Tilly Dunnage has come home to care for her mad old mother. She left the small Victorian town of Dungatar years before, and became an accomplished couturier in Paris. Now she earns her living making exquisite frocks for the people who drove her away when she was ten. Through the long Dungatar nights, she sits at her sewing machine, planning revenge.

In the 1950s, Myrtle “Tilly” Dunnage returns to her home town to care for her mother. She was run out of town after an incident in her childhood, and while she is back home she plans revenge on those who scorn her. While away she trained as a dressmaker in Paris.

The writing style of this novel left me confused. There were the occasional paragraphs that contained nearly every character, and what they were doing at that moment. There are so many characters in this book, it’s really hard to keep track of who’s who. For me, a book with too many characters is not enjoyable.

I also found some of the language used off-putting, particularly when describing male body parts. For example:
“She lifted the sheet and looked down at Evan’s squishy, orange, wet conger lolling on his thigh.”
I had to briefly stop reading – I haven’t come across it written like that before, and I found it quit disgusting!

Quite often, in novels that I’ve read before, when a person returns to a town they’ve been run out of, it’s revealed in a large way at the end of the novel, and it seems to tie everything up. In this novel, it seems just thrown in there, to add to the plot. And the ending was awful. Once I’d finished it, I just sat and shook my head for a moment.

I found myself wanting to stop reading after 50 or so pages, but stuck with it to see if it gets more interesting or funny. Unfortunately, I found the whole book to be a chore to read, and I couldn’t wait to be done with it so I could move on to another book. I’m really disappointed, as I expected it to be better than it was.



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