Friday, February 24, 2017

Book Review: The Dressmaker’s Dowry by Meredith Jaeger

Book Synopsis
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?


Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

My Review
The Dressmaker's Dowry is the story of three women.  In the present day, Sarah Havensworth is writing a historical novel set in old San Francisco.  Her research leads her to a fascinating and troubling mystery from 1876, of two immigrant dressmakers, Hannelore Schaeffer and Margaret O’Brien, who disappeared.  She becomes obsessed with their stories and wants to find answers.  

The book deftly moves back and forth from the present day to 1876.  Meredith Jaeger beautiful evokes another time and place with the 1870's San Francisco setting.  Readers come to know Hannelore (Hanna) as she moves between a seamstress shop to a society mansion searching for her lost friend Margaret.

The writing is beautiful with passages like:
"Turning around, I looked back in the direction I'd come from . The street hummed with forgotten history.  But was this truly a good idea?  The walls of that old saloon held secrets.  I'd held on to my own long enough to know what it felt like and that dredging up the past could often reveal something ugly" (p. 46).

I truly loved everything about The Dressmaker's Dowry.  The dual storylines were fascinating.  The historical details intrigued me.  I particularly loved the stories of Sarah, in the present day, and Hanna, in the 1870's.  Their romantic stories, with Hunter (Sarah) and Lucas (Hanna) were just as interesting as the mysteries that propel this novel.

I cannot recommend The Dressmaker's Dowry highly enough for other fans of historical fiction.  It was a lovely read that I am sure I will want to re-read and experience again in the future.  Five stars!

Author Bio
Meredith 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.

I received a copy of this book from HarperCollins and TLC Book Tours.


Heather J @ TLC Book Tours said...

Wow, what a great review for this debut! I'm thrilled that you enjoyed it so much.

Thanks for being a part of the tour!

trish said...

"The street hummed with forgotten history." I love that sentence so much!