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The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding

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From the internationally bestselling author of Somewhere in France comes an enthralling historical novel about one of the most famous wedding dresses of the twentieth century—Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown—and the fascinating women who made it. “Millions will welcome this joyous event as a flash of color on the long road we have to travel.”—Sir Winston Churchill on the news From the internationally bestselling author of Somewhere in France comes an enthralling historical novel about one of the most famous wedding dresses of the twentieth century—Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown—and the fascinating women who made it. “Millions will welcome this joyous event as a flash of color on the long road we have to travel.”—Sir Winston Churchill on the news of Princess Elizabeth’s forthcoming wedding 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.


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From the internationally bestselling author of Somewhere in France comes an enthralling historical novel about one of the most famous wedding dresses of the twentieth century—Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown—and the fascinating women who made it. “Millions will welcome this joyous event as a flash of color on the long road we have to travel.”—Sir Winston Churchill on the news From the internationally bestselling author of Somewhere in France comes an enthralling historical novel about one of the most famous wedding dresses of the twentieth century—Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown—and the fascinating women who made it. “Millions will welcome this joyous event as a flash of color on the long road we have to travel.”—Sir Winston Churchill on the news of Princess Elizabeth’s forthcoming wedding 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.

30 review for The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding

  1. 4 out of 5

    Erin

    I won The Gown in a Goodreads giveaway. 4.5 Stars I'm going to be perfectly honest with you. The Gown is a great book and I loved it for its entertainment value. Its a beautifully written story and the characters are so alive that they just suck you in. But I also loved this book because it was my first time winning a giveaway. So that definitely did get factored into my rating. I'm just being honest. It felt good to win a free book that I was actually really interested in reading. I, like a lot o I won The Gown in a Goodreads giveaway. 4.5 Stars I'm going to be perfectly honest with you. The Gown is a great book and I loved it for its entertainment value. Its a beautifully written story and the characters are so alive that they just suck you in. But I also loved this book because it was my first time winning a giveaway. So that definitely did get factored into my rating. I'm just being honest. It felt good to win a free book that I was actually really interested in reading. I, like a lot of Americans woke up at an unreasonable hour (4AM) to watch The Royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. I'm not a huge fan of the Royal family but I have become way more interest in them this year between the wedding and the tv show The Crown. So when I saw this was up for a giveaway I immediately entered to win it, never actually expecting to win it. But I Did Haters!!!!! The Gown is my favorite kind of Historical Fiction, the kind that mixes real people with fictional characters. The Gown reminded me a lot of a Beatriz Williams novels in that it took place in two separate time periods. The first time period is 1947 and features 2 young women who become friends while working on future Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. The other time period is the present and features the granddaughter of one of the women and her quest to learn more about her beloved late grandmother. This book covers a lot of important issues like rape, the Holocaust, anti semitism, feminism, first love, grief and PTSD. I loved this book and I had fun reading it. I also spent a lot of time Googling people and events mentioned in this book. This book doesn't come out until January but I suggest you guys preorder it now because I think its gonna be a very popular book. Also its once again being featured as a Giveaway, so enter to possibly win it. Read This Book!!!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Katie B

    Even though this historical fiction book revolves around the making of Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown, there surprisingly is a fair amount of depth to the story. I actually picked this one up because I thought it would be a nice escape from some stressful life events and while it certainly provided a welcome distraction, I did find myself feeling more emotionally invested in some of the characters than I initially had predicted. Sometimes a book finds a way into your hands at the perfect time an Even though this historical fiction book revolves around the making of Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown, there surprisingly is a fair amount of depth to the story. I actually picked this one up because I thought it would be a nice escape from some stressful life events and while it certainly provided a welcome distraction, I did find myself feeling more emotionally invested in some of the characters than I initially had predicted. Sometimes a book finds a way into your hands at the perfect time and that certainly was the case here. While World War 2 was over, life in London in 1947 was pretty bleak but the country did have the upcoming wedding of Princess Elizabeth to look forward to. Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin are part of a team of embroiderers and seamstresses that have been tasked with the making of the wedding gown. Fast forward to 2016 where Heather has found a set of embroidered flowers in her late grandmother's possessions. Not knowing why her grandmother, Nan, had them to begin with, Heather embarks on a quest to find out more about Nan's mysterious life when she lived in London decades ago as it was a topic that always seemed to be off-limits in the family. In regards to the historical accuracy of the book, this is a case of the author taking some known facts about the making of the wedding gown but also largely using her imagination in regards to the story. The main characters in the book do not exist in real life which might disappoint some historical fiction fans but I thought what the author came up with in terms of a story still makes for a compelling read. I highly recommend reading the author's note at the end as it provides a good context into her writing process. I like how the novel touched on what life was like in London a few years after the war as it's not a topic explored nearly as much as it could be in books. Miriam's backstory brought a lot of depth to her character. But for me the most meaningful part of the story was the special relationship between Heather and her grandmother and how fortunate I was to have that same connection with my grandmother. I don't think you necessarily have to be a fan of fashion or the royals to enjoy this book. It's just a good, solid read with strong female characters and I don't hesitate to recommend giving it a chance.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader

    5 stars to this story of strength and friendship! ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ Happy New Year to all my Goodreads friends! 🥳 🎉 🥂 Told in three voices over two time periods, The Gown is a stunning story. In 1947 London, knee deep in a harsh winter with heavy rationing, the war has left its indelible mark. Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin are embroiderers working at the famous Mayfair owned by Norman Hartnell. Why is Hartnell famous? For designing clothing for the princesses. And what is the assignment of the 20th centu 5 stars to this story of strength and friendship! ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ Happy New Year to all my Goodreads friends! 🥳 🎉 🥂 Told in three voices over two time periods, The Gown is a stunning story. In 1947 London, knee deep in a harsh winter with heavy rationing, the war has left its indelible mark. Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin are embroiderers working at the famous Mayfair owned by Norman Hartnell. Why is Hartnell famous? For designing clothing for the princesses. And what is the assignment of the 20th century that has befallen them? Making none other than future Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown. In Toronto present day, Heather Mackenzie has found a set of embroidered flowers passed down from her beloved late grandmother. Heather discovers the flowers look much like those on Queen Elizabeth’s gown, and she wants to know why. She also uncovers a connection between her grandmother and Norman Hartnell who was known to have designed the Queen’s wedding dress. The Gown is a well-researched work of historical fiction. The detail kept me entranced and also had me googling and yearning to know more. The friendship that forms between Anne and Miriam is tenderly drawn, and the emotional bonds and healing that resulted from that relationship is awe-inspiring. I didn’t expect to be as absorbed in The Gown as I was. It can be hard to focus during the holidays, and my mind was in so many places. It served as a wonderful reminder of why I read historical fiction; to be transported to a different time and place and to learn. The Gown is an exquisite story of strength and friendship from start to finish. Highly recommended! Thank you to the publisher for the complimentary copy. All opinions are my own. My reviews can also be found on my blog: www.jennifertarheelreader.com

