'Big girls in 19th-century England don't cry in Graeme-Evans's light tale about a plucky heroine who endures a series of harsh trials on her way to becoming London's leading dressmaker.
'Things start to go south for curate's daughter Ellen Gowan on her 13th birthday, when the dress Connie, her mother, makes her, entices one of her father's students to steal a kiss. Scandal and ruination seem imminent when her father dies, forcing mother and daughter to seek refuge with Connie's sister, who lives in terror of her baronet husband. There, Ellen's friendship with her cousin, Oriana, blossoms, until once again a young man stirs trouble, and Connie and Ellen land in London, where Connie succumbs to illness and Ellen marries a cad who leaves her pregnant and alone.
'But with a little help from friends, family, and unlikely sources, Ellen becomes the go-to creator of "all manner of finery" for England's most prominent families.' (Trove)