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The Gown

A Novel of the Royal Wedding
Narrated by: Marisa Calin
Length: 11 hrs and 38 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (170 ratings)
Regular price: $30.79
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Publisher's Summary

From the internationally best-selling author of Somewhere in France comes an enthralling historical novel about one of the most famous wedding dresses of the 20th 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 70 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 listeners to three unforgettable heroines, their points of view alternating and intersecting throughout, whose lives are woven together by the pain of survival, the bonds of friendship, and the redemptive power of love.

©2018 Jennifer Robson (P)2018 HarperCollins Publishers

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

I loved this book!

This is one of the best books I’ve ever listened to. I loved the narrator, she made the characters come to life, I didn’t want the sweet story to end.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Just adored it

I really did love this book and I think it’s a wonderful story. The emotion it evoked in me, at times, was so powerful it brought me to tears or raised goosebumps on my skin. I love historical fiction (specifically the English monarchy and the holocaust) so this was a perfect pick for me. The story does come full circle so nicely without being predictable which is something I truly value in a novel these days.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Light, predictable, and stereotypical

The Gown started off as interesting fiction, but turned out to be a predictable story with stereotypical characters. Ann Hughes is the plucky British embroiderer, fellow embroiderer Miriam Dassin, the French woman who survived the Holocaust and becomes Ann's friend, and Ann's granddaughter, Heather populate this novel about Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress. I enjoyed the many details about embroidery and the embroiderers who worked at Hartnells, along with facts about rationing, shortages, and life in postwar London. Less enjoyable were plot twists that arose seemingly from nowhere, the way the Holocaust was used as a perfunctory aside only to further Miriam's part in the book, three lukewarm romances, one of which turns out appallingly and unbelievably, and Heather's general cluelessness about most things. It's a light read where everything falls happily into place, but not much more than that for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Interesting story.

I enjoyed the story. Somewhat predictable but overall interesting as a side story of a known historical event. The only criticism I have is the narrator's annoying habit of rhythmically alternating between a comfortable, pleasing tone and a "nails-on-a-blackboard" shrill tone for emphatic variation. Very distracting, and unnecessary because the narrator's overall tone is clear and pleasant.

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Thoroughly enjoyed it!

Thoroughly enjoyed it! Well worth the listen. I recommend it. Loved the story and the characters.

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not my usual listen but really enjoyed it

The first part of the story seemed a little melodramatic to me but a few chapters in I was hooked. The narrator struck a good balance between neutrality and emotion and did accents well. I loved how the story eventually made use of details mentioned earlier. If you are interested in any kind of sewing (like I am) you would appreciate the lovely details about embroidery. I would've liked Anne and Miriam to show more personality to make them more dimensional, yet still found myself affected by them. The ending is super satisfying and I'm glad I invested time in this book.

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The Princese's Wedding dress

The backdrop for this pretty good historical romance was the creation of Princess Elizabeth's wedding dress, specifically focusing on (2) fictional seamstresses who worked on the detailed embroidery ( look at pictures of the actual dress; amazing work went into it). I wish the story had focused more on the dress and the " behind the scenes" intrigue and drama of its creation; but this is a romantic fiction, and that dominates the second part of the book. Still, a decent book, and really great narration.

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A delight to listen to

I am a finicky listener but I would be open to getting additional stories by this author and also those by the narrator.

I was not disappointed and was sad when it ended. Great characters and wonderful details to the stories.

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Engaging and Wonderful Story

I loved this book. There was just enough true history in it to keep my Anglophile heart happy and the three main characters were richly drawn and relatable. I loved seeing this one important moment in England's history from these three perspectives and the way these three women's lives intersected was engaging and wonderful. The narrator navigated all of the accents really well and I enjoyed her rendition very much. A great read.

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War..family..royal wedding.. rape and independent women!

I liked the story of the two friends differences and the things that brought them together even through rape, a royal wedding and eventually grandchildren from different continents.