The Gown: A Novel of the Royal Wedding by Jennifer Robson is the historical fiction story of Queen Elizabeth’s wedding gown and the women who made it. The story focuses on two women, Ann and Miriam, who were embroiderers. We follow them as they begin work on the gown, learn of the hours of work on the gown and get a behind the scenes look at what it was like to be working on something that the entire country had an interest in. I think it is a must to search for a good photo of the gown so you can really look at the amazing work that these embroiderers did on the gown.
I really enjoyed the premise of the book and I found the making of the gown fascinating. The story is told through Ann and Miriam and Heather, Ann’s granddaughter. Ann has recently died and Heather receives some samples of beautiful embroidery work and some old pictures of her grandmother. I found her search to discover a part of her grandmother’s past that she knew nothing about engaging.
I did struggle connecting with either Ann or Miriam’s personal stories. Their work on the gown was fascinating but their personal story was something I struggled with. I just could not let interested in it and I never really connected with either one of them. A tragic event happens and I didn’t seem to find myself really caring and I think that was because even though the event was and should have been devastating I never felt like the character thought it was. I was also bothered by the theme throughout the book that you are only loved and found interesting if you are beautiful or handsome. Your nature, or personality or talents don’t seem to matter. You can’t find love based on those things, only by what you look like.
I think the story is a great look into people who made something beautiful that millions of people have seen and yet they are not really known or acknowledged for their work on it.