Editorial Note – I was given a copy of Jennifer Robson’s The Gown in return for a review.
The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson is about one of the most famous wedding dresses of the twentieth century—Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown—and the fascinating women who made it. This is a must-read for royal family fans!
It’s been a busy couple of years for the real-life royal family! Especially this year with not just one but two royal weddings, plus the 71st anniversary of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillips wedding. So, what perfect timing to go back to 1947 in The Gown, which will publish on Dec. 31.
Here’s the synopsis:
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.
More about the author: Jennifer Robson is the USA Today and #1 Toronto Globe & Mail bestselling author of Somewhere in France, After the War is Over and Moonlight Over Paris. She holds a doctorate from Saint Antony’s College, University of Oxford. She lives in Toronto with her husband and young children.
According to an interview with Entertainment Weekly:
Robson’s quest for details took her to visit the Queen’s dress on display at the Fashioning a Reign exhibit, and to the embroidery house Hand & Lock to get a handle on the skills required to complete a royal wedding gown. As luck would have it, Robson’s visit coincided with that of a documentary crew, who pointed her to Betty Foster, a seamstress who had worked at Hartnell on the Queen’s wedding gown in 1947.
So excited for this one – check back soon for a review!