Ellen Gowan is a famous dress designer for ladies of high society and
one of the very few women in England who owns her own business. But her
life wasn¿t always one of such privilege. The only surviving
daughter of a Cambridge scholar-turned village minister and a beautiful
woman who was disowned by her family for marrying for love, Ellen had a
childhood plentiful in affection, if not in currency and dresses made
of fine silks.
Tragedy strikes on her thirteenth birthday, when her father dies suddenly, leaving Ellen and her mother penniless and dependent upon the kindness of her mother's estranged family. Life takes Ellen down various roads of opulence and depravity until she lands in the arms of the devlishly handsome Raoul de Valentin, whom she marries.
Just when Ellen realizes that she is with child, Raoul abandons her. Determined to survive, she begins her long climb to success, first by toiling at a dress factory, then opening up her own salon in the fashionable Battle Square. Years pass, and Ellen has evolved into Madame Gowan, dress maker to royalty and the Great Six Hundred. All is truly well, until the day Raoul de Valentin unexpectedly arrives at her doorstep once more, threatening to destroy all that she has achieved.
About The Author
Posie Graeme-Evans (b. Rosemary Graeme-Evans c. 1952 in Nottingham, England) spent her childhood travelling between Europe, Asia and Australia. She is currently working in Australia as a film editor and screenwriter producing television drama series. Graeme-Evans is the author of several popular historical novels.
Big girls in 19th-century England don't cry in Graeme-Evans's light tale about a plucky heroine who endures a series of harsh trials on her way to becoming London's leading dressmaker. Things start to go south for curate's daughter Ellen Gowan on her 13th birthday, when the dress Connie, her mother, makes her, entices one of her father's students to steal a kiss. Scandal and ruination seem imminent when her father dies, forcing mother and daughter to seek refuge with Connie's sister, who lives in terror of her baronet husband. There, Ellen's friendship with her cousin, Oriana, blossoms, until once again a young man stirs trouble, and Connie and Ellen land in London, where Connie succumbs to illness and Ellen marries a cad who leaves her pregnant and alone. But with a little help from friends, family, and unlikely sources, Ellen becomes the go-to creator of "all manner of finery" for England's most prominent families. Yes, it's formulaic, far-fetched, and soppy with sentiment, but it's also a lot of fun, and Graeme-Evans (The Innocent) is unapologetic in her celebration of the joys of pretty clothes and the thrills of overcoming adversity. (Oct.)
Number Of Pages: 496
Published: 1st October 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.3
Weight (kg): 0.526