednesday, January 16th: Always With a Book
Wednesday, January 16th: Instagram: @tbretc
Thursday, January 17th: Instagram: @somekindofalibrary
Thursday, January 17th: Doing Dewey
Thursday, January 17th: Instagram: @theunreadshelf
Friday, January 18th: Broken Teepee
Tuesday, January 22nd: A Bookish Way of Life

5 comments:

  1. I'm thinking of trying this one. Our mystery group discussed THE ALICE NETWORK last night. Have you read that one? I'll try to have a recap early next week.

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    Replies
    1. You should! It's an easy, interesting read. Not the most textured novel in the world, but one that I think most historical fiction fans would like.

      I have not read THE ALICE NETWORK. I started it, but I put it down for some reason and haven't picked it up again. Did you like it?

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  2. There is something about a Royal wedding that I just love!

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  3. I'm so intrigued by this book. I love everything British Royal Wedding so I think I would like this. I appreciate your review as I wait impatiently for my library to get it in!

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