A Dress of Violet Taffeta

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I have to admit that I had barely heard of Lucy Duff Gordon before picking out this book to review. The name seemed vaguely familiar, but I wouldn’t have been able to connect it to fashion (beyond the hint provided by the title) or even said when she lived. I certainly didn’t know about her design genius or how she built up a fashion empire from the ashes of her divorce.

Lucy’s life, while hardly the stuff of high drama, was fascinating in its own quieter way. I enjoyed watching her build up her business, something which would have been scandalous in the late Victorian era, when women of means did not enter a man’s world. Even more than that, I enjoyed watching the rise of her scullery maid, Celia. Lucy is the protagonist of the novel, but she is too wealthy to really be considered a self-made woman. While Celia has help in her ascent, her story is one of a true rising star.

More than anything else, I loved the richness of color and texture that filled the novel. Fashion only vaguely interests me, but I could truly see and imagine the dresses Lucy created.

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Star Count 5/5
Format Trade
Page Count 352 pages
Publisher Penguin Publishing Group
Publish Date 05-Jul-2022
ISBN 9780593436851
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Issue October 2022
Category Historical Fiction