THE WEDDING DRESS SEWING CIRCLE by JENNIFER RYAN

Three plucky women lift the spirits of home-front brides in wartime Britain, where clothes rationing leaves little opportunity for pomp or celebration–even at weddings–in this heartwarming novel based on true events, from the bestselling author of The Chilbury Ladies’ Choir.

Cressida Westcott fled her family manor many years ago. She is now a very successful designer in London and runs her design house. Until the Blitz. Bombs drop on the poor and wealthy the same way. Like so many people, she now has no place to go. Swallowing her pride she calls her niece and nephew who still live at the manor and is told she is more than welcome.

Returning with only what she had on when the bombs fell. Her niece, Violet, is thrilled her aunt has come to stay. Violet is young and about as shallow as a saucer on the surface. Her father taught her from birth that it is her job to marry well and have children.

Cressida isn’t the only thing going to the manor. So is Violet’s conscription letter. She is furious. How in the world can she find a titled husband wearing a uniform and scrubbing toilets?

Meanwhile, in the village, the vicar’s daughter, Grace, is hoping her sewing circle can help mend her mother’s wedding gown so that she can wear it at her own wedding to a much older and staid man of the cloth.

While trying to be useful Cressida and Violet both volunteer at the sewing circle and much to everyone’s surprise it’s a great fit. Cressida has connections and Grace is a worthy protege for her. As she helps them, they also help her. What woman doesn’t want a special white dress for her wedding? The ladies soon hatch a plan to get as many gowns as they can and re-make them so the war brides all feel special on their day.

Having Cressida down in the village encourages her nephew, Hugh, to come as well. And he finds he may still have feelings for the little girl who was his best friend for so long.

Oh, the power of women having to make do. That is when things get interesting. And this book was full of women getting the job done. And figuring out who they are in this new world.

Such a beautiful concept and telling of a story that made me laugh and cry!

NetGalley/: May 31st, 2022 by Ballantine Books

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