The Cornish Dressmaker

Written by Nicola Pryce
Review by Ann Northfield

It is 1796, and Elowyn Liddicot is young, independently minded and attractive, as is usual with heroines. When the novel opens, she is engaged to Nathan Cardew, but she then becomes involved in the rescue of a mystery man from the sea, William Cotterell with whom she falls madly in love. Elowyn has to resist the machinations of her family to keep her independence and her business of dressmaking.

This is a sequel, following on from Pengelly’s Daughter and The Captain’s Girl, and there is quite a bit of back history for the reader to catch up with. It would have been easier to follow had I read the previous two novels. The plot trundles along quickly enough, however, and there are twists and turns and many characters who are not as they seem. Is it Nathan or William who is telling the truth? I had to try to overcome a rooted aversion to novels who use accented dialogue (badly) all the way through. One example of many: ‘An’ next week ye’ll do the same, an’ ye’ll keep yer mouth shut’ (p72). This is one for fans of historical romance such as by authors like Dilly Court and Rosie Goodwin, and for those readers who are drawn to book covers like this one has, with a young woman dressed in period costume wrapped in a shawl looking at the camera. Not my kind of thing, but I am sure it will have its market.