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Cornish Saga #3

The Cornish Dressmaker

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Cornwall, 1796.
Seamstress Elowyn Liddicot's family believe they've secured the perfect future for her, in the arms of Nathan Cardew. But then one evening, Elowyn helps to rescue a dying man from the sea, and everything changes. William Cotterell, wild and self-assured, refuses to leave her thoughts or her side - but surely she can't love someone so unlike herself?

With Elowyn's dressmaking business suddenly under threat, her family's pressure to marry Nathan increasing, and her heart decidedly at odds with her head, Elowyn doesn't know who to trust any more. And when William uncovers a sinister conspiracy that affects her whole world, can Elowyn find the courage to support the people she loves in the face of all opposition?

400 pages, Paperback

Published July 1, 2018

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About the author

Nicola Pryce

7 books36 followers

Nicola Pryce is published by Atlantic Books and represented by Teresa Chris. She loves both literature and history, and has an Open University degree in Humanities. She is a qualified adult literacy support volunteer and lives with her husband in the Blackdown Hills in Somerset, UK. She and her husband love sailing and together they sail the south coast of Cornwall in search of adventure.

Pengelly's Daughter is her first novel, then The Captain's Girl, The Cornish Dressmaker, The Cornish Lady, A Cornish Betrothal, The Cornish Captive and The Cornish Rebel.

Nicola is a member of the Romantic Novelists' Association and The Historical Writers Association.

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5 stars
82 (56%)
4 stars
40 (27%)
3 stars
15 (10%)
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7 (4%)
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Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews
Profile Image for Yvonne.
1,434 reviews102 followers
July 14, 2018
Cornwall in 1796. Think smuggling, mining, fishing, a time of new ventures and risks. This is where Elowyn Liddicot (Elly) lives. She has a loyal shadow in the form of Billy, a young lad who is inquisitive as he is loyal and trustworthy. Elly is torn between a marriage to Nathan who can provide her with a good stable home and life, but then there is William Cotterel, a washed up man who has nothing to apart from a passion for right and wrong.

This is an absolute cracker of a read as I got to travel along the lanes and shores of rugged Cornwall. An area I know well from living here for 18 years, so it was very easy for me to use the authors words to imagine the scenery. This book has a mix of things I like from a historical fiction read, history, facts, references and also some good old fashioned romance.

Elly has to make a decision, it should be her own but her family are pushing her towards Nathan. It is the ideal way for her family to take a step up the status ladder, not nice but it’s something that happened more often than not. If it wasn’t for Willaim washing up then there would be no decision, so he is the proverbial spanner in the works.

The story itself is one that had some interesting asides to it as the author used things that happened at the time with mining, advances in technology as well the judicial system to give a great depth to the story, making it more that just a historical romance.

There are several character sin this book that covers various roles and it didn’t take me long to get a grasp as to who was who. The story started off at an amble that gradually picked up a little speed as I got comfortable in its pages.

So this is a book I would definitely recommend, if you like Cornwall, historical fiction, Romance and also  Poldark then you should definitely choose this.
Profile Image for Jaffareadstoo.
2,637 reviews
May 10, 2018
In The Cornish Dressmaker we travel back to the late eighteenth century, back to a very different world where women were only deemed to be as good as the man they married, and even though Elowyn Liddicot is a successful seamstress, it is still considered more important that she marries well. Being courted by local man, Nathan Cardew, appears to be a good match, that is, until the wild and mercurial, William Cotterell appears in the most unlikely of circumstances and totally disturbs Elowyn’s peace of mind.

Elowyn’s inherent connection to the wild and windswept coastline and her association with the great and the good of the area give her a certain amount of social status, and yet, with social recognition comes responsibility, and Elowyn finds out, to her cost, that her kind heart and compassionate nature, may result in her social downfall. Discovering secrets about her family puts Elowyn in a quandary which will place those around her in grave danger. The struggle that takes places as Elowyn fights to discover those secrets is never going to be straightforward and that's what makes the story so appealing.

