by Posie Graeme-Evans
Set in 1850s London, at the height of Victoria's reign, Posie Graeme-Evans' glorious fourth historical novel tells of a woman ahead of her time. Ellen Gowan is a famous dress designer for ladies of high society and one of the very few women in England who owns her own business. But her life wasn't always one of such privilege.
The only surviving daughter of a Cambridge scholar-turned village minister and a beautiful woman who was disowned by her family for marrying for love, Ellen had a childhood plentiful in affection, if not in currency and dresses made of fine silks. Tragedy strikes on her thirteenth birthday, when her father dies suddenly, leaving Ellen and her mother penniless and dependent upon the kindness of her mother's estranged family.
Life takes Ellen down various roads of opulence and depravity until she lands in the arms of the devlishly handsome Raoul de Valentin, whom she marries. Just when Ellen realizes that she is with child, Raoul abandons her. Determined to survive, she begins her long climb to success, first by toiling at a dress factory, then opening up her own salon in the fashionable Battle Square.
Years pass, and Ellen has evolved into Madame Gowan, dress maker to royalty and the Great Six Hundred. All is truly well, until the day Raoul de Valentin unexpectedly arrives at her doorstep once more, threatening to destroy all that she has achieved.
The Dressmaker is a romantic odyssey that takes readers into the most luxurious of ballrooms and the most squalid of brothels. It is the sweeping story of a true heroine and her quest to live life fully-to find success, love, and to find herself in an era when such ideas were unheard of for a woman. Brimming with romance, social intrigue and rich, detailed illustrations of Victorian London and its varied inhabitants, he Dressmaker will captivate readers.
About the author: Posie Graeme-Evans has worked in the Australian film and television industry for the last twenty-five years as an editor, director, and producer on hundreds of prime-time television programs, including McLeod's Daughters and Hi-5. She lives in Sydney with her husband and creative partner, Andrew Blaxland.
~ I received a complimentary copy of this book from the Atria Galley Alley Promotion.Watch for my revie win early February.~
The Dressmaker: A Novel
Publisher/Publication Date: Atria, Oct 2010