The Dressmaker and her Daughters

The Dressmaker and Her Daughters3 StarsIf you enjoy classic romances that involve strong family ties, morality, and Christian values, The Dressmaker and Her Daughters is a lovely story centered around the life and loves of the Collins family. After living in London for twenty years, the family relocates after Mr. Collins loses both his business and his health. They return to Northern Ireland, where he and his wife Mary grew up. He retires due to ill health and Mary, who was an acclaimed dressmaker in London, continues her business. Their daughters: Julia, Hannah, Rebekah and Abby, all in their teens to twenties, are a delight to their parents. It doesn’t take long until Julia has caught the eye of a local man with a good reputation, and Abby meets the mischievous son of the cantankerous neighbor. Rebekah, who is also a talented seamstress, works with her mother while Hannah takes a job as a governess and moves away.

Not every romance is fairy-tale perfect. While Julia seems to have found the perfect match, Rebekah has no suitors, and Abby spends most of her time getting into trouble with the boy next door. Hannah discovers that while her charges are delightful girls, their mother is a shrew. When their father returns home from a long sea voyage, she gets too close to him despite knowing he’s a married man. Her feelings go against both her faith and her sense of decency, so she quits her job and returns home. When Julia marries her sweetheart, the other sisters are left wondering if true love will find them, as well.

Hannah Collins’ story is the cornerstone for the plot, and her dilemma is the emotional anchor that holds everything together. The themes of family and a strong Christian faith are front and center in this novel. When her heart is tested, Hannah keeps her secrets from her family but turns to God for guidance on how to do the right thing. Hannah’s parents are a good example for her since their love for each other has survived very trying times. Rebekah’s story has a surprising twist, raising more family discussions about faith and obedience. Other characters who stood out as favorites were the town gossip, Siobhan O’Leary, Abby’s boyfriend, David Sullivan, and the horrible Penelope Lynch. There are a lot of characters here, and those with the most unique voices stood out vividly.

There were a few issues that kept me from fully enjoying the book. The most obvious were the grammatical and punctuation errors that included run-on sentences and quotation marks in the wrong places. I also noticed word spacing issues and apostrophes cropping up where they didn’t belong. Another thing that bothered me was the historical setting. I know this is set in the 1950’s only because the author put the date at the top of the first chapter. There are very few cultural markers and no references to iconic car models, music, or historical events to ground it firmly in that decade. When the story focuses on Hannah’s work as a governess at the Lynch’s estate, the situation, dialogue, and setting feel exactly like a Gothic romance without the horse-drawn carriages.

Pages: 274 | ISBN: 1500436747

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About Literary Titan

The Literary Titan is a book review website which consists of mostly fiction books, but we do enjoy non fiction works that we're excited about. All reviews are the reviewer’s honest opinion. We love books and read constantly (seriously, it’s an addiction). We're always open to book review requests and have aspirations of one day being sucked into the Twilight Zone episode with Burgess Meredith where all he wants to do is read, but can’t until the world ends; you know what I mean?

Posted on September 12, 2016, in Book Reviews, Three Stars and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.


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