The Dress – Kate Kerrigan

Published by Head of Zeus

ebook – 1st July 2015
Hardback – 27 August 2015
Paperback – 1 March 2016

Lily Fitzpatrick loves vintage clothes, made all the more precious because they were once worn and cherished by another woman. Thousands follow her fashion blog and her daily Instagram feed. One day she stumbles upon an extraordinary story.

Joy Fitzpatrick not only shares Lily’s surname. She was a fashion legend, famed for her beauty and style in 1950s New York. For her 30th birthday, she is said to have commissioned a dress so beautiful that nothing in couture would ever be able to match it. She turned to a young Irish seamstress, called Honor Conlon, to create her sublime vision.

THE DRESS interweaves the passionate and surprising stories of three women. Joy and Honor, whose destinies are linked not only by a piece of timeless fashion, but by the ruthless love of one man. And Lily, determined to find out if the legendary dress still exists, and if it does, to bring it back to glorious life.

Yesterday, it was my turn for ‘The Dress’ blog tour, and Kate shared a very personal and moving memory of her brother Tom.  It is a beautiful post – you can read it here

The Dress is a story that slips seamlessly between 1950’s New York and the present day and it’s ‘The Dress’ that ultimately binds three women together, Joy Fitzpatrick, Honor Conlon and Lily Fitzpatrick.

The story really begins in 1930’s Ireland with a young boy from an abusive family wanting to get away and make a success of his life. How this fits into the story becomes clear as the story progresses.

Joy Fitzpatrick is a New York socialite. She has beauty and wealth and a seemingly perfect marriage to Frank, but despite all this, she is still not completely happy. When she discovers a talented young seamstress Honor Conlon, a partnership and a friendship develops and Joy commissions a dress that she believes will make her husband fall in love with her again and will make her the envy of New York.

Lily Fitzpatrick is a modern day vintage fashion blogger living in London. She adores vintage clothes – she wears them, she buys and sells them and she very successfully blogs about them. However Lily has a hidden desire to be a designer but what holds her back is a lack of confidence. When she comes across a picture of a beautiful vintage dress, owned by someone with her own surname, she wants to know more – and this is how the present day story blends into the 1950’s.

As is often the case with dual time novels, I often favour one period more than another. In this case I only very slightly preferred the time spent with Joy than with Lily and I think this was only because I was so enthralled by Joy and her story that I wanted to find out more before leaving her. Having said that all the characterisations are superb and Lily was a wonderful character in her own right; I really enjoyed the time spent with her best friend Sally and Gareth, the very nervous owner of the second hand shop frequented by Lily.

I have read several books by Kate Kerrigan – all 5* reads, including this one. I loved The Dress. I loved the glamour of the 1950’s setting and the shifting relationships between Joy and those close to her. This is not just a story about a piece of fabric, it’s about love, betrayal and relationships and how life can so suddenly change. There were some deeper issues reflected within the story which had a rippling but devastating effect across the lives of our main characters. There were many times when I could have wept for Joy and others when I wanted to shout at her for being so spoilt. I’m trying not to give away too much of the story as you really need to discover this for yourself, but all I can say is read it – you won’t be disappointed.

My thanks to Emily and the publisher for the paperback copy to review.

At the time of writing this review, The Dress is available to download from Amazon for just £1.19 – a bargain price for a fabulous story. 

About the author:

Kate Kerrigan (real name Morag Prunty) began her career as an editor and journalist editing More! and Just Seventeen before returning to her native Ireland in the 1990’s to edit Irish Tatler.  Kate is a New York Times bestselling author, whose novels are popular worldwide and have been translated into 15 languages.  Kate lives with her husband and two children in County Mayo, Ireland. 

How to find out more –

Website –

Twitter – @katekerrigan

Facebook – Kate Kerrigan Author


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