Friday, December 24, 2010

Quick Review: The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans

The Dressmaker: A NovelFrom the Back Cover:

Raised in rural Norfolk, Ellen Gowan’s childhood was poor but blessed with affection. Resilience, spirit, and one great talent will eventually carry her far from such humble beginnings. In time, she will become the witty, celebrated, and very beautiful Madame Ellen, dressmaker to the nobility of England, the Great Six Hundred.

Yet Ellen has secrets. At fifteen she falls for Raoul de Valentin, the dangerous descendant of French aristocrats. Raoul marries Ellen for her brilliance as a designer but abandons his wife when she becomes pregnant. Determined that she and her daughter will survive, Ellen begins her long climb to success. Toiling first in a clothing sweat shop, she later opens her own salon in fashionable Berkeley Square though she tells the world – and her daughter - she’s a widow. One single dress, a ballgown created for the enigmatic Countess of Hawksmoor, the leader of London society, transforms Ellen’s fortunes, and as the years pass, business thrives. But then Raoul de Valentin returns and threatens to destroy all that Ellen has achieved.

My Thoughts:

I haven't read any of Posie Graeme-Evans' other books, and I don't know that I will. There's nothing wrong with this one, except that it just didn't send me. Ellen is likeable enough, but it seems like luck plays a far more prominent role in her success than her own chutzpah does. Though she does overcome adversity, she leans heavily on the help of others and there doesn't seem to be any real fire burning in her. The story is very predictable and the ending's all tied up in a nice little bow. Looking back on it, it really seems like a glorified treatment of a regency romance, although without any real romance. Overall I thought it was well-written, but pretty lackluster.

Rating:  3 Stars out of 5

*Please note: This review references an advance copy received from the publisher, and therefore the final published copy may differ. Though I received this book from the publisher, these are my honest and unbiased thoughts, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.


  1. I had considered her other trilogy, but from what I heard from other readers I decided she wouldn't be an author for me.

  2. OH NO! I had my heart set on this one... maybe I'll just wait it out...

  3. I think this must be one of those love it or bleh! books as the reviews have either been mixed like this or gushing! It's still on my list, however, just not at the tippy top! Thanks for the review!

  4. I have had such different reactions to this author. I am not sure I am ready to read more from her yet. I hated the first half of her first book, and yet loved the second half and the second book, but I haven't been inspired to pick up the third book in the trilogy, or indeed this book. That is despite the fact that I bought the third book in the trilogy years ago.


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