About The Dressmaker's Dowry• Paperback: 384 pages
• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks (February 7, 2017)
For readers of Lucinda Riley, Sarah Jio, or Susan Meissner, this gripping historical debut novel tells the story of two women: one, an immigrant seamstress who disappears from San Francisco’s gritty streets in 1876, and the other, a young woman in present day who must delve into the secrets of her husband’s wealthy family only to discover that she and the missing dressmaker might be connected in unexpected ways.
An exquisite ring, passed down through generations, connects two women who learn that love is a choice, and forgiveness is the key to freedom...
San Francisco: 1876 Immigrant dressmakers Hannelore Schaeffer and Margaret O'Brien struggle to provide food for their siblings, while mending delicate clothing for the city's most affluent ladies. When wealthy Lucas Havensworth enters the shop, Hanna's future is altered forever. With Margaret's encouragement and the power of a borrowed green dress, Hanna dares to see herself as worthy of him. Then Margaret disappears, and Hanna turns to Lucas. Braving the gritty streets of the Barbary Coast and daring to enter the mansions of Nob Hill, Hanna stumbles upon Margaret’s fate, forcing her to make a devastating decision...one that will echo through the generations.
San Francisco: Present Day In her elegant Marina apartment overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge, Sarah Havensworth struggles to complete the novel she quit her job for. Afraid to tell her husband of her writer’s block, Sarah is also hiding a darker secret—one that has haunted her for 14 years. Then a news headline from 1876 sparks inspiration: Missing Dressmakers Believed to be Murdered. Compelled to discover what happened to Hannelore and Margaret, Sarah returns to her roots as a journalist. Will her beautiful heirloom engagement ring uncover a connection to Hanna Schaeffer?
About Meredith JaegerMeredith Jaeger was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area, the daughter of a Swiss father and an American mother. While working for a San Francisco start-up, Meredith fulfilled her dream of writing a novel, the result of which was The Dressmaker,s Dowry. Meredith lives in Alameda with her husband, their infant daughter, and their bulldog. Find out more about Meredith at her website, and connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
This book is not bad for a first novel! Jaeger's well-researched vision of Victorian San Francisco is compelling and inspiring. I appreciate well-researched historical fiction, and I often put down the book and Googled several locations mentioned in the story both from the past and in the present. Hanna's story is much more interesting, and Hanna is a more fully developed character than Sarah. There are several mysteries and questions between both storylines, and there is plenty of suspense to keep the reader thoroughly engaged. Lucas and Hanna make a great team as they solve Margaret's disappearance. Unfortunately the mystery's true resolution is so insidious it frightens Hanna enough to flee Nob Hill.
Sarah has a tragic secret she's kept from everyone, especially her husband Hunter. I find it almost incredible that someone of Hunter's stature would marry a girl he knows nothing about. He never visits Sarah's hometown, has never met anyone she knew as a young girl. Although her secret is a tragic one, I don't think it's enough to cause her anxiety. I also find it highly unlikely that a character who truly loves his wife wouldn't take a more proactive approach to help her cope. But Sarah isn't the only one with a secret: Hunter's family has skeletons in the closet and they're dancing! The best part about Sarah's storyline is while working on her thesis for her MFA in writing, Sarah walks away from a terrible novel she's half-heartedly written and instead decides to research Hanna and Margaret's story.
I find the connection between both stories interesting, but I would have been happy if it had just been a historical romance. If you enjoy historical fiction and are interested in reading a story with a San Francisco setting, then I recommend The Dressmaker's Dowry.
Disclosure: I received a copy of The Dressmaker's Dowry from the publisher via TLC Book Tours in exchange for a fair and honest review.
Until next time...