  4. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Jennifer Robson appeals to those who love all things ‘British Royals’ as well as fans of historical fiction with her latest piece. How something like the wedding gown worn by Princess Elizabeth could garner so much attention may confound some, but it all becomes clear by the end of this novel. Ann Hughes is employed by Norman Hartnell , a high-end couturier that has recently been asked to make some dresses for the Royal Family. So busy is the shop that when Miriam Dassin arrives from France, her Jennifer Robson appeals to those who love all things ‘British Royals’ as well as fans of historical fiction with her latest piece. How something like the wedding gown worn by Princess Elizabeth could garner so much attention may confound some, but it all becomes clear by the end of this novel. Ann Hughes is employed by Norman Hartnell , a high-end couturier that has recently been asked to make some dresses for the Royal Family. So busy is the shop that when Miriam Dassin arrives from France, her skills make her a wonderful addition to the group of embroiderers. While the group gets to know a little more about Miriam, they learn that she is quite tight-lipped about her life before coming to England, as though it is all a major secret. Soon thereafter, Hartnell is told that his shop will be making Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown, creating a buzz amongst the embroiderers. As Ann and Miriam work, they grow closer to one another, slowly divulging secrets about their respective pasts. When not working on the gown—a top-secret project—they find themselves discovering the allure of the opposite sex. As both Miriam and Ann are young and unmarried, it only makes sense that they turn a few heads. The story tells how both women discover love amidst the backdrop of the most sought after social event of 1947. Speed ahead to Toronto in 2016, Ann’s granddaughter, Heather, makes a discover she will not soon forget. Learning that her grandmother worked on the current Queen’s wedding gown, Heather rushes to England to discover a little more, knowing little about her grandmother’s past before arriving in Canada. It is there that she learns that the famous designer, Miriam Dassin, not only knew her grandmother, but worked alongside her. As Heather makes meaningful connections in England to better understand the life her grandmother left behind, she is touched beyond belief to better understand the life Miriam lived before making it to England to work on the project of a lifetime. Uplifting and heartwarming, as well as full of historical anecdotes, Robson dazzles readers with this piece that is sure to create quite the fanfare! Recommended for those who enjoy historical fiction, as well as the reader whose interest is piqued by talk of royal events. While I tend not to read stories with strong romantic undertones, I could not help but want to read this piece. I noticed its premise—the wedding gown to the current Queen of Canada—and could not help but wonder if the threads of historical fiction would counterbalance the amorous themes. Robson not only details the characters, but creates a persona of the gown as it is being created. Ann Hughes is a young woman whose life has centred around her sketches and ability to embroider Given this chance to work on the gown, she puts her all into it, perhaps blinded by the world around her and those seeking an early peek at this most talked about piece of fabric. Miriam Dassin has been through so much even before she graces the pages of this book, showing how her backstory helps push her into a world of excitement and secrets, all of which are slowly revealed. Heather’s revelations about her grandmother exemplify for the reader just how little was know about Ann before she arrived in Canada, leaving her family in the dark. As these three women grow in their respective storylines, the one thing tying them all together is the wedding gown, whose importance pales in comparison to the life lessons discovered, but seems to be something about which all three women can use to grow in their own way. The story proves strong and lasts, keeping the reader hooked through the various shifts in time. While there is a regal theme throughout, this does not drown out some of the other narratives that blossom as the story gets more intense. Robson has a way of keeping the narrative flowing without the need to spin the reader in circles. While this is the first piece of Jennifer Robson’s that I have read, I hope it will not be the last. Kudos, Madam Robson, for a piece that entertained me throughout, while keeping me wondering what awaited around the next corner. You deserve all the praise you receive and I am eager to explore what else you’ve written in your career. Love/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/ A Book for All Seasons, a different sort of Book Challenge: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kate Quinn

    I had a chance to read this for a cover quote, and devoured it! My quote: "Jennifer Robson embroiders life, friendship, and hope into the somber gray world of post-war London every bit as skillfully as her seamstress heroines embroider crystal flowers into the folds of a royal wedding dress. Miriam and Ann are both battling inner demons when they meet in the backroom of England's most famous couture house, but the chance of a lifetime--the task of embroidering Princess Elizabeth's gown for the w I had a chance to read this for a cover quote, and devoured it! My quote: "Jennifer Robson embroiders life, friendship, and hope into the somber gray world of post-war London every bit as skillfully as her seamstress heroines embroider crystal flowers into the folds of a royal wedding dress. Miriam and Ann are both battling inner demons when they meet in the backroom of England's most famous couture house, but the chance of a lifetime--the task of embroidering Princess Elizabeth's gown for the wedding of the century--will open new doors for both women, and lay the foundations of a mystery to be unraveled seventy years later by their grandchildren. THE GOWN is marvelous and moving, a vivid portrait of female self-reliance in a world racked by the cost of war."

  6. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    Thanks to Goodreads Giveaway, author Jennifer Robson, and HarperCollins Publishers for a print copy of this book Jennifer Robson rarely disappoints me and I always look forward to seeing where she is going to take her readers next.  The Gown is referring to the wedding dress of the young Princess Elizabeth that she wore when she wed Philip Mountbatten in 1947. But this is not told from Elizabeth's point of view, rather, Robson, decides to focus on the women that worked on the young royal's dre Thanks to Goodreads Giveaway, author Jennifer Robson, and HarperCollins Publishers for a print copy of this book Jennifer Robson rarely disappoints me and I always look forward to seeing where she is going to take her readers next.  The Gown is referring to the wedding dress of the young Princess Elizabeth that she wore when she wed Philip Mountbatten in 1947. But this is not told from Elizabeth's point of view, rather, Robson, decides to focus on the women that worked on the young royal's dress. So we are introduced to Ann, an English woman working for Couturier Norman Hartnell and new employee, Miriam, a Frenchwoman who survived the horrors of Ravensbruck concentration camp. Robson also inserts the 2016 storyline of Canadian Heather Mackenzie, who is left something by her Nan that sets her on a course to uncover this little known wedding story. I absolutely adored all three of Robson's characters and she presents her readers with a vivid depiction of post war London, still on ration cards and rebuilding after the war. It stands to reason that a royal wedding would have so much excitement around it and we certainly can feel that especially from Ann's persepective. Given the fact that Netflix's < i> The Crown has made a new generation of people fascinated with the life of Queen Elizabeth II, this book serves as a tempatation that is difficult to resist. Just an absolutely beautiful story that is certainly going to be on my favorites list for 2019.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Tina

