Today is my stop on the blog tour for The Dressmaker of Draper’s Lane by Liz Trenow. Please see the synopsis below and my review of this book!
As a foundling who rose from poverty and now runs her own successful dressmaking business in the heart of society London, Miss Charlotte is a remarkable woman, admired by many. She has no need, nor desire, to marry. The people she values most are her friend Anna, her recently-found sister Louisa and nephew Peter.
She feels herself fortunate, and should be content with what she has. But something is missing.
A small piece of rare silk discovered in a bundle of scraps at auction triggers a curious sense of familiarity, and prompts her to unpick a past filled with extraordinary secrets and revelations . . .
The Dressmaker of Draper’s Lane is the second book I read so far in 2019 which centres around silk weaving industry in London in the 18th century. I found myself so fascinated by this era that I actually devoured this book in a couple of days.
The main character Charlotte, an orphan herself, against all odds has set up a successful dress making business of her own in London. One day she comes across a small piece of rare silk which sparks distant memories and familiarities. These have promoted her to start the journey of finding connection between this rare piece of silk and her own mother, who gave her up to the Founding Hospital all those years ago as it was the only way for Charlotte as a wee baby to survive.
The Dressmaker of Draper’s Lane involves a cast of characters and how they each plays a role in Charlotte’s life. I found myself quite drawn to this set up and really enjoyed reading their interactions. Charlotte is an independent and strong will woman which is very unusual in the 18th century. However the way Liz Trenow developed this character, from the dialogues she has with those around her; from the way she presents herself in all different situations make it very believable. I didn’t realise Anna who is a dear friend to Charlotte in The Dressmaker of Draper’s Lane was the main character in Liz Trenow’s previous book The Silk Weaver! I will definitely go pick up this book too as I would love to know and read about Anna’s story.
This book is a very fast read for me. Even though it centres around silk weaving, an area I know nothing about, I find the storyline very easy to follow. Once you start reading, especially after the chapter where Charlotte comes across the rare piece of silk which sparks her memories, you won’t be able to put it down. I needed to find out what happened to her mother, the why and how. The author has also done an amazing job of introducing her immense knowledge of silk weaving into the story, they are rich and detailed but not overwhelming. Only after I finished the book did I notice from the author details that Liz is actually from a silk weaving family herself! How amazing.
I did find myself enjoy reading Charlotte’s recount of her childhood or the lack of the most. They are sad but tender and they surely pull at my heartstring. Whenever I read those moments, I just wanted to give Charlotte a big hug!
Overall this is a rich, descriptive but very tender historical fiction that I really enjoyed reading! The book is published on 21 February by Pan Macmillan. Go check it out!
Thank you so much ED PR and Annabelle for sending me this gorgeous copy to review.
About the Author
Liz Trenow is the author of several historical novels, including The Last Telegram, The Forgotten Seamstress, The Poppy Factory, The Silk Weaver and In Love and War. Liz’s family have been silk weavers for nearly three hundred years and she grew up in a house next to the mill in Suffolk, which still operates today, weaving for top-end fashion houses and royal commissions. This unique history inspired her first two novels, and this, her fourth novel.
Liz is a former journalist who spent fifteen years on regional and national newspapers, and on BBC radio and television news, before turning her hand to fiction. She lives in East Anglia with her artist husband, and they have two grown-up daughters.
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