Cover Image: The Hat Girl From Silver Street

The Hat Girl From Silver Street

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Member Reviews

First Initial Thoughts

Ella at the beginning of the book is working at a hat store as a hat designer. Her boss, Ivy Gladwin is not very nice and belittles her work every time. Ella’s father recently was in a work accident and is now confined in a wheelchair. She knows she must keep working to support her father and herself, but she also doesn’t want to work for Ivy. Ella’s father suggests that she open her own hat business and helps her get started. Together, they open the front part of their house into a little hat store and start selling hats. When one wealthy customer comes in, Mrs. Fortescue, and is pleased with the hats, she brings in even more customers. And through word of mouth, Ella has many new customers. 

Ella was such a sweet woman and willing to do what it takes to make things work. She persevered through the difficult stages of opening the business and making it a success. She started the business with little to no money and was able to make it grow. I found this to be such an inspiration and I loved that her dad was supportive of her career. I think without her Dad, Ella wouldn’t have had the courage to start the business. 

Harper Fortescue is the son of Mrs. Fortescue. Through his mother’s business relationship with Ella, he was able to meet her. He was engaged to a woman named Darcie Newland. Harper does not love her and finds Darcie to be an immature spoiled woman who thinks she is owed everything in life without hard work. When he meets Ella, he believes he found the woman he wants to marry. Will their love overcome all the obstacles in their lives? 


Ella’s family lived in the poor part of town. I found it interesting that Lindsey never really went into the atmosphere of what it was like living in that neighborhood. There were brief mentions of chimney sweep workers (this was an actual career) and how dirty they were, but that was about it. Even though Lindsey never really went into the home life of the well-off, it was somehow perceived how they were living. I guess that is good writing! 

Final Thoughts 

Ella was a smart businesswoman and it showed in her success. Even though there were people who tried to undermine her success she kept going trying new designs and business strategies. Ivy, her previous boss was jealous of Ella’s success. This kind of reminded me of today’s social media and how we like to compare ourselves with others. Especially those that are in business. While we could remain jealous and spiteful, we actually could learn from those individuals. What are they doing right and what can we learn? 

In the book, Darcie is portrayed as a spoiled woman who thinks she deserves everything in life. However, as the novel progressed I felt she was kind of miss understood. Her parents knew of their daughter’s behavior but did nothing to help fix it. I think Darcie was suffering from some kind of mental health issue. During that time period, mental health was not talked about or even dealt with humanely. Even though I kind of saw what was coming for her, I do hope she was able to seek help afterward.  

I won’t spoil the ending but I have to say that I was quite shocked. I was not expecting what happened in the end. It reminded me of how life is. I liked how realistic it was. Life is hard and this book did not shy away from that fact. But it also showed that as people we can move on. We can persevere and make a success in life if we try and work hard.
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A gritty, poignant and atmospheric Victorian saga, Lindsey Hutchinson’s The Hat Girl from Silver Street is a tale of ambition, resilience and survival from a master storyteller.

Life for Ella Bancroft is no bed of roses. With her father wheelchair-bound after a tragic accident and her mother dead, the burden of duty and responsibility lies heavily on young Ella’s shoulders. Her sister Sally and work-shy brother in law Eddy are no help at all, so it is up to Ella to keep a roof over their heads, the bailiffs at bay and herself and her father fed, clothed and watered. Ella’s life is one of constant sacrifice, worry and anguish, but compelled to find a job to keep the wolf from the door, she wonders whether a talent for millinery will stand her in good stead and keep her family from becoming destitute. Setting up shop in the front room of their house on Silver Street, Ella – helped by her father Thomas – begins to work hard to establish a thriving concern and the fashionable ladies of the Black Country soon begin to take notice and start clamouring for her creations. For the first time in a very long while, Ella feels as if happiness might be within reach, but could a cruel twist of fate put paid to all of her hopes and dreams for the future?

When she meets the man of her dreams, it looks like Ella can finally stop worrying and fretting, but as events conspire to once again test Ella’s mettle, will the courageous milliner end up crumbling under the pressure? Will her fighting spirit see her once again triumphing over the adversity being thrown her way? Or does fate have further surprises in store for her?