    FIVE GLOWING STARS!! ***** Let me start by saying I'm a devoted,"Royal Watcher." It all started when I was 11 years old and saw Lady Diana Spencer marry Prince Charles. Watching it felt like a fairytale coming true. The beautiful, young, bride with the long flowing "Princess" gown displayed in its full glory along the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral took my breath away. That started my interest and it grew into the whole British Royal Family and then eventually to all European Royal Families. (Prin FIVE GLOWING STARS!! ***** Let me start by saying I'm a devoted,"Royal Watcher." It all started when I was 11 years old and saw Lady Diana Spencer marry Prince Charles. Watching it felt like a fairytale coming true. The beautiful, young, bride with the long flowing "Princess" gown displayed in its full glory along the steps of St. Paul's Cathedral took my breath away. That started my interest and it grew into the whole British Royal Family and then eventually to all European Royal Families. (Princess Grace and the Monaco Royals were another favourite of mine too!) So, when I won this book on a Goodreads giveaway you can imagine how ecstatic I was! Well, this book did not disappoint me! I did not know that much about Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown but the cover was beautiful. Her gown was exquisite! First off I loved the writing style! The words just flowed beautifully and I was immersed fully into another time. Jennifer Robson has a way with words. The story is told in Post World War II time (1947) and present day. The 1947 story revolves around 2 characters. Ann Hughes, and Miriam Dassin. They are fictional characters who work for the famous Norman Hartnell Fashion Design House in London. They are embroiderers who are working on the wedding gown of the then Princess Elizabeth. The wedding brings an excitement to England after the War. As the women work on the famous wedding gown their own stories start to enfold. The third story of the journalist named Heather begins in Canada in present time. She begins to unravel the story of Ann and Miriam in England. This book was written and researched very well. I so loved that part of the story took place in Toronto, Canada. It was a pleasure to read about local areas and attractions. The stories of all 3 women were equally enjoyable. I was captivated from beginning to end. I would highly recommend this book for Historical-Fiction fans!

  8. 4 out of 5

    Marialyce

    4 lovely historical stars It was for England in 1947 and the world longed for a bit of time when they could forget their troubles and revel in the beautiful fairly tale wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Philip Mountbatten. Englanders was ready for some happiness, some joy in their lives, and this wedding, this dress, this occasion would be just the ticket for some hours of gaiety after the long hard won war. Told with a well thought out, well researched background, we are led into the world of the 4 lovely historical stars It was for England in 1947 and the world longed for a bit of time when they could forget their troubles and revel in the beautiful fairly tale wedding of Princess Elizabeth to Philip Mountbatten. Englanders was ready for some happiness, some joy in their lives, and this wedding, this dress, this occasion would be just the ticket for some hours of gaiety after the long hard won war. Told with a well thought out, well researched background, we are led into the world of the designer Norman Hartnell, the man who made and designed clothes for royalty and of course the wealthy. We are given an in depth look into the lives of two fictional women who were embroiderers and worked on Elizabeth's gown. It was a monumental effort and all the ladies involved were ever so honored to be chosen for this task. The main protagonists are ones who were deeply affected by the war. One of them, Miriam Dassin, a French Jewish girl, lost family and everything during the Nazi occupation. She immigrates to England and starts her job at Hartnell's. The other girl, Ann Hughes, has also suffered the hardships of war, losing her much loved family member is dead, and having her sister in law immigrated to Canada. Working at Hartnells, Miriam and Ann form a deep friendship. They share their woes and their dreams and memories of the past with hope for the future. This job of being embroiderers was indeed, for them, a dream job. The author does a fine job capturing the sentiment of the time and the utter enthusiasm of the British populace for this glimpse of wedding happiness. She has the book flip back and forth between time periods, one now in the present and one in the past of the late 1940s. She introduces Ann's granddaughter who through an inheritance of embroidered flowers, seeks to find the story of her grandmother that she never knew. Interspersed between the stories of these two girls, is the making of the gown. The detail, the design, the hours spent working on this dress made one know so well how dutifully these women and Mr Hartnell took their job of making a dress fit for a Princess. I so enjoy historical fiction and this book managed to educate me on many things I was never aware of.. such as the ration books used by the people as well as by the Royal Family, even after the war was over, as well as the lovely story behind how each girl working at Hartnell's were able to sew a stitch on Elizabeth's dress thus ensuring their part in its making. When you learn something from a book, it ever so fascinating. To all of us who so enjoy historical fiction book, this is one I recommend. My reviews can also be seen here: http://yayareadslotsofbooks.wordpress...

