The Gown

The Gown

A Novel of the Royal Wedding

Book - 2019
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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.
Publisher: New York, NY : William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers, [2019]
Edition: First edition.
ISBN: 9780062884275
Characteristics: 371, 16 pages ; 24 cm


From Library Staff

Life is pretty grim in 1947 London, with almost everything rationed and in short supply - that is until Princess Elizabeth announces her engagement and the fashion house run by Paul Hartnell is contracted to make the wedding dress. Two embroiderers for the couturier with painful pasts, Ann and Mi... Read More »

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Jun 22, 2019

2018; William Morrow Paperbacks/HarperCollins Canada
(Review Not on Blog)

This is my first novel by Jennifer Robson, although I have read her novella/short story in the Fall of Poppies: Stories of Love and the Great War. So going in I was expecting a bit of love and war and Robson does not disappoint. The novel weaves from present day, 2016 to 1947 with three main characters. We have Ann and Miriam in 1947, having survived the war in London and France, the two women now work at the famed Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell – designer to the British Royalty. As they work on Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown, the two women become closer friends. In 2016, we have Heather who has been let go from her job and decides to use her time to uncover her grandmother’s past. I found the historical story more interesting and found myself reading the present day quickly to get back to 1947 and then take my time. I loved the descriptions of the clothes of the time, and with the historical events, mixed with fictional characters. Miriam and Ann’s past stories with their “romances” make the story come alive and really sucks the readers into their lives. This was one of my last books of 2018, and it was one I read I stayed up to finish in one sitting!

***I received an eARC from EDELWEISS***

Jun 12, 2019

A behind-the-scenes story of the creation of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown in 1947 austerity Britain told through the eyes of two embroiderers and a grand-daughter of one of them in 2016.

Have enjoyed other of Jennifer Hobson’s page-turning historical fiction and this is no different. Her blending of fact and fiction seems true to the times; although some of the latter day plot stretched my credibility. Good companion for watchers of Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ and those who never tire of a royal wedding!

Apr 22, 2019

Interesting book about behind the scenes making of Princess Elizabeths's wedding gown after WW2. I don't think people realize how long it took England to recover from the war, how long people there still had rationed food, low wages, poverty and shortage of housing from the Blitz, not to mention losses of another generation of soldiers so soon after WW1. I enjoy reading anything by this author. I wonder why so many novels have unwed mothers?

Apr 17, 2019

4 1/2 - 5 star read. To be upfront about it, I have read all of Robson's books and really like them. But this was by far the best so far. Robson takes us inside the fashion house of Norman Hartnell. We meet a lovely group of seamstresses and embroiderers and share their excitement when the house wins the commission to make the wedding dress of Princess Elizabeth for her wedding to Philip Mountbatten. Two of the young women are the focus of the book, Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, two top embroiderers in the house. Ann is a local girl and Miriam is a refugee from WW II occupied France. We learn about their experiences of war time and living in the ration and austerity filled time after the War. We also meet, Heather who lives in present day Toronto and is very close to her Nan. When her Nan dies, she leaves some exquisite embroideries for Heather and Heather ends up going to London looking for clues to her Nan's very secretive past. This was such a wonderful read. Robson has a gift for immersing the reader in her characters and their lives and this was no exception. I loved it.

Mar 08, 2019

A captivating but fictional account of the lives of the ladies who embroidered the Queen's dress and train in post war London. Alternating between 1947 London and present day Toronto, it is the story of a granddaughter's search to learn more about the life of her Nan who was born in Britain and worked for the dressmaker to the Queen. It's such a lovely story, the only disappointment is to realize the characters are not real.

Mar 03, 2019

This was an enjoyable read. My first Jennifer Robson book, and it did not disappoint. Great characters in all three storylines; Ann and Miriam were particularly compelling. A couple of mysteries that were pieced together nicely, and a satisfying ending.

Mar 02, 2019

I really thought there would be a lot of historical points of interest in this book, but it is a romance novel and not at all what I was hoping for. There are some touching moments between Ann and Miriam but the rest is entirely predictable and could have taken place in any setting. Overall, I was disappointed in this book.

Feb 21, 2019

While Jennifer Robson's writing is good, this story is very predictable in its story lines. Especially if you are a fan and have read, books that go between the past and present. Overall a good book, but could have been a lot more interesting.

Jan 29, 2019

Historical fiction with characters that I wanted to befriend-a great story. Couldn’t wait to get back to it each time I put it down!

Jan 26, 2019

Really enjoyed this book, the first I've read by this author.
It seems a shame that with all the hours of work that goes into this wedding gown, it's only worn for a few hours and then put away where no one can see it until it's put on exhibition many decades later.

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