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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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4.5 out of 5
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All Book Reviews

  • A wonderful story

    I really enjoyed The Gown by Jennifer Robson. It moves back in forth in time and location from post-World War II England to present day Canada, and focuses on the lives of Ann and Miriam, embroiderers who have the privilege of working on Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown and Heather, Ann’s granddaughter. When Ann dies she leaves a set of hand-stitched flowers to Heather. This is the first anyone knows that Ann was an embroiderer; she never spoke of her life in Britain, not what work she did nor anything about Heather’s grandfather. Heather and Ann were very close, and Heather feels there must be a special reason that her Nan left these beautiful embroideries to her and feels obligated to find the story behind them. What she discovers is shocking. The Gown is a wonderful story, rich in history and emotion, and vivid descriptions of the hard times and privation in England after the war. Even in 1947 Ann is a very private person. She has experienced heartbreak and hardship and her expectations for happiness are low. She befriends Miriam, however, and they are both honored to be chosen to work on the royal wedding gown. Miriam has come to England from France and has experienced heartbreak and hardship of her own and has secrets she is afraid to share. Her bond with Ann is a blessing for them both. She initially seems like a minor character compared to Ann, but as the story progresses you realize that Miriam’s story has been developing all along as well. Even though Ann is so private and Miriam so secretive and there are many details we don’t know about them, we can feel their cold and hunger, their pain and regret, but also the joy in their work. The Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartnell comes alive with fascinating, stunning descriptions of the embroidery process. The switch in time and location from 1947 England to 2016 Canada works well. Even though Ann didn’t reveal much of herself, her relationship with her granddaughter Heather is close and special and the embroideries are precious to Heather. Heather’s journey of discovery leads her to unexpected places and people. The characters are varied and well developed. Some were so evil I could hardly stand it, and other were so loving I couldn’t get enough. The story moves smoothly along, with enough mystery to keep me turning pages, and enough joy and love to make me feel fulfilled. I received a copy of The Gown from the author, but a review was not expected nor required, and all opinions are my own. I thoroughly enjoyed The Gown and highly recommend it.

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    14 person found this review helpful

    14 people found this review helpful

    14 of 14 people found this review helpful

  • Evocative, enchanting, and beautifully written!

    The Gown is a captivating, sentimental tale predominantly set in London post-WWII, as well as present day, that follows the lives of three main characters.  Ann, a young talented embroider employed by the esteemed Norman Hartnell; Miriam, a Holocaust survivor and émigré from France who becomes Ann's coworker and close friend; and Heather, Ann's granddaughter who after discovering embroidered flowers in her grandmother's possessions after her passing embarks on a journey to determine their significance. The prose is eloquent and well turned.  The characters are flawed, multifaceted, hardworking, and brave. And the plot, along with all the seamlessly intertwined subplots, is an impressive mix of drama, familial dynamics, emotion, secrets, love, loss, duty, heartbreak, passion, and courage; as well as an insightful look at life in postwar London and the importance of female friendships. Overall, The Gown is a wonderful blend of historical facts and compelling fiction that's mesmerizing, gripping, nostalgic and perfect for those who love anything royal.

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    10 person found this review helpful

    10 people found this review helpful

    10 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • The Gown

    No questions a very good and interesting read! Love all her books! What will be next?

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    5 person found this review helpful

    5 people found this review helpful

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Loved it!!!!!

    So many details about behind the scenes at royal weddings!!!!The people who work hardest and are "invisible" ......... THE PEOPLE WHO really makes our society/economy exist and flourish!!!!

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    4 person found this review helpful

    4 people found this review helpful

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Loved it!

    A very enjoyable read and one that was hard to put down.

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    3 person found this review helpful

    3 people found this review helpful

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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