It’s the first day of Spring, and the weather today is exactly what you’d expect: the sun is trying to come out this morning, it’s above zero but the temperature is still in the single digits, most of the snow is gone but there are still patches here and there, and there’s plenty of mud, mud, mud! In short, it’s a perfect early-Spring day.
My Friends Book Club is meeting virtually tomorrow night to discuss Canadian author and historian Jennifer Robson’s fabulous novel The Gown: a novel of the Royal Wedding. I originally listened to this as an audiobook in October 2021, and here’s what I said about it then:
“The Gown by Jennifer Robson… tells the story of Ann Hughes in 1947 post-war Britain, where news about the upcoming marriage between Princess Elizabeth and Prince Philip is a welcome distraction for a country that is rebuilding after the devastation wrought by the war. Ann works on the famed wedding gown with French-immigrant Holocaust-survivor Miriam Dassin, who will eventually become a world-renowned artist. Nearly 70 years later, Toronto journalist Heather Mackenzie comes across an intricately stitched fabric hidden in her recently deceased grandmother’s belongings. As Heather tries to discover what this fabric, saved specifically for her, is meant to tell her, we are shifted back and forth between past and present as a connection is slowly revealed. This was another interesting novel that weaves fact and fiction into a most engaging story. Who knew the story about a gown could be so interesting?!”
I will add that the subtitle is a bit misleading, as this wasn’t really about the Royal Wedding at all, but about friendship and survival, recovery after the traumatic experience of war, and the healing power of art. I think it will be an excellent book club choice, as there are many interesting themes, characters and plot-lines. Since I listened to it very recently, my plan was just to skim it, but I’ll admit that I’ve been sucked into reading just about every word, as it’s just so interesting. I don’t usually enjoy historical fiction, but this one has held my interest a second time around. The parts about Heather in Toronto were not that interesting to me, as her character seems kind of flat, but once she goes to England, her story picks up a bit as she delves into her grandmother’s history. I would highly recommend this novel to anyone interested in post-war England, the history of the royal family, or novels about clothing, embroidery or art.
That’s all for today. Happy Spring! And Happy UN International Day of Happiness!