Lindsey Hutchinson’s The Hat Girl from Silver Street is a heart-warming saga from a terrific storyteller that tells the story of a resourceful, loyal, courageous and strong heroine who is determined to rise above the straitened circumstances she had been born into and to make something out of herself for her sake and that of her family’s. Ella is in an inspirational heroine readers will warm to and cheer on in her quest to become the mistress of her own destiny.

Lindsey Hutchinson’s The Hat Girl from Silver Street is a touching, enjoyable and dramatic Victorian saga perfect for curling up with.
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Wow! What a book. One that took me to heights of elation and slammed me back to earth in a matter of few pages.

Ella’s triumphs and tribulations had my insides in turmoil. One moment she would be rejoicing with happiness; the next moment she would be shedding tears over another setback.

The Hat Girl from Silver Street is an utterly gripping story. I finished the book in two days straight. I was mesmerized by Hutchinson’s writing skills. The story flowed smoothly. I eagerly kept on turning the pages to see how Ella would conquer all the challenges that life threw at her. With help from her near and dear ones, she succeeds but also learns a truth: sometimes, you cannot win. You simply must accept. I cannot divulge anything more than this.

I liked all the characters in the story. Not even one seemed a waste to me. Hutchinson breathes life into every character, each of whom contributes to the drama. However, Ella was my favorite due to her creativity and resilient spirit. Her father, Thomas, comes a close second due to his staunch support for Ella.

Despite a heartbreaking conclusion, I loved the book. Usually, I do not like tragic endings, however, that’s the power of Hutchinson’s writing. The Hat Girl from Silver Street by Lindsey Hutchinson is highly recommended for lovers of historical and literary fiction.

Many thanks to the publisher for my digital copy of the book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion on the book.
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Heartwarming family saga with some great characters .A young girl determined to succeed,encouraged by her dad ,faces rivalries and jealousy which put hurdles in her way.
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The story began innocuously, but developed with a burst! Ella Bancroft is one of the the most resilient women of her time. She faces adversity with such vigilience that she is an amazing example for her friends and other young women wanting to start new businesses.
Ella opens up a hat business to keep her and her disabled father from being homeless. 

This plot is one the author takes in so many directions that you can’t put it down because you will become so invested in Ella and her life choices that you will need to know the outcome. 

I definitely would recommend this book!

I received a free advanced copy from NetGalley and these are my willingly given thoughts and opinions.
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The Hat Girl from Silver Street by Lindsey Hutchinson is a historical fiction saga set in Victorian England. It is 1900 we are in the Black country, Walsall. Ella Bancroft is an apprentice hatmaker working in a shop. Her father has an accident at work so they live on Ella's wages alone, until the day she makes one mistake too many and is sacked. 
Ella and her father set up a Milliners from their home with Ella making hats. The business takes of and she meets Harper, a dashing young man who falls for Ella as much as she falls for him. Their biggest issue is the marriage of convenience that Harper is already promised to.  What hope is there for the couple when Ella is a lowly milliner? What does the future hold, if anything for this young couple?
What an emotional book such heartbreaking moments that tugged at my heartstrings. The characters we meet on Ella's journey along with Ella, are all well developed and give you the feeling of being back in the 1900s with them all. I adore a good saga as  I love history and  really enjoy being wrapped up in times gone by and all the problems people had then. I almost feel like I have an extended family whenever I finish a book such as this! A beautiful book that holds a beautiful tale. Another fantastic saga from the Boldwood stable of writers. 
Thanks to Rachel's Random Resources,  Boldwood Books and NetGalley for the copy of the book today.
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How young Ella grows from being an apprentice to a slave driver of a milliner and establishes her own successful business makes for a remarkable story. She goes to work to support her wheelchair bound father, but then he finds that he can help her with setting up a business. Through her business she meets the man she falls in love with. But then trouble comes in many ways and Ella's spirit is tested. 

This is a story of entrepreneurship, courage, loyalty and love that manages to draw you in although it is set in the 1900s. The characters in the story are so well defined - some mean, vindictive, some kind and gentle - and it's easy to get emotionally involved with the story. I found myself moved to tears at times, and smiling at other times as I got so caught up in this beautifully told story.

