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One crumbling grand manor house, a family in decline, five generations of women, and an attic full ofbeautiful clothes with secrets and lies hidden in their folds. Kelly Doust, author of Precious Things, spins another warm, glamorous and romantic mystery of secrets, love, fashion, families - and how we have to trust in ourselves, even in our darkest of days. One for lovers of Kate Morton, Belinda Alexandra, Fiona McIntosh and Lucy Foley.
Failed fashion designer Sylvie Dearlove is coming home to England - broke, ashamed and in disgrace - only to be told her parents are finally selling their once-grand, now crumbling country house, Bledesford, the ancestral home of the Dearlove family for countless generations.
Sylvie has spent her whole life trying to escape being a Dearlove, and the pressure of belonging to a family of such headstrong, charismatic and successful women. Beset by self-doubt, she starts helping her parents prepare Bledesford for sale, when she finds in a forgotten attic a thrilling cache of old steamer trunks and tea chests full of elaborate dresses and accessories acquired from across the globe by five generations of fashionable Dearlove women. Sifting through the past, she also stumbles across a secret which has been hidden - in plain sight - for decades, a secret that will change the way she thinks about herself, her family, and her future.
Romantic, warm, and glamorous, moving from Edwardian England to the London Blitz to present day London, Dressing the Dearloves is a story of corrosiveness of family secrets, the insecurities that can sabotage our best efforts, and the seductive power of dressing up.
'A stunning creation ... To read a story that is so fervently female, strong in its voices, stories and experiences of womanhood, is refreshing and somehow, life affirming. For all those reasons - and more - Dressing The Dearloves is not to be missed.' Better Reading
'I would highly recommend this book. It was a very entertaining and at times deeply moving read, with lots of twists and turns along the way.' Great Reads and Tea Leaves
'I highly recommend Dressing the Dearloves to those who love their novels draped in fashion, steeped in the atmosphere of old estates, with a smattering of family secrets to uncover. Brilliant, warm, witty, and beautiful!' Theresa Smith Writes
Praise for Precious Things:
'Precious Things tells the compelling story of a modern woman while weaving the fascinating and mysterious stories of many women from the past two centuries. What links each of them is a beautiful, precious thing - a bejeweled and mysterious coronet ... A wonderful and unusual story... an impressive debut.' Good Reading
'Wonderful storytelling - I was bewitched' Charlotte Smith, bestselling author of Dreaming of Dior
'Beautifully written and downright enchanting. Every character had a story and each story connected and drew me in to the point that I couldn't put the book down until I found out all their endings.' mybookdiary.com
Buy Dressing the Dearloves by Kelly Doust from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
Book DetailsISBN: 9781460751015
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Book Review: Dressing the Dearloves by Kelly Doust - Reviewed by Ronnie293 (14 Oct 2018)
Kelly Doust has had much involvement in fashion and publishing so to write a fictional novel with fashion at its core seems like a natural progression.
Dressing the Dearloves is a rich multi-generational story that moves effortlessly from present-day to the late 1920’s through to the early 1940’s spanning five generations of Dearloves.
Sylvie Dearlove returns home to England, her life in New York in ruins. Her fashion label has crashed and she has been declared bankrupt. Haunted by failure and wracked by guilt she runs to the only place she feels safe, the family’s estate Bledesford, only to find it in rack and ruin her parents barely able to afford the upkeep. Doust highlights the dire straits some families found themselves in trying to keep up with mounting expenses on these rambling estates and the work of the National Trust in helping owners open their homes to the public for viewing, tea rooms and weddings.
The Dearlove women are all strong, outspoken women. They are all very arty and clothing and fashion is a passion passed down through the generations. All the beautiful gowns and day wear have been stored in the attic from the 1920’s through to the 1960’s. I loved how the items of clothing were tied to memorable moments in the Dearlove women’s lives and Doust seamlessly moved from an unearthed fashion piece to the relevant time and story concerning that piece.
Dressing the Dearloves is an engaging story of love and war and doing what’s expected in times where skeletons were pushed firmly to the back of the closet only to be released with a lot of poking and questions asked.
The story evolved with the unique addition of internet search items, newspaper excerpts and diary entries. I particularly liked the for sale advertisement for Bledesford which described the estate beautifully.
I was captivated by this story from beginning to end and my mind was reeling as the secrets just kept coming and coming.
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