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Book Review: The Dress Makers Secret


Italy, 1819. Emilia Barton and her mother Sarah live a nomadic existence, travelling from town to town as itinerant dressmakers to escape their past. When they settle in the idyllic coastal town of Pesaro, Emilia desperately hopes that, this time, they have found a permanent home. But when Sarah is brutally attacked by an unknown assailant, a deathbed confession turns Emilia’s world upside down.

Seeking refuge as a dressmaker in the eccentric household of Princess Caroline of Brunswick, Emilia experiences her first taste of love with the charming Alessandro. But her troubling history gnaws away at her. Might she, a humble dressmaker’s daughter, have a more aristocratic past than she could have imagined? When the Princess sends her on an assignment to London, she grasps the opportunity to unravel the truth.

Caught up in a web of treachery and deceit, Emilia is determined to discover who she really is –even if she risks losing everything . .


This young girl at 21, in 1819, along with her mother travel around Italy as they are dressmakers. On the go constantly. Which we see is quite infuriating for Emilia the daughter. They are in a coastal town called Pesaro. I loved the fact this novel was based in Italy. You get a feel for the main character as she’s had to leave places where she has made a best friend and suddenly had to leave and you just want her to get her happily ever after of settling somewhere more than a few months at least. The mother’s views and her paranoia really annoys me from Emilia’s point of view.

As the novel progresses there’s a good amount of lies being told to the main character however, as the reader I began to realise this due to how the novel was written however the main character was a bit naive and at times I wondered how she could blindly follow peoples stories just because they told her instead of thinking outside of the box and actually question everything she is told.

Her father shows very controlling and greedy behaviour – the constant putting people down, twisting stories, things having to be his way otherwise he snaps very quickly. Poor Maude, the aunt that has a very close relationship with both the mother and the daughter.

I loved how gripping this read was, it was quite engaging and interesting to watch how it unfolded. Who knew a human (her father) could be so very cruel?

By the end of the novel, there was a lot of plot twists added some of which you would question and then it was mentioned and you are like the author went there! I found this to be an intriguing and gripping read.

4/5 stars

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