This is my first book from this author, but I'm certainly going to be looking out for more from her as her writing reminds me of Catherine Cookson, whose books I grew up with.
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This is an engaging story of a young woman who is struggling to keep her family afloat. She is working as an assistant hat maker to a woman whose ideas are out of fashion and who isn’t shy about stealing Ella’s ideas. Her father decides that it is time for Ella to open her own shop.

The book deals with topics such as disability during this time period. Ella’s father is unable to walk which strains the family finances. Through the book you see him moving out of depression to finding meaning and unexpected skills by helping Ella make hats. However, there is some derogatory language about disability used in Ella’s mind when she described him as “emasculated” by not being able to walk. It didn’t seem accurate or necessary for the story.
There are also a lot of considerations of class dynamics. Ella is working class and has her store front in her house in an unfashionable area of town. Her first customers are upper class. There is a woman who is engaged to a person in that supportive family who is horrified to be required to come to a working class house.

I’d recommend this book for fans of historical fiction with strong female characters who face a lot of adversity.
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The Hat Girl from Silver Street is a glorious story of love and loss between the social classes in 1900 victorian times.  The characters Lindsey portrays are so realistic you can believe you are a bystander.  I loved it.
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The Hat Girl from Silver Street by Lindsey Hutchinson grips the heart and gently twists it.

This historical fiction saga set in 1900 revolves around Ella, a sweet girl taking care of her depressed wheel-chair-bound father. Working in the millinery trade for a witch of a shopkeeper, she is barely holding body, soul, and home together.

With help from her father, she sets out to open a shop selling her own creations. Times are so hard in the Black Country, and they scrimp by until fortune begins to smile upon them. Then trouble once again finds poor Ella. Will she be able to overcome the heartbreak that follows her?

The cast of characters is well-defined. I promise you will either love or hate them. When I thought it was unrealistic that so much was working out for Ella and her friend Kitty, the rug is pulled out from under them.

The subject of depression is artfully woven throughout the story, which had to be accurate in that period of time. Life was so hard for common people.

Overall, I enjoyed this novel. It made me laugh, cry, and even talk to the characters a time or two. If historical fiction is your genre, you will love this story. Please don't take my word for it; pick up a copy today and judge for yourself.
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I have read a few of Lindsey’s books now and I have really enjoyed them.  When I read the synopsis for ‘The Hat Girl From Silver Street’, I knew that I was going to be in for a treat.  I was spot on too as reading ‘The Hat Girl From Silver Street’ was certainly a treat and I enjoyed every single minute of it but more about that in a bit.
I loved the character of Ella Bancroft and took to her from the very start.  In fact I grew to consider her to be more a friend than a character in a book.  She is a lovely young lady, who is working as a sort of apprentice/ assistance to an unpleasant woman, who treats Ella like a piece of dirt.  Something happens and Ella is forced to leave her job.  Ella is forced to find another way to bring the pennies in as she is the only wage earner in that house.  Ella’s father and Ella come up with the idea of setting their own business up.  Ella doesn’t have it easy at home either.  She lives with her disabled father, who is only able to get about with the aid of a wheelchair.  Ella has a sister, who is married to a workshy individual.  Ella certainly has a lot on her plate.
It’s no word of a lie when I say that I was drawn into this story from the very first word on the very first page.  The book seemed to develop a hold over me and it was a hold that I wasn’t willing to break.  I just couldn’t put the book down.  The book wasn’t exactly glued to my hand but it might as well have been because it travelled everywhere with me.  I couldn’t bear to miss a single second of the story.  I think that part of my addiction to this book is down to the fact that I liked Ella so much and I had to find out what happened to her and to her family.  I couldn’t turn the pages quick enough as I worked my way through the story.  Then all too quickly I reached the end of the book and I had to bid farewell to Ella.  
‘The Hat Girl From Silver Street’ is superbly written but then I think that to be true of Lindsey’s books in general.  She certainly has a way of writing stories that really get under your skin and affect you emotionally.  I found that on more than one occasion my eyes welled with tears and at other times I was saying random comments to the book as if the individual concerned could hear me.  I find that if I enjoy a book to the extent that I enjoyed this one then I tend to ‘live’ the story as if it were real.  ‘The Hat Girl From Silver Street’ certainly took me on one hell of an emotional rollercoaster ride.  I found ‘The Hat Girl From Silver Street’ to be a gripping read, which held my attention from start to finish and it had me on the edge of my seat.
In short, I thoroughly enjoyed reading ‘The Hat Girl From Silver Street’ and I would recommend it to other readers.  I will certainly be reading more of Lindsey’s work in the future.  The score on the Ginger Book Geek board is a very well deserved 5* out of 5*.
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Apprentice hate maker Ella Bancroft works under the ever watchful eyes of her rather nasty employer Ivy Gladwin. When Ella’s loving father pushes her to see her own self worth, she makes the decision to leave her job and embark on a new adventure, with more determination than ever to make something of herself.

