The Gown

Morrow. Dec. 2018. 372p. ISBN 9780062884275. $26.99; pap. ISBN 9780062674951. $16.99; ebk. ISBN 9780062674968. F
Ann Hughes has worked for Normand Hartnell, famed dressmaker for the queen and royal family, since she was 14. After her roommate immigrates to Canada, Ann, having survived the Blitz, her brother's death, and a horrible winter, is now faced with losing her home. Luckily, Miriam Dassin, a fellow embroiderer and recent refugee from France, is looking for better lodgings. The new roommates form a friendship and Ann learns the horrible story about what happened to Miriam and her family during the war. Seventy years later, Ann has recently died and her heartbroken granddaughter Heather is cleaning out Ann's possessions. She finds a box filled with intricate embroidered fabrics. Heather knew her grandmother was a crocheter and knitter, but after a little sleuthing, she discovers that Ann worked on then Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress.
VERDICT Alternating time lines between 1947 Britain and 2016 Canada, Robson (Goodnight from London) vividly brings to life these three women's struggles. Historical details about fabric, embroidery, and the royal family are well incorporated into their stories, with light romance rounding out this charming work of historical fiction. [See Prepub Alert, 7/30/18.]

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