29 November 2019

Review: Dressing the Dearloves by Kelly Doust

Dressing the Dearloves by Kelly Doust book cover
* Copy courtesy of Harper Collins *

Sylvie grew up in the family manor of Bledesford, escaping the expectations that accompanied the Dearlove family name and fleeing to New York where she established her fashion label.

Years later she returns home, her business in ruins and full of shame for tarnishing the Dearlove name.

Discovering Bledesford has deteriorated to the point of no return, Sylvie begins to help her parents prepare the estate for sale. In doing so, she discovers an attic full of vintage garments from the glory days of Bledesford, gets to know her mother and Grandmother better and begins to uncover some long-kept family secrets.

Dressing the Dearloves by Kelly Doust is a multi-generational family saga encompassing five generations. This is an historical fiction novel of secrets, family, love and relationships tied together by a thread of fashion. I don't know anything about fashion, but I enjoyed the sense of history Sylvie attaches to vintage clothing.
"She'd always wondered at the things those clothes had seen. Great parties between the wars, certainly, but also the insides of souks or palaces, or some clever dressmaker's studio on the Left Bank in Paris. But it was more than that, Sylvie thought - a dress could be a beautiful thing but it also held something of what the wearer had experienced when they were wearing it - love, joy, sadness, desire, anger." Page 89
This novel reminded me very much of The Butterfly Room by Lucinda Riley. There too the main character's home is a run down family estate (Admiralty House) on the verge of bankruptcy. Vintage garments worth a lot of money are discovered in the attic and are an inspiration to the main character. Of course, this isn't the fault of the author Kelly Doust; Dressing the Dearloves was published first in 2018 but if you enjoyed The Butterfly Room you'll love this.

Dressing the Dearloves by Australian author Kelly Doust will appeal to historical fiction fans who enjoy a feel good story about strong and determined women, secrets, family, romance and fashion. Also recommended for fans of Kate Morton.

Carpe Librum!

My Rating:

P.S. For more, check out my review of Precious Things by Kelly Doust.

Would you like to comment?

  1. I enjoyed this one far more than The Butterfly Room, I thought it was a great read, it's been over a year since I read it, but I still remember the general feel of it.

    1. Thanks Claire, I did too. I've just been late coming to it, that's all. It's hard to keep up with the unsolicited TBR pile. I hope yours isn't as fearful as mine.

  2. No mine isn't, I don't get many books from the publishers, not a big enough fish for them I guess. I mostly get some great authors ask me or from NetGalley.

    1. You can always asked to be added to a publisher's reviewing database if that's the way you want to go. The relationships go both ways, sometimes they find you and sometimes you find them. Either way, I'm sure you're not short of great books to read.


Thanks for your comment, Carpe Librum!