Thomas Bancroft is wheelchair bound, following an awful accident at work many years before, is left feeling somewhat useless. When he discovers a talent with ribbons he never knew he possessed, himself and his daughter Ella pull together and open up a store of their own, and produce the finest hats in Walsall.

This book was such a joyous story to lose myself in. The author does a marvellous job of exploring the living situations, alongside the various hardships people would have faced in those times too, in such a way that allows you to picture the scene perfectly in your mind. The characters were wonderful and endearing, each having their own stories to share, alongside having their individual personalities which impacted on their relationships throughout.

The story was wonderfully written and flowed perfectly right to the very end. The plot was intriguing and truly captivating, I found myself lost in the story, and completely invested in the lives of the characters. I would certainly recommend this book for others who love historical fiction.
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ife is tough for Ella Bancroft. After her father, Thomas, is wheel-chair bound bu an accident at the tube works, the responsibility for keping a roof over their head falls to Ella. Ella is essourceful as well as creative, and soom discovers she has a gift for millinery. She sets up shop in their two-up, two-down home in Silver Street. Before long, the fashionable l;adies of the Black Country are lining op to wear one of Ella's beautiful creations. Meeting the man she longs to marry should be a turning point. But not everything goes to plan.

This is another well written book that draws you in at the beginningand doesn't let you go until the end. With a cast ful of charactersyou will mostly love, a few that deserve what they get in life and one spoilt brat you will quickly want to put over your knee and give them a good skelp. This is a heartwarming but also heartbreaking tale of romance, friendships, betrayal, death and loylaty. I would have liked to have learned more about what happened next to Ella and the reat of the remaining characters. But i was gald to see a few get their comeuppance.

I would like to thank #NetGalley, #BoldwoodBooks andthe author #LindseyHutchinson for my ARC #TheHatGirlOfSilverStreet  in exchange for an honest review.
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The Hat Girl From Silver Street by Lindsey Hutchinson is women’s fiction with a lot going on. In fact, it is a lot of things but not any one thing. One could almost consider it a story of friendship, or a historical family drama, or a romance, or a tragedy, or a story of friendship. It is all these things while also being a beautiful inspiring novel celebrating the resilience of the human spirit and the determination to pursue a dream. 

I was quite taken with the character Ella Bancroft from the beginning. Events made her life one of two steps forward and one step backwards as the sayings goes. Cheerfulness and perseverance were two strong attributes of this character. Her life is not easy in Black Country at the turn of the century. Her approach is admirable and inspiring in what I thought would be a somewhat Cinderella story. Sadly, it is not, the conclusion is not at all what was expected. 

I truly hope that this is not the last that will be seen of Ella and her friends. The ending was so shocking that I felt that something more must happen to Ella in a future book. Still I loved this story but while Ella accepts her seemingly future life, I cannot but hope for another visit to Ivella’s shop. 

An ARC of the book was provided by the publisher through NetGalley which I voluntarily chose to read and reviewed. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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Thank you to Lindsey Hutchinson and Rachel's Random Resources for a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions expressed in this review are my own.

The Hat Girl From Silver Street is one of the most dramatic books I've ever read. You have so much going on throughout the entire book; the drama doesn't end until the story does. The early pages of this novel draw you in right away with fantastic writing and enough spectacles to satisfy any lover of juicy drama. It's the type of book you don't want to end because you're so entertained that you could just remain in that world observing everything.

