Monday, June 7th
The Gown by Jennifer Robson follows two intertwining story lines.
One story line is set in 1947 London, where the people are in the midst of a harsh winter, shortages and rationing despite their nation’s recent victory. Two of these people are Ann Hughes and Miriam Dassin, embroiderers at the Mayfair fashion house of Norman Hartness. They form an unlikely friendship when they are chosen for a once-in-a-lifetime honor of taking part in the creation of Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown.
The other strand is in 2016 Toronto, where Heather Mackenzie is attempting to unravel the mystery of a set of embroidered flowers handed down to her from her late grandmother. How did her grandmother come to possess these embroideries that so closely resemble the motifs on the gown worn by Queen Elizabeth II for her wedding? How was her “Nan” connected to the celebrated textile artist and holocaust survivor Miriam Dassin?
The Gown takes the reader inside the workrooms where one of the most famous wedding gowns in history was created, gives us a portrait of a society left reeling by the calamitous costs of war despite being victorious, and introduces us to three heroines whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship and the power of love.