  9. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie

    I admit that I requested The Gown because I was struck by that stunning cover and the title! I'm admittedly an enormous anglophile and lover of the British monarchy so when I saw the picture of the then Princess Elizabeth in her gorgeous wedding gown, I knew this book would blow me away. Did it ever! But not for any of the reasons that I thought it would! I expected to mostly read about the young lovestruck princess and her handsome soon to be husband but instead, Jennifer Robson has carefully c I admit that I requested The Gown because I was struck by that stunning cover and the title! I'm admittedly an enormous anglophile and lover of the British monarchy so when I saw the picture of the then Princess Elizabeth in her gorgeous wedding gown, I knew this book would blow me away. Did it ever! But not for any of the reasons that I thought it would! I expected to mostly read about the young lovestruck princess and her handsome soon to be husband but instead, Jennifer Robson has carefully crafted a very accurate, detailed, engrossing,  and often poignant novel about the lives of three fascinating women--one living in 2016 and the other two living post-World War II in 1947.  The novel is told from the different viewpoints of the three very incredible young women and Robson skillfully intertwines their stories together into one beautifully depicted and outstanding story of family, love, loss, pain, but most of all the importance of friendships and the amazing power of resilience during difficult times.   In 2016, Heather Mackenzie's beloved Nan, Ann, has just died and left her a box filled with lovely, embroidered flower motifs. As far as she knows, her Nan couldn't sew, so how did she have such gorgeous embroideries in her possession? Heather, a journalist, knows there is a mystery behind the embroidered flowers and about her Nan's past which she knows so very little, so she begins to research both.   As Heather begins to unravel her grandmother's secrets, she is shocked to discover the embroidered motifs match the ones on Queen Elizabeth II's wedding gown from 1947. Not only that, she finds old pictures that suggest her Nan worked for Norman Hartnell, Britain's leading couturier and designer of the Queen's wedding dress, and that she was friends with famous artist and Holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin. Heather's discoveries take her on a journey from Toronto to London where she learns about her Nan's past with the help of a new friend who helps her connect with someone special from Ann's old life.  In 1947, London is still reeling and recovering from WWII. Ann Hughes has lost everyone she's loved to either the war or sickness and is completely alone in the world. She's a proud, smart, kind young woman and has been working as an embroiderer at Norman Hartnell's Mayfair fashion house since she was a very young girl. She's extremely talented and now one of the top embroiderers at the shop. Still, she's lonely with no family or close friends, and money is very tight since rationing is still a part of British life even two years after the war, yet Ann doesn't complain and makes do with what she has. Miriam Dassin newly immigrates to London in 1947 from Paris where she lost her entire family to Nazi persecution during the war. She's a brilliant artist and embroiderer with references from Christian Dior, so its no wonder that Mr. Hartnell immediately hires her and she's put to work alongside Ann, who she becomes good friends with and soon becomes Ann's roommate. However, Miriam is still haunted by what she endured during her imprisonment at Ravensbrück and is terrified to tell anyone, even Ann, because she is frightened of anyone knowing she is a Jew. The announcement of the Princess' engagement and Hartnell's commission to design and create her wedding dress is very exciting for all the seamstresses and embroiderers at Hartnell's! Both Ann and Miriam are given the job to embroider the most important and delicate parts of the dress and the train, not only an honor but a job they must never talk about with anyone since the dress design must remain secret until the Princess' wedding day!  The meticulous research and attention to detail in The Gown makes this book well worth the read. Any historical fiction worth reading should be well researched, and Robson raised the bar here. I love how real characters and facts are interwoven with her fictional ones, and it was amazing to read about how the dressmakers worked so hard to create the Queen's famous and oh, so gorgeous wedding dress! I go gaga over these gowns, but I don't think that I've ever once stopped to think about the work that has gone into making one of them! It's amazing how hard the work was and how dedicated these women were in not only making this gown but keeping the gown's design secret from spies and journalists who were offering bribes in exchange for the dress' pattern-I didn't realize they had crazed paparazzi types back then! Very crazy! I love historical fiction, and The Gown is truly an excellent work of historical fiction. It captured me from the very first page and never let go. As I already said, it wasn't what I expected and for that, I'm so very glad because it was so much more. I loved the friendships that Robson depicts in the novel because they are meaningful and true. For me, she shows how women's friendships are meant to be trustworthy, healing, nurturing, and to lift each other up instead of using and hurting one another, and I loved that so much. Obviously, I'm highly recommending this book! You don't have to love the royal family to enjoy this one since they only play a very minor role. If you like historical fiction, then this is a beautiful novel that will sweep you away with its affecting story of courage and friendship. It publishes December 31, 2018! **Thank you Edelweiss and William Morrow for an ARC to read in exchange for my fair and honest review. **

  10. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Burnett

    While The Gown is a heartfelt tale about the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown, it is also ultimately the story of three women who strive to find their place in the world and how each deals with love, loss, and family. The book is told in a dual timeline format with Miriam’s and Ann’s stories taking place in 1947, and Heather’s in 2016. In the midst of the harshest winter in memory and shortages still resulting from the war, England welcomes the engagement of Princess Elizabeth to Li While The Gown is a heartfelt tale about the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown, it is also ultimately the story of three women who strive to find their place in the world and how each deals with love, loss, and family. The book is told in a dual timeline format with Miriam’s and Ann’s stories taking place in 1947, and Heather’s in 2016. In the midst of the harshest winter in memory and shortages still resulting from the war, England welcomes the engagement of Princess Elizabeth to Lieutenant Philip Mountbatten. Norman Hartnell is chosen to design her gown, and Miriam and Ann are chosen to help embroider the creation. Years later following her grandmother’s death, Heather uncovers a box with her name on containing some beautifully embroidered flowers. As the women’s tales unfold, the connection between them all is slowly unveiled in a touching and realistic manner. While I am a lover of history and particularly tales about woman who have made a positive impact on our world, I have never really had much interest in England’s modern day royal family so I have to say I was not totally sure whether this book would appeal to me. I am so glad I decided to read it anyway because it is a fascinating and beautiful tale which touches briefly on then Princess Elizabeth and her family but mainly details the creation of the wedding gown and the despondency of London following the end of World War 2. It is a true page turner, and I finished it in under 24 hours. Robson exhaustively researched the time period resulting in a descriptive and compelling tale of courage and triumph in the face of horrible shortages and grim weather conditions. I was surprised to learn that the end of the war was not the end of wartime rationing in London and how harsh living conditions were for London residents long after the war had ended. I highly recommend The Gown. As only wonderfully written historical fiction can do, The Gown transports the reader to war-torn London and allows the reader a glimpse into a bygone era and events that are not commonly known today.

  11. 5 out of 5

    MaryBeth's Bookshelf

    Thank you TLC Book Tours for gifting me a copy of The Gown in exchange for an honest review. It is no secret that Historical Fiction is my favorite genre to read and The Royal Family are my favorite people to obsess over. So, of course, I would have to read The Gown, a fictionalized account of the Norman Hartwell's fashion house as they created Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown in 1947. The story focuses on Ann Hughes and Miriam Dessin, two young girls working for Mr. Hartwell. The story jumps ah Thank you TLC Book Tours for gifting me a copy of The Gown in exchange for an honest review. It is no secret that Historical Fiction is my favorite genre to read and The Royal Family are my favorite people to obsess over. So, of course, I would have to read The Gown, a fictionalized account of the Norman Hartwell's fashion house as they created Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown in 1947. The story focuses on Ann Hughes and Miriam Dessin, two young girls working for Mr. Hartwell. The story jumps ahead in time to Heather MacKenzie and her quest to understand more about the beloved woman she called "Nan." Her journey takes her to London and discover more about her grandmother. I absolutely loved this book. Loved the history, loved the fashion, loved the characters. It was the perfect read for HF lovers.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Chanel Cleeton

    A moving story of life after the end of World War II centered on the women behind the scenes of the joyous occasion of Queen Elizabeth's wedding. A celebration of strength, resilience, and friendship, The Gown transports readers as Robson offers a richly detailed and meticulously researched glimpse of daily life in post-war Britain. An enchanting must-read for historical fiction fans!