So let's talk about characters. Ella is the delightfully ordinary main character. There is literally nothing special about her but yet she is so perfect in her role. Hutchinson did an amazing job with this cast of characters. They all have such different personalities and perspectives. This is one cast of characters that won't be easily forgotten. From the quiet hat maker, to the jealous business woman, to the handsome rich guy, to the spiteful scorned woman, this book has it all. Also, I absolutely loved Ella's dad. He is the supportive person that every single person needs in their life.

My only critique is that a couple situations were resolved too easily for Ella. I feel like the parts where these issues were resolved could have been drawn out a little more.

I'm not a fan of book series by any means, however if the author ended up turning this book into a series and kept writing about these characters I would absolutely keep reading. I'd recommend The Hat Girl From Silver Street for anyone who would like a soap opera in literary form.
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I really liked the story of Ella, the milliner.  It was a different style to what I usually read which is sometimes more serious historical drama . 

However I became engrossed with Ella's life and her struggles to make ends meet after her beloved father's death and loss of her job at  Gladwins.  She was tenacious and with father's help was able to set up her own millinery business.  When she met Harper,  she fell head over heels in love and although there were obstacles in their way, they were able to finally see a future together.

Unfortunately  things did not go their way and I was heartbroken as i had not envisaged the ending. Ella was a brave, kind  ambitious lovely young woman.  I hope to find more of Lindsey's heroines in the future.

Thank you for the opportunity to read this book.
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A little different from previous books I have read by this author, THE HAT GIRL FROM SILVER STREET reminds me a little of Catherine Cookson in style and tale rather than the usual stories of orphans I have come to know by Lindsey Hutchinson. Set in 1900, it focuses on a young woman who makes a name for herself as a milliner in the Black Country town of Walsall towards the end of the Victorian era, her life and her loves as well as her heartbreaks.

An apprentice hat maker, Ella Bancroft works under the watchful eye of her mean and nasty employer Ivy Gladwin. Encouraged by her kind father to see her true worth, Ella leaves the job where she is under-appreciated for a new venture that she endeavours to make a success.

Wheelchair-bound after a work accident some years before, Thomas Bancroft feels useless and unable to contribute until one evening, playing with some ribbon, he discovers a rare talent he never knew he had. Finally with a reason to smile again, he and Ella set up shop together in the front room of their house where she can put her millinery skills to work on making the finest hats in Walsall.

Unsure of her success in the beginning, Ella soon finds herself in demand when Mrs Elena Fortescue pays her a visit to buy a hat for her son's upcoming wedding. On subsequent visits she brings the bride-to-be, Darcie Newland, and her friends as prospective customers. But spoilt and snobbish Darcie turns her nose up at the provincial little shop and anything it offers, despite having loved the hat Mrs Fortescue had purchased previously. However, Darcie thought she had purchased such exquisite finery in London or Birmingham, or somewhere far more fashionable than Silver Street. But Ella would not be swayed and soon put the spoilt Darcie in her place, much to the amusement of Elena Fortescue and her friends.

Then, having heard such favourable things about the milliner from his mother, Harper Fortescue decided to pay the shop a visit to purchase something different for his upcoming wedding. He didn't expect to walk away with more than a new hat but upon entering and seeing Ella for the first time, Harper fell in love. Little did he know that Ella's emotions were as awhirl as his were and as soon as he left the shop, Ella couldn't stop thinking about him. Thomas could see his daughter was in love but wisely advised that nothing good could come from it as social status divide them. Besides, he was betrothed to another and was not hers to have. And yet, Harper cannot keep away from the little shop or the beautiful milliner.

Meanwhile, back in town Ivy Gladwin was at a loss as to why her sales had all but disappeared as day after day people passed her window display but no one entered her shop. Then one day the bell above the door tinkled as a woman walked in and pointed at the hat taking pride of place in her display window. Smiling, Ivy prepared herself for the compliments she expected from her hard work but instead was shocked when the woman criticised the monstrosity and by way of parting said there were far more striking and modern hats being sold down on Silver Street for a much better price. Ivy was speechless. Silver Street? Ella? She wouldn't...would she? Ivy knew then what she had to do. She took herself down to Silver Street to take a look for herself and was disheartened when she saw the beautiful hats on display in the front window. And then, Ivy smiled wickedly as an inkling of an idea began to form. What better way to draw customers back to her shop and get her revenge back on Ella at the same time?

