Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Review #98: The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans (GIVEAWAY!)

*The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans
Genre: Fiction, Historical
Publisher: Atria (Simon and Schuster)
* (please click on title for more product and order information)

My Thoughts:

"A meeting of the romance of Jane Austen, the social commentary of Charles Dickens, and the very contemporary voice of Posie Graeme-Evans, The Dressmaker plunges the reader deep into Victorian England in all its rich and spectacular detail."
(from the book description)

I must say, this turned out to be such a delightful read. I was immediately drawn to the gorgeous cover and the time period and setting. They are always favorites of mine. I liked it so much that I have decided to do a Giveaway of my copy. I have no system whatsoever when it comes to Giveaways. When I feel it, I do it.
In this case, I would really like to bring some attention to this author, who was new to me before reading. I think this book and her others; a trilogy set in medieval Britain around the 1450s (show below) would appeal to many readers of historical fiction,
romance and women's fiction.

The Dressmaker opens up during the year 1843 in Norfolk, England. It is Ellen Gowan's thirteenth birthday and it is going to be splendid! Her father Reverend Edwin Gowan has invited many distinguished guests, many of whom are his pupils. Not a wealthy family but well respected in the community, Reverend Gowan teaches the young sons of many affluent families.
When an encounter between one of these sons and Miss Ellen occurs during the festivities, the outraged mother of the boy pulls him from the Reverend's class.
This swift move changes the future of the Gowan family, for when the news spreads, the Reverend is left without any students and no income coming in to support his family.

I will not give away any spoilers but this event changes the fate of Ellen and her family. We follow Ellen from that day to her eventual success as a sought after dressmaker. In between we meet the disastrous and cunning Raoul, who would become her husband and almost her death; Oriana, her beautiful and giving older cousin; Connor, her first "love", Oriana's husband and ultimately her savior; Polly, her advocate, best friend and business partner; Connie, her darling mother and the host of English royalty she creates lavish dresses for.

I found it to be a utterly absorbing read, in the way that Philippa Gregory is. It's filled with drama, expectation, societal rules, thievery, romance, love, lust, success, failure, family, honor and redemption. Ellen is a tough character but wears it with honor and pride. She is not forceful or fierce in her strength. She carries it quietly within. I liked that. I would say that goes for many of the female characters in this book.

There were parts of it that were predictable. I could easily see where the story was going many times, especially the end. That didn't take away my enjoyment at all. By the time this came into play, I cared for the characters and was hoping for the best.

Rating: 5 stars/ 6 stars
This comes close to a full 6 star rating due to my enjoyment of it but falls a bit short with its predictability factor. Overall, it is a beautiful blend of history and romance, and I think any reader of both genres would love it. I know that when I work at my bookstore or library now, I will definitely recommend this to fans of Philippa Gregory. It has that same lush feel to it and it easily sweeps you away to a different time.

Book Club Note:
I thought most about society and the rules of the classes and the rules for women in the late 1800s. This time period has always fascinated me. I think it would definitely stir up some discussion for book clubs.

Author Website:

Giveaway Rules:
* Leave a comment with your email and maybe a favorite historical romance of yours.
* I would appreciate the support if you would become a follower of my blog. (I always have tremendously important things to say. wink*)


Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Ottilie Weber said...

My email is and I'm not sure what my favorite historical romace is, but I came across this book a week ago and it looked really interesting! I'm going to add your blog to follow, mine is

Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review and such a lovely cover.

Mystica said...

Please count me in for this gorgeous looking book!

I've just become a follower.


PoCoKat said...

Sounds like a great book. Would love to win.
New follower on GFC.

littleone AT shaw DOT ca

Esme said...

Thank you-I would have to say any novel about Cleopatra.

chocolate and croissants at yahoo . com

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Hey Michelle!
It's been a while, but I believe the book was called Dawn's Early Light, set during the Revolutionary War.

Bookworm Lisa said...

I love books set in that time period.
Ke7yca at gmail dot com

Just signed up to follow.

jacque said...

Sarah's Key right now is up there. Thx for a great giveaway
(new follower)

Marie Cloutier said...

sounds like fun! i've never read philippa gregory so I don't know if it would be a good fit for me but it sounds intriguing!

