A debut loosely inspired by Rosalie’s mother, a talented seamstress, and her experience of growing up in a small country town – Jerilderie – The Dressmaker quickly became a modern classic, beloved by readers for its delicious mix of haute couture fashion, drama and an engaging cast of eccentric characters.
Fifteen years later, Jocelyn Moorhouse’s award-winning film adaptation, starring Judy Davis, Kate Winslet, Hugo Weaving and Liam Hemsworth, hit screens all over the world. A box office sensation, the film propelled Rosalie’s richly imagined story of love and revenge to soaring new heights.
Audiences around the world swiftly fell in love with Tilly Dunnage and the portrayal of this tiny rural community on the NSW-VIC border.
Now, in the 20th anniversary year of The Dressmaker, Rosalie Ham returns with The Dressmaker’s Secret. It is 1953 and Melbourne society is looking forward to coronation season, the grand balls and celebrations for the young queen-to-be.
Tilly Dunnage is, however, working for a pittance in a second-rate Collins Street salon. Her talents go unappreciated, and the madame is a bully and a cheat, but Tilly has a past she is desperate to escape and good reason to prefer anonymity.
Meanwhile, Sergeant Farrat and the McSwiney clan have been searching for their resident dressmaker ever since she left Dungatar in flames. And they aren’t the only ones.
The inhabitants of the town are still out for revenge (or at least someone to foot the bill for the new high street). So when Tilly’s name starts to feature in the fashion pages – the jig is up – along with Tilly’s hopes of keeping her secrets hidden…
Image: The Dressmaker’s Secret – courtesy of Pan Macmillan Australia