Title: The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding
Author: Jennifer Robson
Genre: Historical Fiction
Publisher: William Morrow
Release Date: December 31, 2018
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.
This was a fascinating story about the creation of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown.
There was an exceptional amount of research done to create this book. The description of the way the dress was embroidered was very detailed, so I felt like was there. There were also some fun moments, such as when there was a story “leaked” to the press, but it was completely wrong.
The narrative alternated between Ann and Miriam in 1947, and Heather in 2016. I could relate to Heather’s story, because she lived in Toronto. I could picture the places she mentioned. I could also imagine the locations in London that were described. I loved the dueling narratives. It gave two different perspectives on the royal wedding, from the people who were there to the people who were curious about the dress in the future.
I learned so much from this story. I loved it!
What to read next:
Goodnight From London by Jennifer Robson
The Other Side of the Coin: The Queen, the Dresser and the Wardrobe by Angela Kelly
Have you read The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Family? What did you think of it?