Tina said...

My favorite historical romance is probably either Cotillion by Georgette Heyer or The Morning Gift by Eva Ibbotson. Thank you for the chance to win!
melodiousrevelry (at) gmail (dot) com

Elise said...

Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran is the only one I've read, so I'll go with that historical romance novel.
caliblue7 at gmail dot com

Elise said...

Just a side note: Im a gfc follower of yours!
caliblue7 at gmail dot com

Anonymous said...

I can't remember...I so wish I'd started blogging ages ago to keep a better record!!

If this is open to us international book bloggers then I'd love to have a chance.

I'm a new follower.
bookwormreviewed at gmail dot com

(Diane) Bibliophile By the Sea said...

Gee this one does sound good. I must get to my copy soon.

Carol said...

Thanks for the review.
This is going on my wishlist.

I am setting myself a UK and Ireland reading challenge with a historical theme, and this is set in my part of the world.

If this is an international giveaway please consider me


cb2ck at hotmail dot co dot uk

The Tome Traveller said...

I'd love to win this! I've read the trilogy and I LOVED it, I've been waiting for her next one!

Probably my favorite HFR is the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.

Longtime follower!!


The Tome Traveller said...

Whoops, forgot to add my email:

thetometraveller (at) yahoo *dot* com


Ashley said...

Thanks for the giveaway! I like The Healer's Apprentice.

hewella1 at gmail dot com

Julie said...

Anything that reminds someone of Phillipa Gregory must be great. My favorites tend to change, but my latest favorite historical 'romance' is The King's Mistress by Emma Campion!

Julie @ Knitting and Sundries

Kristin said...

Hi Michelle: Please count me in this contest...I love reading historical fiction and have to say my favorite romances would be from The Queen's Dollmaker - by Christine Trent and also the whole Tudor series by Philippa Gregory

I am already a follower and love reading your reviews!

June G said...

I'm so excited to hear that you're giving the book away, as you know it caught my eye from your sidebar last week! My favorite historical novel is "Whitney, My Love" by Judith McNaught. I recently ran across it in Barnes and Noble and bought it again, after giving my copy away, years ago. Thanks for the chance to acquire The Dressmaker. Awesome!

I'm an old follower.

june (at) writingisablessing (dot) com

brokenteepee said...

The cover is stunning.
Thanks for the giveaway.
My favorite historical romance is The Count of Monte Cristo.
Thank you
kaiminani at gmail dot com

Ruthie said...

Our book club just finished reading Rainwater by Sandra Brown. A love story set in the dust bowl time period...very good. Please enter me, thanks.


Anonymous said...

Thank you for including me. =)

I'm a new follower.

tiredwkids at live dot com

aurora M. said...

I am a follower and would love to win this book! Thanks for a great giveaway!
I love Pride and Prejudice as the greatest historical Romance....ahh England and romance are the two best things add a cup of tea and a good book then you have perfection!

Rena said...


I loved The Tea Rose and The Winter Rose by Jennifer Donnelly.
I recently read some great Tudor historical romance novels: The Secrets of the Pleasure Palace, The Virgin's Daughters and His Last Letter about the love between Elizabeth and Robert Dudley. Their love affair lasted for decades but she had decided to remain unmarried so she would not have to share her crown.

Karen said...

I am a follower of your blog. Please enter me in this contest

Sheltiemama said...

I'd love to read this book. I just starting to get into this genre. And I just started following you.

cruzed at knoxnews dot com

debbie said...

I agree, I think the cover is stunning. I would love to read the book. I think gone with the wind is always a favorite of mine.

Norida, H.A. said...

Woooww!! It's great giveaway!!
Please count me!!
Thank for great contest!!


Norida, H.A. said...

Whoops, forgot to say it,
I'm follower your blog..


Aimee said...

I wouldn't even begin to know how to pick a favorite, though I do like Gone with the Wind.


♡♥♬ Raven In A Blue Room ♬♥♡ said...

Thank you for hosting this giveaway

schnitzomage {at} gmail {dot} com