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tammy

    Jennifer Robson was written a beautiful story of the ladies that created Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. I have always been fascinated by the monarchy and loved reading The Gown. The story is told from three viewpoints. In 1947, Ann and Miriam are young embroiderers and have been chosen to work on Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. There is a bit of intrigue as the details of the gown are top secret and the press is constantly hounding them for details. As the story unfolds, we learn more about Ann Jennifer Robson was written a beautiful story of the ladies that created Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. I have always been fascinated by the monarchy and loved reading The Gown. The story is told from three viewpoints. In 1947, Ann and Miriam are young embroiderers and have been chosen to work on Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. There is a bit of intrigue as the details of the gown are top secret and the press is constantly hounding them for details. As the story unfolds, we learn more about Ann and Miriam's history. In 2016, Heather travels to London in the hopes of discovering more about her late grandmother. Jennifer Robson does a marvelous job of weaving an unforgettable story and giving us a peek behind the scenes of the creation of this beautiful gown!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    The Gown takes place in two time periods: 1947 in post war London where people are trying to deal with the war’s brutal aftermath and the embroiderers of the Norman Hartnell fashion house, particularly Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, are tasked with making the wedding gown for then Princess Elizabeth; and Toronto, 2016, where Heather Mackenzie finds a box marked with her name with embroidery samples that match Princess Elizabeth’s gown and photos from an earlier time, left to her by her beloved “N The Gown takes place in two time periods: 1947 in post war London where people are trying to deal with the war’s brutal aftermath and the embroiderers of the Norman Hartnell fashion house, particularly Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, are tasked with making the wedding gown for then Princess Elizabeth; and Toronto, 2016, where Heather Mackenzie finds a box marked with her name with embroidery samples that match Princess Elizabeth’s gown and photos from an earlier time, left to her by her beloved “Nan”, who had recently passed away. Heather has no idea who made the embroidery pieces and who else besides her Nan are in the photos and why her grandmother left them to her, but she is determined to find out. So she heads to London to discover her grandmother’s past. The lives of these three women make up the bulk of the story. Each character is wonderfully portrayed, as are the supporting characters. You really get invested in them all. The author develops an incredible sense of place in post-war London. You can feel the biting cold of the horrible winter, you become hungry right along with Ann and Miriam as they try to make their meager rations last. (Sardines on toast for dinner? Yuck!) You feel the outrage of the division of the classes: the haves and have nots in society. But most of all, you marvel at all the work and skill went into the making of this dress and others like it. The Gown is ostensibly an historical fiction account of the making of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown in 1947. But it is much more than that. It touches on many issues: friendship, loyalty, The Holocaust, rape, class division, shame, the realities of living in a past-war city and more. These issues are all dealt with in a very sensitive way. The writing is good, but not great. At times it devolves into “chic-lit” like prose, which makes it a fairly light read. But it is good enough to make you keep turning the pages. I could not stop reading this book, maybe except when I was googling pictures of THE gown and other dresses by Norman Hartnell. The author did a lot of research on the gown and the time period and it shows in this book. I absolutely recommend this book with the caveat that it won’t challenge you, but you will enjoy it anyway.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Zoe

    Evocative, enchanting, and beautifully written! The Gown is a captivating, sentimental tale predominantly set in London post-WWII, as well as present day, that follows the lives of three main characters.  Ann, a young talented embroider employed by the esteemed Norman Hartnell; Miriam, a Holocaust survivor and émigré from France who becomes Ann's coworker and close friend; and Heather, Ann's granddaughter who after discovering embroidered flowers in her grandmother's possessions after her passing Evocative, enchanting, and beautifully written! The Gown is a captivating, sentimental tale predominantly set in London post-WWII, as well as present day, that follows the lives of three main characters.  Ann, a young talented embroider employed by the esteemed Norman Hartnell; Miriam, a Holocaust survivor and émigré from France who becomes Ann's coworker and close friend; and Heather, Ann's granddaughter who after discovering embroidered flowers in her grandmother's possessions after her passing embarks on a journey to determine their significance. The prose is eloquent and well turned.  The characters are flawed, multifaceted, hardworking, and brave. And the plot, along with all the seamlessly intertwined subplots, is an impressive mix of drama, familial dynamics, emotion, secrets, love, loss, duty, heartbreak, passion, and courage; as well as an insightful look at life in postwar London and the importance of female friendships. Overall, The Gown is a wonderful blend of historical facts and compelling fiction that's mesmerizing, gripping, nostalgic and perfect for those who love anything royal. Thank you to William Morrow and Goodreads Giveaways for my copy!

  16. 5 out of 5

    Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede

    So, what makes a story about a gown so special? In this case, it's the wedding gown that Princess Elizabeth wore at her wedding. Jennifer Robson has woven together a fascinating tale about two women that worked on the gown and a young woman that discovers her grandmother has some skeletons in her closet... READ THE REST OF THE REVIEW OVER AT FRESH FICTION!

  17. 5 out of 5

    Pam Jenoff

    Already heralded by The Washington Post, People, USA Today and numerous others, this is the incredible story of the making of Queen Elizabeth's gown and the remarkable women who made it. And it is out today!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Asheley

