After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. She plans only to check on her ailing mother and leave. However, when she falls in love she decides to stay and become part of the small town again. Not an easy task and a painful one.
The little towners will not so easily accept an outcast, for this is what Tilly is to them. However, when they realize that her craft is really ahead of time, they will want to take advantage if it, without making the slightest effort to accept her as part of their local society.
Some things never change and so are some really stubborn people in the small town of Dungatar.
The book is a dark satirical story of revenge in the 1950s. The characters are described in the non flattering way, as all their flaws come to first view wight when meeting them. The decay that overwhelms the Australian country, the filthy people and the hidden secrets, represent a big portion of the many families across the globe those days. However, this situation has not changed at all. Domestic violence is still out there. Unfaithful husbands and wives have not stop cheating on their partners. People still marry people they don’t love and end up being miserable. Oppressed people are greedy and mean.
The author has done a great job at bringing haute couture to the foreground, among the secrets, the hate and love that surrounds it. The fabrics, designs and colours are so vivid, that the reader visualize the gowns and suites and all those masterpieces that the main character creates for her haters. The ending was an absolute must and expected one for such a story.