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A darkly satirical novel of love, revenge, and 1950s haute couture—now a major motion picture starring Kate Winslet, Judy Davis, Liam Hemsworth, and Hugo Weaving
After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. She plans only to check on her ailing mother and leave. But Tilly decides to stay, and though she is still an outcast, her lush, exquisite dresses prove irresistible to the prim women of Dungatar. Through her fashion business, her friendship with Sergeant Farrat—the town’s only policeman, who harbors an unusual passion for fabrics—and a budding romance with Teddy, the local football star whose family is almost as reviled as hers, she finds a measure of grudging acceptance. But as her dresses begin to arouse competition and envy in town, causing old resentments to surface, it becomes clear that Tilly’s mind is set on a darker design: exacting revenge on those who wronged her, in the most spectacular fashion.

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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    Slow starting unusual novel!

    The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham is an historical novel set is rural Australia during the 1950’s. Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage has returned to Dungatar, Australia (a town full of quirky townspeople) after being sent away when she was a child. Her mother, Molly (the locals call her Mad Molly) is ill and needs her assistance. Tilly has never been treated kindly in this town. Mostly because she is illegitimate. Tilly is a fashion designer and seamstress. She starts off wearing her creations around town which intrigues the citizens. After designing a dress for Gertrude to get married in, the ladies of the town slowly come to her for unique, one of a kind dresses. Soon Tilly is in great demand. Tilly starts seeing Ted McSwiney. Ted comes from a large family that lives on “The Hill” along with Tilly and her mother. Ted was the local football star and is well regarded in town. Sergeant Horatio Farrat is the local police officer for the town. He wears is uniform in public, but what he wears underneath it (ladies underwear) and at home (ladies clothes that he sews himself) he keeps to himself. He is thrilled that Tilly came to town. She can help him with his clothing. Then an accident happens. Ted dies in a tragic accident. The townspeople blame Tilly. They no longer go to her for dresses. They actually bring in a designer from Sydney (who is terrible). Then her mother, Molly, passes away. Tilly comes up with a way to get even with the town before she leaves. If you can get through the first forty percent of The Dressmaker, the rest of the book is interesting to read. The first part of the book is very confusing. There are a lot of townspeople thrown at you along with their information (written with Australian slang and terminology). I give The Dressmaker 2.5 out of 5 stars. I did enjoy the last part of the book. I loved the revenge plot that Tilly concocted and executed. The clothes that Tilly designed sounded beautiful. How anyone could stand living in this town, I do not know. The people were mean, cruel, selfish, nosy, and big gossips. I am shocked that this book is being made into a movie. I really hope it is much better than the book. I received a complimentary copy of The Dressmaker from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. The review and opinions expressed are my own.


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