    4.5/5 The Gown by Jennifer Robson tells the stories of three women: Ann and Miriam, who are embroiderers working quietly behind-the-scenes to make a Royal wedding gown in 1947, and a young woman named Heather who is working to piece together her grandmother’s mysterious past in 2016. The alternating time periods worked really well here to build up the story as a whole and to make the complete picture more robust. Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin are working for the famous designer Normal Hartnell in t 4.5/5 The Gown by Jennifer Robson tells the stories of three women: Ann and Miriam, who are embroiderers working quietly behind-the-scenes to make a Royal wedding gown in 1947, and a young woman named Heather who is working to piece together her grandmother’s mysterious past in 2016. The alternating time periods worked really well here to build up the story as a whole and to make the complete picture more robust. Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin are working for the famous designer Normal Hartnell in the 1940’s. Hartnell is well-known for making clothes for the Royal family, and Ann delights in the fact that her work is worn by the Queen. Ann went to work at Hartnell at the tender age of fourteen, just out of school, as an apprentice. She was trained in his studio and is one of the very best. Miriam survived the Holocaust and then emigrated from France after enduring some of the most horrific things imaginable, and she was hired on the spot by Mr. Hartnell after working with none other than Christian Dior. Miriam and Ann become friends outside of work and roommates shortly after, and they worked well together on the Royal clothing for the upcoming wedding. Many years later, Heather Mackenzie’s beloved grandmother has unexpected passed away and with her, it seems she has taken the secrets of her past. She has left Heather a box with some curious things inside: a few pieces of finely embroidered fabric and a photo. As Heather begins to dig into the origin of these pieces, she can hardly believe their history and her grandmother’s secret past. One one hand, she is profoundly proud of her grandmother. But on the other hand, why didn’t her grandmother tell anyone in her family about her past from before she moved to Canada? Any little bit at all? And why did she move to Canada in the first place? Listen, when I saw the cover of this book, I nearly passed out with the need to read it. Like so many of you, I am stricken with the love-for-all-things-Royal: the thing that gets us out of bed at 4:00 a.m. to see the Royal weddings, the thing that has us combing the Royal social media feeds. I also love historical fiction with the burning passion of a thousand fiery suns. So I thought this would be a perfect combination for me in terms of a great read and I WAS SO RIGHT. It is interesting, though, that it wasn’t written exactly in the way I had imagined it. There was surprisingly little about the wedding in it. I love love love the way the wedding and wedding preparation took a nice backseat to the making of the garment and to how difficult it was to keep the details about the dress a secret. I love the way the story featured Ann and Miriam instead of the Royal family. Sure, they make appearance, but they’re never the main players. This story is strictly about the embroiderers and their quest to make this the most beautiful wedding gown possible for their Royal family. The Gown was also about the hard conditions they endured right after the war and the joy the dressmaking brought to their lives. It was about the small things that these women found comfort in when there was so little in the way of creature comforts. It was about friendship and about their heartaches and the things that had happened to them that they wanted to keep buried in the past. I loved every single page of it, even the painful ones. Of course I also loved Heather’s portion of the story and her quest to figure out the history of her grandmother. I can’t imagine not knowing anything at all about someone so pivotal in my life, as it seems that Heather’s grandmother was her everything. Heather’s trip to England to “find” her grandmother was fun to read but it also tugged at my heartstrings as I wished she could just have a chat with the woman and ask her questions and hear the answers she needed. Heather’s part of the story was very good, but I loved hearing from Ann and Miriam more. The Gown is wonderful. It’s a definite recommendation for those that love historical fiction that weaves together past and present, and for those that have a special interest in anything-Royal. I would say that readers that like having that little touch of a mystery in their stories will enjoy this one too, because I wasn’t expecting that in this story but I found that it was the surprise that kept me turning the pages quickly; like Heather, I wanted to know the answers to questions that I had. I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review. Thank you, William Morrow Books! Find this review and more like it on my blog, Into the Hall of Books!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Susan Peterson

    Jennifer Robson has written a very touching novel about the women who made the glorious wedding gown that Princess Elizabeth wore when she married in 1947. This historical novel gives us intimate details of not only the gown, but also of what it was like in post-war Europe. What I loved most about the book was the friendship between Ann and Miriam; I was very moved by their story. This is the perfect book for anyone who is enthralled by the Royal Family!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Lynn Horton

    I was hesitant to read The Gown. The hullabaloo about Markle and Harry put me off the premise, although their wedding probably helped the author sell some books. However, I enjoyed this story, in no small part because in my younger years, I sewed. Robson nailed the fabric characteristics, dressmaker environment, and hand-embroidery process. When she talks about satin slipping and fraying, she's right. When she talks about being blinded by looking at the same color all day, she'd right. The charac I was hesitant to read The Gown. The hullabaloo about Markle and Harry put me off the premise, although their wedding probably helped the author sell some books. However, I enjoyed this story, in no small part because in my younger years, I sewed. Robson nailed the fabric characteristics, dressmaker environment, and hand-embroidery process. When she talks about satin slipping and fraying, she's right. When she talks about being blinded by looking at the same color all day, she'd right. The characters were charming enough, if expected: the uppercrust-but-broke cad, the working girl who gets in trouble thanks to aforementioned cad, the Jewess who survives Nazi-occupied France. There's a predictable contemporary romance as well, but it neatly ties off the story. Robson's writing is always strong and clear, and she works deftly with these characters and storyline. But the details she imagined (and she's probably dead-on about most of them) surrounding the creation of Queen Elizabeth's wedding dress engaged me most, and the dressmaker bits and pieces made the story.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sharlene

    Truly a beautiful, moving story of the women that worked on Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. The story focuses on 3 young women, two in the 40s that are working on the gown, Ann and Miriam and one in present time, Heather who is Ann's granddaughter. I found the book hard to put down and very immersive. I felt in the moment with the story. Loved all the details of how one embroiders a wedding dress and the many hours of hard work that goes into it. I would recommend this book to all that love histori Truly a beautiful, moving story of the women that worked on Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown. The story focuses on 3 young women, two in the 40s that are working on the gown, Ann and Miriam and one in present time, Heather who is Ann's granddaughter. I found the book hard to put down and very immersive. I felt in the moment with the story. Loved all the details of how one embroiders a wedding dress and the many hours of hard work that goes into it. I would recommend this book to all that love historical fiction.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Whitney

    Overall: An engaging story focused on the embroiders who created Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress. Told from three perspectives (one current and two post WWII), this story is interesting and offers some insight onto those who are often overlooked at the time of the Royal Wedding. I would have enjoyed less romance, not so much drama added for the sake of increasing depth, and more focus on the history of these women who created the dress. All in all though, an interesting and positive story I w Overall: An engaging story focused on the embroiders who created Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress. Told from three perspectives (one current and two post WWII), this story is interesting and offers some insight onto those who are often overlooked at the time of the Royal Wedding. I would have enjoyed less romance, not so much drama added for the sake of increasing depth, and more focus on the history of these women who created the dress. All in all though, an interesting and positive story I would recommend to fans of historical fiction and anything involving the royal wedding. 3.5/5 or 6.5/10 The good: This story has three interesting female characters who each offer a different perspective throughout the story. Their characters are developed and I liked all three of them and felt they all fit together well. This story is fun and engaging throughout, who doesn't love something about a royal wedding? But it also offers more depth by exploring some different themes such as resilience, friendship, and hope. I really liked learning more about embroidery and could really picture the lives of these women through the author's prose. I particularly enjoyed Miriam's perspective and liked the way that everything was tied together in the end. The bad: The plot is quite predictable. I did not like the "drama" added to Ann's story and felt that it was added just in an attempt to increase the depth of the storyline and it was not necessary. Something was needed but it was a bit over the top and the character's subsequent response to the incident was a bit unbelievable. And though romance is always a nice addition to a storyline, having all three simultaneous romances was not too believable and made the story a bit more superficial in my eyes.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Travel.with.a.book

