My rating: 2 of 5 stars
“London, England, 1870
It comes to the attention of curious eight-year-old Alice Chattoway that her father is seemingly nonexistent. After realizing that his absence is making her mother unhappy, Alice becomes determined to find him and pull her family together. But Miss Chattoway’s answers to her daughter’s questions are vague at best and Alice begins to wonder if she will ever discover her mother’s secret.”–Goodreads summary
This book reminded me quite a bit of the Lamplighter books. It had the same feel and time period as a lot of them, but unfortunately was sub-par in writing quality. I did make it through the entire book, and some of it was enjoyable, so I gave it two stars for that. However, I had multiple issues with it, which I will get to in a minute.
-The characterization was strong, and I felt like I came to know the characters well.
-The Dressmaker’s Secret had a classic feel to it, and held to the strong moral integrity of bygone ages, while still feeling like a new story.
-I liked the premise of the story and the intriguing mystery that was wound through it.
-While I liked most of the characters, there was an overabundance of them, and the author tried too hard to make each of them an integral part of the story. Also, I felt like telling the story through the eyes of an eight-year-old wasn’t a wise decision, and it led to several problems (such as the character making poor decisions, but no consequences resulting, and the story was limited to what the character could know/comprehend).
-Plot issues. For the first half or so, the plot was pretty good. Not strong, but good. Then after about the halfway mark, it plummeted. It skipped around in time to explain things which lead to confusion. The worst part however, is a spoiler. (view spoiler)
Overall, I would say pass on this one. The talent is there, it just needs time to develop and grow.
Rating: 2 stars
Violence: 3/10 (injuries, death)
Language: 0/10 (that I can recall)
Sexual Content: 2/10 (rumors of children out of wedlock, man sleeping with another woman before his wife, etc)
*Many thanks to the author for providing a copy to review*
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