Devoted followers of Bliss, Beauty and Books know that I am royally obsessed and literally love all things royal ~ old and new. When I heard about Jennifer’s book, I knew it would be a true gem and was thrilled receive an early copy. For the fashion lover to the most fabulous anglophiles, The Gown is a must for your 2019 TBR pile. As always books are chic but books about the royals may just be the chicest ❤
via Amazon ~
One of December’s most anticipated reads from InStyle, HelloGiggles, Hypable, Bookbub, and Bookriot!
One of Real Simple’s Best Historical Fiction novels of the year!
“The Gown is marvelous and moving, a vivid portrait of female self-reliance in a world racked by the cost of war.”–Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Alice Network
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.
What three celebrities/authors/figures, living or dead, would you want to have a book club with?
I’ve just started work on a book about Hollywood in the early 1950s, so let’s say Judy Garland, Gloria Grahame, and Betty Grable.
Current binge series?
The Crown. I couldn’t let myself watch it while I was writing The Gown, so now I’m all in. Even my husband is hooked!
Last favorite book?
The Last Resort by Marissa Stapley. I read an early ARC and gobbled it up in an overnight binge read. So, so good.
What three things to you pack in your bag for your dream vacation? Where is it?
An e-reader, because of stupid baggage restrictions and the cost of lugging 15 books on holiday. An enormous hat, so I can hide under the brim and read all day. A swimsuit that covers up my anxiety areas but is (miraculously) comfortable.
Sunday NYT or US Weekly?
Sunday NYT. I ration out the sections over the course of the weekend like they’re pieces of chocolate.
Last person you sent a text message to?
My sister. Our daily check-in.
Book you read that you wished you wrote?
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. Not for the supernatural parts – for the descriptions of doing research at Oxford. She captured it perfectly, and she managed to make it interesting to read about. (At least I found those parts interesting!)
Do you have a teacher who encouraged you to become a writer?
In my sophomore year at King’s University College I had the most amazing English professor, Lorraine DiCicco. She was such a tough marker, and she had such high expectations, that I bent over backwards to please her – and along the way I learned a lot about the craft of writing. I met up with Lorraine again last year and was finally able to thank her.
Do you listen to music while you write? If so, who?
Only classical music, only instrumental, and typically from the general era I’m writing about. I listened to a lot of Elgar when I was writing my World War One books.
Describe your writing space?
I have a small room at the back of my house, and it has just enough space for a desk and a row of bookcases and a ratty old Ikea Poang chair. I sit in the chair with my laptop balanced on my knees, and I watch the birds and squirrels in my back garden, and sometimes I even get a bit of writing done, too.
Coffee or tea?
Despite the amount of tea-drinking that goes on in my books, coffee is the fuel that keeps me going.
Do you have a favorite book that you gift?
Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird
Book that you wished they would make a movie out of?
The Hole in the Middle by my friend Kate Hilton. It’s about a thousand times more engaging than the romcoms Netflix keeps making, and there’s a twist at the end that’s incredibly surprising and satisfying.
If you could have one song as the theme song of your life what would it be and why?
“Winter Birds” by Ray LaMontagne, because it’s a poem set to music, and his words remind me why I want to write: “And though all these things will change / The memories will remain” is what I set out to do when I create my stories.
What/Who inspires you?
People who defend the powerless and voiceless, even when they know it will lead to their personal ruin.
Bravo reality TV – yes or no?
Hard no. The only reality TV I can watch without an anxiety attack are the baking shows. The Great Canadian Baking Show is my current fave.
Favorite Instagram account?
drinkingwithchickens – Kate Richards mixes level-11 Instagramming skills with the funniest pictures ever (mainly of her chickens giving her cranky looks). And her cocktail recipes are sensational.
If you could name just one lipstick after a book, what would you call it and what shade would it be?
Miriam, after one of the heroines in The Gown, and it would be the perfect shade of bright coral red without any blue undertones.
Current #TBR pile?
Right now I have two piles: one of ARCs, and next to it an even higher stack of history books that jumped into my hands at the bookstore. I hate when that happens.
Best advice you’ve ever received?
“Just write the book, Jen.” From my sister, sometime in early 2008, after I’d sent her the bazillionth outline for a book that eventually becameSomewhere in France. If she hadn’t been such a hard-ass I’d probably still be fussing with that outline.