The Hatmaker's Heart: A Novel by Carla Stewart
A lovely story, gently told. Nellie March and her stammer, her dedication and her enjoyment of her craft grabbed me from the beginning. Her determination to follow her heart and dare to dream is inspiring. Her joy, her trials and tribulations as a hat designer, a milliner, sweeps us from New York to London and back to New York, from 1922-1923. This is a charming, and at times hard look at those competitive days of haute couture (as they are today), and the life and excitement surrounding the marriage of the Queen mother, Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon. The forays into speakeasies, cloche hats and flappers. I can see and touch those exquisite hats that Nell crafts. The bead work and colours come alive.
Then there's the hidden family secrets alongside the giddiness of those young things in high society. All is fascinating; as is a look at the life of employees behind the scenes, and the relentlessness of entering and the high fashion stakes. The fickleness, the desperation of the business is an undercurrent rippling in the background. Despite all, destiny calls.
Uplifting and heartfelt.