Also hoping to gain from Ella's success is her sister Sally who could not be more different. Newly pregnant, Sally attempts to ingratiate herself with her younger sister in the hope she will be rewarded, as her husband Eddy had not yet seen fit to get himself work of any kind to support both his wife and expected child. This causes a lot of tension between the sisters as Sally strikes out spitefully at even the mention of Eddy and work. Sally even resents Ella's kindhearted neighbour Flossie Woolley's presence each time she finds her in the cosy kitchen. But Sally is needing money for the baby, and soon, as she makes suggestions to sell items that Ella prefers to hold on to. Furious at being unable to sway her sister, Sally flounces out without so much as a goodbye each time. And yet every day, Sally returns with yet more criticism and vitriol to spout, no doubt.

When Ella's sales start dropping off and continue to do so, Ella and her father endeavour to put measures into place to ensure her bespoke designs remain protected. And yet no matter what she does, customers appear to now be going elsewhere.

Despite his circumstances, Harper Fortescue cannot keep away from the little shop on Silver Street. He finds any excuse to pay a visit, purchasing many hats along the way. Although he is promised to another in a marriage of convenience, it is clear just looking at them that the couple are in love. But Harper is of middle class standing and Ella is just a milliner...what can the future possibly hold for them?

And then tragedy rocks Ella's world in a way she wonders will she ever come back from it?

Secrets, betrayals and deception abound in this touching yet heartbreaking tale set in the late Victorian era as we meet plenty of characters along the way - some likeable, some not so likeable. With a good range of traits from vindictive and sly to the sweet and gentle to the candid and outspoken, prepared to feel a range of emotions along the way, getting entirely lost in the story.

Due to the nature of sagas, they are generally predictable but still rather enjoyable. Despite this I found one aspect to be quite unpredictable as I didn't expect it, nor did I like it. But aside from the unexpected ending, THE HAT GIRL FROM SILVER STREET is an entirely enjoyable story that is perfect for fans of historical fiction sagas like Catherine Cookson and Dilly Court.

I would like to thank #LindseyHutchinson, #RachelsRandomResources, #Netgalley and #BoldwoodBooks for an ARC of #TheHatGirlFromSilverStreet in exchange for an honest review.
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What a wonderful story The Hat Girl From Silver Street was, and also my first outing with this author and be I will come back to based on this book.

The story revolves around Ella, the younger, and nicer of two sisters. She is a hard worker under the employ of a milliner. With low wages and unfair working conditions, her father encourages Ella to leave. Between them, they start their own business and this introduces them to many other people. 

This is a lovely story that I found very easy to get caught up in. The author delves into the living conditions briefly as well as the hardships and uncertainties of the time. Starting a business from scratch is a brave decision but the author has given solid reasons. Meeting new people in a society is one fraught with danger as Ella's shop is in her house.

This story revolves around family and life in general. A society that is all about class and getting the best marriage deals is something the author did tackle well. It made for an agonising waiting game as I read the story, getting more and more drawn in. 

There are some really good characters that range from the outspoken to the more gentle and with a good range of traits that include vindictive, sly, aloof and downright nasty there is something to keep a sense of intrigue. This means that you will root for some and wait for the others to get their comeuppance. 

Overall a great story to lose yourself in for a few hours, it is one that I found easy reading as well as very addictive. A little predictable at times but still very enjoyable. One for those that do like their historical fiction and romance that leans more towards the family saga style of story. One I would recommend and a great introduction for a new to me author.
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I had not read any of this author's books.  I found this story well-written but also predictable. Ella is an engaging character, and the parts about making hats was quite interesting. I don't think I would read the follow-up book, though.
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An emotional book but such a lovely story. I would put this in the category of family sagas so if they are your type of book this is right up your street
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