Ellen Gowan spent the first 13 years of her life raised in a loving, though poor, home in Victorian England. When a tragic accident takes the life of her father, Ellen and her mother must figure out how to take care of themselves. Over the course of her teenage life, Ellen suffers more loss and faces much struggle, although she acquires some new friends.
She has a talent, however, for drawing and sewing, enough that she eventually is able to make her own way as a dressmaker in London. Just when she is truly finding great success, Ellen must face challenges from her difficult past that threaten to take away all that matters the most to her.
The Dressmaker is absorbing reading. Ellen is a sympathetic, strong character whose strength and capacity to endure hardships make readers want to see the best happen for her at last.
Rated: Moderate, for a brief but moderately detailed sexual scene.