    The Gown is such a beautiful novel where Robson has written a story for the ladies that created Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown! The story is so perfect in every dimension and I love Jennifer's style of writings so much! The book is told from three viewpoints! . The book is so evocative and enchanting, I love historical fictions merged with royal Families within, the drama and the plot gets very interesting and intriguing in different angles, reading this will give you mixed emotions and for sure y The Gown is such a beautiful novel where Robson has written a story for the ladies that created Queen Elizabeth's wedding gown! The story is so perfect in every dimension and I love Jennifer's style of writings so much! The book is told from three viewpoints! . The book is so evocative and enchanting, I love historical fictions merged with royal Families within, the drama and the plot gets very interesting and intriguing in different angles, reading this will give you mixed emotions and for sure you are going to love it, you can feel special positive vibe within the lines which makes the novel so beautiful! . I really loved the characters that the Author has created they are so brave and smart girls that have such a lovely personalities! Ann and Miriam are working for the famous designer Normal in the 1940s , the topics the Author uses are so deeply moving and elaborated in the best way as you feel all the time just as the storyis real! You can find from the past emotions of the Holocause to the sexual consent and grief! I really enjoyed every page of this masterpiece historical fiction, and the way that the Author writes about a strong female relationship is so perfect! . Heather is Ann's Granddaughter who finds a box of embroidery samples with her name on it after Ann's death! The story gets so interesting and intriguing after that moment all the past and present details were revealed so magnificent! I really enjoyed every part of the book, every intrigue moment of the workers within the design factory, and the friendship between Ann and Miriam everything was awesome and we highly recommend you to read THE GOWN!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Meagan

    I LOVED this book. I couldn’t put it down and read it in one day. I don’t know if it is because I am a big Royal watcher, or because Harry and Meghan’s wedding happened earlier this year, or because I have been lucky enough to hear Jennifer Robson talk about this book twice this year, but I felt like I knew these characters and this story. It was familiar and captivating at the same time.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Laurie • The Baking Bookworm

    This book, written by Canadian author Jennifer Robson, is the belle of the literary ball, y'all! Ev-er-y-one is talking about this book! And rightly so. You guuuys!! I did so love this book. As an avid reader of Historical Fiction, getting my hands on a copy of this book was a no brainer. But I think this book would appeal to more than just Historical Fiction buffs or fans of the Royal family. The focus isn't on Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth and her royal peeps but on three unknown women. Miriam This book, written by Canadian author Jennifer Robson, is the belle of the literary ball, y'all! Ev-er-y-one is talking about this book! And rightly so. You guuuys!! I did so love this book. As an avid reader of Historical Fiction, getting my hands on a copy of this book was a no brainer. But I think this book would appeal to more than just Historical Fiction buffs or fans of the Royal family. The focus isn't on Princess (now Queen) Elizabeth and her royal peeps but on three unknown women. Miriam and Ann, who worked tirelessly for months in 1947 to design and embroider the beautiful embellishments on the dress that the world was eager to see and Ann's granddaughter, Heather, decades later, who is determined to piece together her grandmother's past. Through her vivid descriptions and characterizations, Robson tells an engrossing story that incorporates history, mystery and bigger issues such as anti-Semitism, sexual consent, grief and the still deeply felt aftereffects of the Holocaust. But ultimately it is a story about resilience, love, loss and friendship. True friendship is so very powerful, and I loved that Robson focused on the healing, enduring and positive aspects of female friendship. That's some powerful stuff and a joy to read. I'm going to give The Gown a whopping FIVE stars. Yup, I luurved it that much. This is a 'get-your-hands-on-a-copy-asap' kind of read and due to the issues raised, I think The Gown would make an excellent book club selection.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Amy

    I received an advanced reader copy from the publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The Gown is going to be one of those buzz books this winter that everyone will be talking about, I guarantee it. Instead of exploring the story of the royal family and all of its mystery, Robson decides to explore a royal wedding through a different set of eyes. These eyes she chooses to tell her story through are those of the women that made and embroidered the dress of Princess Elizabeth when sh I received an advanced reader copy from the publishing house. All thoughts and opinions are my own. The Gown is going to be one of those buzz books this winter that everyone will be talking about, I guarantee it. Instead of exploring the story of the royal family and all of its mystery, Robson decides to explore a royal wedding through a different set of eyes. These eyes she chooses to tell her story through are those of the women that made and embroidered the dress of Princess Elizabeth when she wedded Lieutenant Philip. Set in 1947, Ann Hughes & Miriam Dassin are talented embroiderers that have been tasked with the intricate stitching that will adorn the royal bride's priceless wedding gown. Following the royal wedding though, Ann moves and never tells her family of her life in London and the work she did for this famous gown. It is only in 2016, when Ann's granddaughter stumbles upon a box of her late grandmother's belongings that she finds a set of hand-stitched flowers with no background information on them. What she discovers though is that these motifs are the same that decorated the Queen Elizabeth II's gown and she begins to wonder if there was more to her grandmother's story than she realizes. Heather travels to London to unravel the past that Ann never shared with her family and her secret friendship with Miriam Dassin, a celebrated artist and Holocaust survivor. Robson discusses, rather frankly, her struggles with finding information on the real women behind the real gown. It was through a chance meeting that she got in touch with Betty Foster, a woman who aided in the actual embroidery of the dress, that she was able to use this interview to flesh out these characters, along with her own independent research at another embroidery house. An excerpt of the interview with Betty appears at the end of the book and showcases how much her voice shaped Robson's writing and these gorgeous characters that she has crafted. Fans of, Secrets of a Charmed Life and the show,  The Crown , will DEFINITELY be swept away in this gorgeous book. I absolutely loved it!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Julia (jaylamm.reads)

