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The Grace Kelly Dress

by Brenda Janowitz

GENRE: Historical Fiction, Family Drama

One wedding dress—a replica of the infamous wedding dress of Grace Kelly—is passed down through three generations of women. The alterations each woman makes to the dress reflects their own struggles and hopes as they forge their own paths in life. A lovingly told story of the bonds between mothers and daughters through the traditions they all share.

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Author Biography

Brenda is the author of seven novels, including The Grace Kelly Dress. Her eighth novel, The Audrey Hepburn Estate, will be published by Harper Collins/ Graydon House on April 18, 2023. Her work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post, Real Simple, The Sunday Times (UK), Salon, Redbook, USA Today, Bustle, The Forward, the New York Post, Publisher’s Weekly, Hello Giggles, Writer’s Digest Magazine,, and xojane. She is the former Books Correspondent for PopSugar.

Brenda attended Cornell University and Hofstra Law School, where she was a member of the Law Review. Upon graduation from Hofstra, worked for the law firm Kaye Scholer, LLP, and did a federal clerkship with the Honorable Marilyn Dolan Go, United States Magistrate Judge for the Eastern District of New York. - Author's website

More titles by this author.



Three generations of women wear a wedding dress and make it their own, mirroring their own romantic struggles and triumphs, in this sweet family drama. Seamstress Rose is a struggling orphan in 1958 Paris. She lands a job in Madame Michel’s atelier and her sewing skills soon earn her Madame’s admiration. Unexpected circumstances force Rose to take a greater role in the atelier and alter her life’s course. Joanie, still hurting after the sudden death of her older sister, is beyond excited to wear the dress for her upcoming wedding to college beau Matthew—as long as she doesn’t think too hard about why she is more excited to wear the dress than she is to marry Matthew. Joanie’s daughter, Rachel, is as tough as her nickname Rocky implies. Rocky is a tattooed tech CEO and is not excited to continue the tradition of the dress. Alternating between the timelines of the three women, Janowitz gives each of them a unique voice and weaves a delightful tale of mothers and daughters and the delicate balance of keeping tradition while still forging your own path. -- Lynnanne Pearson (Reviewed 1/1/2020) (Booklist, vol 116, number 9, p47).

Kirkus Reviews

A wedding dress designed in 1958 Paris is passed along the generations in this three-part story about the women who wore it to walk down the aisle. This is the tale of one wedding dress. One-third of the story follows its design and construction by Rose, a hardworking seamstress and orphan who creates the dress for Diana Laurent when Madame Michel—the head of the atelier where Rose works—suddenly dies without naming a protégé to take over the business. The daughter and granddaughter of the original woman who wore the dress adapt it in two subsequent generations to make it their own. College-student Joan inherits the dress from her mother, and one-third of the book  details her ill-advised engagement in 1982 to a man she doesn't particularly care for even though she longs for a grand wedding and the inclusion of so-called "Princess Diana sleeves" on the dress. The remaining third of the book  details successful video game app developer Rocky's wedding planning in 2020 as she prepares to marry her love, Drew, a venture capitalist, and her inheritance of the dress, which she does not want to wear. Author Janowitz (The Dinner Party, 2016) has created a frothy story where unlimited money and love flow freely. The tale touches ever so lightly on weighty issues—drug use and overdoses, death, infidelity, a quest to find a birth mother, and gay rights. Joan's story has the most depth, but it hangs together uneasily with Rose's and Rocky's as a result, as it is a much earthier exploration of self, autonomy, and maturity than is offered by the other two stories. A story for fans of happily-ever-after, where love and acceptance resolve every problem and money is no object. (Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2020).


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