The Dressmaker and Her Daughters, by Anna St. George
The Dressmaker and Her Daughters reminded me of one of my absolute favourite book: Little Women, by Louisa May Alcott. Four young sisters, a loving family and strong characters that face great obstacles with faith and infinite hope. I couldn’t go wrong, right? Wrong. But let’s start with the synopsis.
Ireland, 1955. After falling into business difficulties and suffering health problems, Mr Collins decides to move his family to their hometown , in a seaside cottage that overlooks the ruins of an old castle.
Mrs Collins carries on with her dressmaking expertise and her four daughters -Julia, Hannah, Rebekah and Abigail- are soon the talk of the town with their charm and beauty.
Hannah is the main character of this tale; a book loving, novel writing girl with ambitions like her mother. She is the most outspoken of her sister’s; the only one who has studied since high school and she decides to take a position as a governess in the noble home of Captain and Mrs Lynch.
Hannah soon discovers that Mrs Lynch is a very cold and calculating woman, determined to control her daughters with strict discipline. She begins to regret taking the position and looks forward to returning home until something unexpected happens and her life changes…forever!
Anna St. George is a talented novelist, her writing style reveals the influence of her favourite writers such as Austen, the Bronte‘s and Dumas – a delicate prose, well developed characters and captivating dialogs- however, her prose is not always fluent as it should be.
My only “criticism” is that this book desperately needs some editing, and I am sure it would benefit immensely from it. Repetitions and overly long sentences often distract and confuse the reader to the point it’s easy to get lost. Some parts require me to spend a little more time with each sentence, but I still consider them “readable” because the language has a splendid rhythm and dialogs are really good.
The Dressmaker and Her Daughters is a pleasurable reading, perfect companion to welcome the crisp fall weather.