As you may have realized, I’m a big follower of the British Royal family. I have my likes and dislikes among them, but Her Majesty and Prince Philip always get my vote! When I saw this book in the forthcoming titles, I knew I had to give it a try, but I was fearful of it being like a few other very popular recent royal novels–stilted and unappealing.
Happily, Jennifer Robson is a storyteller indeed! Not a stilted moment in the book! And, a trope I usually run from–the “look we found grandma’s [album, scrapbook, etc] worked so beautifully in this book I’m rethinking my dislike of it. The modern story was just as appealing as the 1947 story, with characters as enjoyable and storyline as believable. A rare triumph.
In the bleak post-war world, Britain’s had one moment of true color–Heiress Presumptive Princess Elizabeth’s wedding to Philip Mountbatten on November 21, 1947. Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth (the “Queen Mum” to us) and the princess selected H. M.’s favorite designer, Norman Hartnell, to design the wedding gown. Like today’s royal brides, Catherine (Kate) and Meghan, the dress had to be utterly sensational. The press speculated long and often about how the gown “might” look. In The Gown, the royals are bit players as the story focuses on Ann and Miriam, the two principle embroiderers and their personal stories, both of which were well told.
I loved how the author didn’t make a big deal out of things like rationing–she just told the story as they lived it. She also made the serious work of embroidering the gown and train real without bogging it down in tedious detail. The entire story flowed as beautifully as Princess Elizabeth’s train. I can’t wait for the movie.
The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson
If you enjoyed this book
If you enjoyed this book, you’ll like enjoy The Pink Suit: A Novel by Nicole Kelby about the creation of Jackie Kennedy’s iconic Dallas suit.