Sunday 21 June 2015

The Dress by Kate Kerrigan

Lily Fitzpatrick loves vintage clothes - made all the more precious because they were once owned and loved by another woman. Thousands follow her vintage fashion blog and her daily Instagram feed. But this passion for the beautiful clothes of the past is about to have unforeseen consequences, when Lily stumbles upon the story of a 1950s New York beauty, who was not only everything Lily longs to be, but also shares Lily's surname.
Joy Fitzpatrick was a legend. But what was the famous dress which she once commissioned - said to be so original that nothing in couture would ever match it again? What happened to it - and why did Joy suddenly disappear from New York high society?
Kate Kerrigan's enthralling novel interweaves the dramatic story of Joy, the beautiful but tortured socialite and that of Lily - determined to uncover the truth and, if possible, bring back to life the legendary dress itself.

The Dress by Kate Kerrigan is published by Head of Zeus on 27 August 2015 and it the author's seventh novel.  She wrote the hugely enjoyable Ellis Island trilogy; Ellis Island (2009), City of Hope (2011) and Land of Dreams (2013). She has also written three other stand alone novels; Recipes For a Perfect Marriage (2005), The Miracle of Grace (2008) and The Lost Garden (2014). I've been a big fan of this author's writing ever since I read Recipes For a Perfect Marriage almost ten years ago, so was delighted to be offered the chance to read and review The Dress from

The Dress combines many of my favourite things; vintage fashion, Ireland and the glamour of the America in the 1940s and 50s, of and of course, the world of blogging!

I hardly know where to start when talking about The Dress. It's such a dream of a story, so beautifully written that the reader is transported off to the world of high fashion and wealth and glamour. The Dress is a dual-time narrative, with the modern-day story being told from the point of view of Lily. Lily is a hugely successful vintage blogger, she has over a quarter of a million blog and Twitter followers (I wish!), and has really made a name for herself in the world of fashion and vintage. She has a collection of fashion pieces that are much sought-after, she's lively and pretty and popular. Lily is also a frustrated fashion designer. Scared of rejection and failure, she has put all thoughts of creating her own designs to one side. Until, that is, she stumbles across a photograph of 'The Dress'. Probably the most beautiful dress ever created, and worn by a stunningly magnificent woman.

Lily is determined to find out as much as she can about both the dress and the amazing woman that is wearing it in the photo.

We readers are lucky enough to know all about both of these, as Kate Kerrigan effortlessly weaves the story of how and why the dress was created back in 1950s America.  Joy Fitzpatrick is the owner of the dress. Joy is married to Frank and is the darling of high-society. Rich in her own right, beautiful, kind and just a little bit spoilt, Joy knows that the dress will ensure that her husband will love and adore her forever.

Honor is the dress designer. Plain and not interested in wearing beautiful things herself, she's a quiet girl from County Mayo in Ireland, come to America to realise her dream of designing gorgeous clothes for rich and famous women.

The story skips back and forth, following Joy and Honor as they work together to create the dress and then back to the present day as Lily tracks down the story of the original dress and becomes obsessed with recreating it.

Combined within the story of high fashion and wealth and beauty are more serious issues and Kate Kerrigan skilfully weaves these into the storyline, adding a depth and substance to both the story and the characters that takes this novel up a level.

Kate Kerrigan is a talented author who has created characters who are vivid and authentic. She has combined a touch of romance and glamour with heartbreak and treachery, often taking her characters to their lowest ebb, but always engaging the reader with her magical gift for storytelling.

With a cover that will shout from the shelf of every bookshop and a plot that will delight fans both old and new; The Dress is engaging, charming and elegant. A highly recommended read.

My thanks to who sent my copy for review.

Kate Kerrigan has created a wonderful Pinterest board - full of inspirations for 'The Dress'

Here's a wonderful You Tube film, produced by Head of Zeus entitled 'The Story of The Dress'

Kate Kerrigan lives in County Mayo, Eire, with her husband and children. 
Her novels include Recipes for a Perfect Marriage, shortlisted for the 2006 Romantic Novel of the Year Award and Ellis Island, which was a TV Book Club Summer Read.
Find our more about Kate Kerrigan at her website
Find her author page on Facebook.  
Follow her on Twitter @katekerrigan


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