Wednesday, April 17, 2024

This Book is Like a Warm Hug – With a Mysterious Twist! This Month’s Book Club: The Winter Dress

Welcome to Capsule’s book club! We’re SO excited to bring you a new book each month to devour and savour. Whether you indulge in a few hours of luxurious alone time each Sunday, or finish your day with a chapter or two, we invite you to relax and enjoy, and if you’re so inclined, connect with fellow Capsule readers and your own family and friends to have a yarn about the book you’ve just read. We’ll be mixing up the titles we feature every month, so you’re in for an eclectic monthly journey.

This month, we’re diving into some historical fiction with a twist – The Winter Dress by Lauren Chater – that you won’t want to put down! And if you need any more reading recommendations, click here for our previous book club instalments!

Capsule x HarperCollins

I have to admit, when it comes to snuggling down with a good book, my usual go-to is something that Gillian Flynn could have written.

I like a little suspense, a little glamour, a little grit with my books – the more mysterious the better, the more twisty and turny, the greater the payoff.

But when I sat down to the read The Winter Dress, I found a different kind of comfy that made me kept turning page after page.

Jo Baaker, a textiles historian and Dutch ex-pat is drawn back to the island where she was born to investigate the provenance of a 17th century silk dress. Retrieved by local divers from a sunken shipwreck, the dress offers tantalising clues about the way people lived and died during Holland’s famous Golden Age.
 
Jo’s research leads her to Anna Tesseltje, a poor Amsterdam laundress turned ladies’ companion who served the enigmatic artist Catharina van Shurman. The two women were said to share a powerful bond, so why did Anna abandon Catharina at the height of her misfortune?
 
Jo is convinced the truth lies hidden between the folds of this extraordinary dress. But as she delves deeper into Anna’s history, troubling details about her own past begin to emerge.

Spanning two different periods – today and the 17th century – the dual timeline narrative kept the pace interesting and the RESEARCH – God, if I had paid even half as much attention to the details as Lauren when I was at university, I’d have passed with honours. (Well, maybe – I maintain to this day that shorthand was a waste of time, AUT).

It’s a story of love, and loss and gorgeous clothes: The main thread (see what I did there) is what fashion can tell us about the past – how history and culture are woven (sorry) through the textiles of the time, as the two stories blend with the two women’s separate struggles.

And yes, there’s a good modern mystery playing out too that will satisfy even the most chic-crime obsessed reader.

It’s a gorgeous fast-paced novel – sometimes I think historical fiction can meander a bit, but that was definitely not a problem with this book –  but one that was also easy and comforting, kind of like a hug from your mum (Mother’s Day, anyone?). However, it’s still suspenseful enough to have you hooked from the first page to the last, without making you feel sad about the state of the world because, you know, Jesus.

Grab a glass of wine and delve into Anna and Jo’s separate worlds – and forget about your own for just a few hours!

Click here for more book recommendations!

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