Friday 23 July 2021

The Dress in the Window

Finished July 18
The Dress in the Window by Sofia Grant

The main part of this story takes place in 1948 and 1949. Jeanne Brink is the older of two sisters, and had been the girlfriend of an attractive and well-off medical student before the war. But after Charles was killed, she finds herself moving in with her younger sister Peggy and Peggy's mother-in-law, Thelma. Peggy's husband Thomas was also killed in the war, his body still in Guadalcanal. Peggy was pregnant when he died and moved in with Thelma. Her daughter, Tommie, is a tomboy and mothered by all three of the women. 
Jeanne soon finds herself a job in the steno pool in an office in Philadelphia, across the river, and her salary augments the widow's allowance that Peggy receives. But both girls have dreams beyond their circumstances. Jeanne has been interested in sewing ever since her mother acquired a Featherweight machine and has gradually learned to become a master at the craft. Jeanne has always dreamed of designing her own clothing, and has studied fashion and art drawing and refined her skills to be able to both design from scratch and to take inspiration from the New Look fashion coming out of Europe. They've been trying to do this work on the side, but it hasn't been paying out despite their hard work. 
The girls grew up in better circumstances, with their father owning a textile mill, but his early death followed more recently by their mothers, has left them with nothing. 
As they try to hold on to their dreams, and take any opportunity that might bring them closer to the life they dream of, secrets they've kept from each other, and secrets that have been kept from both of them, threaten to tear the small family they've made apart.
This is a tale of loss and love, of hope and despair, of the beginning of original American fashion for the masses, and of family.
I really enjoyed learning more about fashion and fabric, and I loved the characters here, each having their own dream. 

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