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The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding Bets On...

The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding

February 2019

THE GOWN by Jennifer Robson is a novel that will delight royal watchers, including all those who enjoy Netflix’s “The Crown.”

It opens in 1947 in London. The war has ended, but the residual damage remains, and people’s spirits are still feeling the war’s effect. Then it is announced that Princess Elizabeth will be married, which stirs excitement and a sense of fanfare. The Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell wins the commission for the gown. Two young women, Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, are the embroiders who are assigned to create the brilliant design work for the piece. While they are two fictional characters, Jennifer did extensive research with a seamstress who had worked on the gown, thus the storytelling feels so very authentic.

The story is not just about dressmaking; it’s also about these women who become friends and housemates. The men they meet and the twists of their personal tales are exciting reading, as well as the dressmaking and wedding fanfare.

As so often has been the format in these historical novels, there also is a present-day character. Her story is set in Toronto in 2016; she is the granddaughter of Ann and has a mystery to unravel. She has been left some embroidered flowers by her late grandmother and has no idea what they mean. So she travels to London to learn more. While her storyline is the shortest of the three, it wonderfully draws everything together.

I loved the period details; they harken back to so many of the traditions that we have seen in the two recent royal weddings. It is an enjoyable read that also would make for some fun book group discussions. I can see the tea being poured and the tea cakes being set out now.

The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding
by Jennifer Robson

  • Publication Date: December 31, 2018
  • Genres: Fiction, Historical Fiction
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks
  • ISBN-10: 0062674951
  • ISBN-13: 9780062674951