For readers who loved Remarkable Creatures, The Naturalist’s Daughter and The Birdman’s Wife comes The Woman in the Green Dress… 1853 Mogo Creek, NSW
Della Atterton, bereft at the loss of her parents, is holed up in the place she loves best: the beautiful Hawkesbury in New South Wales. Happiest following the trade her father taught her, taxidermy, Della has no wish to return to Sydney. But the unexpected arrival of Captain Stefan von Richter on a quest to retrieve what could be Australia’s first opal, precipitates Della’s return to Sydney and her Curio Shop of Wonders, where she discovers her enigmatic aunt, Cordelia, is selling more than curiosities to collectors. Strange things are afoot and Della, a fly in a spider’s web, is caught up in events with unimaginable consequences…
1919 Sydney, NSW
When London teashop waitress Fleur Richards inherits land and wealth in Australia from her husband, Hugh, killed in the war, she wants nothing to do with it. After all, accepting it will mean Hugh really is dead. But Hugh’s lawyer is insistent, and so she finds herself ensconced in the Berkeley Hotel on Bent St, Sydney, the reluctant owner of a Hawkesbury property and an old curio shop, now desolate and boarded up.
As the real story of her inheritance unravels, Fleur finds herself in the company of a damaged returned soldier Kip, holding a thread that takes her deep into the past, a thread that could unravel a mystery surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress; a green that is the colour of envy, the colour buried deep within an opal, the colour of poison…
The Woman in the Green Dress was a breathtakingly beautiful novel that I didn’t want to put down.
It was well written and cleverly structured, as the story follows two strong female protagonists, Della from Mogo Creek, NSW 1853 and Fleur who travels to Sydney, NSW in 1919 after being told that her husband has died serving his country. As they both unravel secrets of the past, the women naturally learn to live their lives in harmony with the world around them. I loved the intertwining and portrayal of all of the characters in the novel.
I particularly enjoyed the atmospheric descriptions of the Australian settings, especially since I have driven through some of these towns. I loved the descriptions of the Australian bush, including the scent of eucalyptus in the air. For me, this is home. It was also interesting to read the summary of the historical connections at the end. This book was well researched and a great balance of fact and fiction.
This was the first Tea Cooper novel I have read. Why haven’t I picked one of her novels up before? I hope to read many more of her novels. The Woman in the Green Dress was my last read in 2018 and one of my favourites. If you want an enjoyable read for the holidays, I highly recommend this book. I couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas present.