    Thank you to @william morrow books for the free review copy Wow what a beautiful way to tell this story. I was immediately drawn in to the lives of Ann, Miriam, and Heather. The Gown alternates between three perspectives. The first story line is from two perspectives; Ann and Miriam. Ann and Miriam are a part of something huge in London in 1947- making the wedding dress for the Royal wedding. As they create the wedding dress, you see their friendship develop. The second story line is about Heather' Thank you to @william morrow books for the free review copy Wow what a beautiful way to tell this story. I was immediately drawn in to the lives of Ann, Miriam, and Heather. The Gown alternates between three perspectives. The first story line is from two perspectives; Ann and Miriam. Ann and Miriam are a part of something huge in London in 1947- making the wedding dress for the Royal wedding. As they create the wedding dress, you see their friendship develop. The second story line is about Heather's journey to learn about her grandmother that has recently passed away.This one really hit home for me as my grandmother passed away last year. It is so amazing to learn about the live someone lived before being called grandma. Sometimes when reading books with 2 timeline, I find myself favoring one over the other. I did not feel this way with The Gown. I loved both story lines! I would definitely recommend this book to anyone that loves historical fiction or the royal family. Or if you just want a really well written story! As for any book written during this time period there is some ugliness, please be aware of that.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Genevieve Graham

    Beautiful, compelling, and everything I love about Ms Robson’s writing, plus so much more. I read her “About the Book” at the end, and what she shared made me admire her writing and ingenuity even more. Sometimes an author knows there’s a story hidden beneath the facts, but unearthing that story can be the biggest challenge of all. Ms Robson did a wonderful job of incorporating those fascinating facts while creating engaging, genuine characters (and their own individual stories). The research do Beautiful, compelling, and everything I love about Ms Robson’s writing, plus so much more. I read her “About the Book” at the end, and what she shared made me admire her writing and ingenuity even more. Sometimes an author knows there’s a story hidden beneath the facts, but unearthing that story can be the biggest challenge of all. Ms Robson did a wonderful job of incorporating those fascinating facts while creating engaging, genuine characters (and their own individual stories). The research done for “The Gown” was incredibly detailed, and yet not once was I tempted to skip over the details and read ahead. I was in the room with Ann and Miriam, I stood before the gown with Heather, and my heart ached when circumstances forced separations. Wonderful book, and it fully earns all the acclaim it is receiving. Congratulations, Jennifer!

  29. 5 out of 5

    The Library Lady

    This is the second book I've read by this author, and I won't be fooled again. She has a talent for drawing me into a story and then,having spent an hour or two reading 200+ pages, I am left wanting that time back to read someone else's books. Aside from the Nazis in France, no one here is mean, petty, or developed in any other way, they are all nice-nice and bland. Everything in the plot fits as neatly together as a jigsaw puzzle--too neatly. In sum, a fascinating subject and great materials tha This is the second book I've read by this author, and I won't be fooled again. She has a talent for drawing me into a story and then,having spent an hour or two reading 200+ pages, I am left wanting that time back to read someone else's books. Aside from the Nazis in France, no one here is mean, petty, or developed in any other way, they are all nice-nice and bland. Everything in the plot fits as neatly together as a jigsaw puzzle--too neatly. In sum, a fascinating subject and great materials that in another author's hands would have been a terrific book is turned into a bad soap opera.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Subtitled, A Novel of the Royal Wedding, Jenifer Robson's novel The Gown imagines the women who embroidered Princess Elizabeth's 1947 wedding gown. Heather is surprised when she inherits samples of embroidery from her grandmother. She had no idea her grandmother could do such beautiful work. Discovering that the samples match the embroidery on Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown, Heather goes on a quest to resurrect her beloved grandmother's buried past. Alternating chapters tell Heather's story and Subtitled, A Novel of the Royal Wedding, Jenifer Robson's novel The Gown imagines the women who embroidered Princess Elizabeth's 1947 wedding gown. Heather is surprised when she inherits samples of embroidery from her grandmother. She had no idea her grandmother could do such beautiful work. Discovering that the samples match the embroidery on Princess Elizabeth's wedding gown, Heather goes on a quest to resurrect her beloved grandmother's buried past. Alternating chapters tell Heather's story and that of her grandmother Anne and her friend Miriam Dassin. The reader is returned to 1947 London and the lingering effects of the war. Patriotism and support for the royal family were at a high and the royal wedding of Princess Elizabeth filled the people with expectation, brightening the country with joy. The winning wedding gown design went to Paul Hartnell, a favorite designer of the queen. The women created the elaborate applique and embroidery under strict orders to not talk about their work. Ann Hughes was a lead embroiderer when Miriam Dassin is hired and put under Ann's tutelage. Miriam worked for a prestigious French fashion house before Germany took over her country. The women become roommates and fast friends. Miriam holds her past and Jewish heritage a close secret. One fatal night Ann and Miriam join their coworkers at a dance where they meet the men who would change their lives--for better or worse. I enjoyed the detailed descriptions of the actual work process of appliqueing the satin on the tulle. Ann holds Harnell's pattern to the window and traces the design onto a piece of onionskin paper. She then cut the design out and aligns it with the drawing to check it is true. The pattern is placed on the satin fabric and using a needle with its blunt end set into a cork, Ann punches the needle into the fabric along the edge of the pattern piece, the needle separating the weave of the satin to mark the perimeter. With sharp scissors, Anne cuts along the perforated lines to make the applique shape. To attach the applique to the tulle she needle-turned the edges, the tip of the needle turning under the edge of the shape, and with tiny stitches and silk thread, sews it into place onto the silk tulle. After the applique was completed, the embroidery with pearls and beads and diamonds began. As a needle-turn appliquer, I am familiar with the process. Thankfully, I work with easier materials. Silk thread is fine and results in near-invisible applique stitches, but it is challenging to work with. It is so fine I can hardly see it and it easily slips out of the needle eye. The satin used for the gown has a dense weave but was resistant to taking a crease. So she could not prepare the applique shapes with one of the many methods I use, resorting to needle-turn. This means using the tip of the needle to turn under the very edge of the shape, working in extremely small increments. The seamstress must be careful not to fray the edge of the applique shape, rolling threads under to be caught. Using tulle as an applique base is also difficult. I am used to a woven fabric as an applique base and the needle gently separates the threads. But tulle is not a densely woven fabric, but a net or mesh fabric. The openings in the tulle gives the needles less to anchor to. I tried to applique on nylon tulle and could not get a smooth edge to the applique! Not only where these materials challenging to work with, but the physical demands of the work had to be exhausting. The eye strain from hours of close work, the fabrics and threads all the same color, the reaching to work on a tambour frame, I can imagine the resulting muscle and joint pain! That the ensemble was completed in such a short time is amazing. The novel will appeal to readers of historical fiction and women's fiction, Anglophiles, and anyone interested in fashion history. I won a book from the Book Club Cookbook.

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