Wonderfully recreating the past in a very believable way, The Cornish Dressmaker brings to life all the sights, sounds and atmosphere of a Cornish village. A village which, though beholden to its heritage past, is also struggling with a fair amount of poverty, and as families fall on hard times, there are also those who are determined to exploit them with underhand dealings. The twists and turns in the plot add a frisson of excitement as the Cornish world with its chequered history of illicit smuggling, and tin and clay mining comes gloriously to life.

In this third book of the series, the author has continued to weave a wonderful story about characters who are now as familiar as friends, and returning to the Cornish villages of Fosse and Porthcarrow now feels like coming home. The story flows beautifully and the characters who flit into and out of the story add such warmth and depth that you can't help but be carried along with them as their story unfolds.

It’s perfectly possible to read The Cornish Dressmaker as a standalone story although, as always, with any series, it's much better to have followed the series from the beginning.
Profile Image for Sharon.
275 reviews
March 24, 2019
First time I read this author. Wow definitely earned my five star rating. A love story with sinister twists and turns. True love knows no bounds. Love triumphed in the end. I turned the last page wanting more. Sadly no more but left to ones imagination you can write your own happy ending. I like to think Elly and William realised their dream and Billy graduated becoming just like William who he loved as a brother. Will defintely read Nicola Pryce again.
Profile Image for Julie.
171 reviews3 followers
August 4, 2019
Early on I thought this might be a 3-star. It took me a while to warm to the heroine, and although the author’s undeniably done her research, at times I found myself glaze over at some of the descriptions. But it grew on me, and although I haven’t decided whether to read the rest of the series I certainly enjoyed this one.

It’s setting is Poldarkian, and it recreates that world very effectively. It also reveals the many abuses and scams inflicted so ruthlessly on all levels of society - for example, . Of course smuggling is rife - we meet the smugglers very early on, as Elowyn and her devoted young friend Billy take refuge in a cave, having just hauled a near-drowned William out of the sea.

It’s a world in which violence and deceit are around each corner, and in her 22 years Elowyn - the eponymous dressmaker - has met with both. It’s led her to be ferociously independent, very guarded around men and very protective of her independence. It makes her an unwilling recipient of Nathan’s suit - a man her whole family are urging her to wed, one who has a prominent position in the town and who seems a fine catch. It also makes her prickly and suspicious around William, as she is at pains to preserve the protective shell in which she’s encased herself.

The author does an excellent job of building Elowyn’s character, even if early on it makes her hard to like. We see the realities of the home life she’s fled, the toxic relationship she has with her mother.

One weak point, I thought, was the suddenness of Subsequent to this, the connection between the two becomes much more convincing, to the point where Elowyn’s devastation is heart-rending.

By this point in the narrative, it’s easy to see why neither Elowyn nor the reader knows who to trust, as layer after layer of violence and deceit comes to light, and as the culprits act to cover their tracks and lay blame elsewhere. It’s an exciting read, as events hurtle towards a conclusion. It’s tightly plotted, and it had me guessing. By the time it all comes together at the end, and the extent of the conspiracy gripping Fosse is revealed, it’s truly chilling.

So despite a few early reservations, this was an excellent story - definitely one worth reading.
Profile Image for Joanne.
336 reviews5 followers
May 24, 2018
I can't decide between 4 or 5 stars.

It's been a little over a year since I won the first in this series in a Good Reads giveaway, and I have to say that it was great to find a new author whom I love, but also that she's cracking out books at a fair pace.

I liked this book, but I didn't love it as much as The Captain's Lady, and I think it's because Elowyn and William don't have a lot of interaction before they decide they're in love with each other. I just didn't see the build up because time was given over to Elowyn trying to decide whether she liked Nathan or not.

Besides that, it is another great novel with a deep sense of time and place. Elowyn is beset on all sides by the schemes of family, friends and her presumed fiancé, and she faces the real prospect of losing everything she is and has worked for if she marries Nathan. Although there are cameos from the characters in Pengelly's Daughter and The Captain's Lady, this novel is not about them; and for once in a historical novel, the romance is between two skilled workers rather than one or both being part of the gentry or aristocracy. it made a nice change.

Once again Nicola Pryce shows how a historical novel with romantic elements can be written without having to fall back on lust and ripped seams.

I'm hoping number four in the series will be out in time for summer.
May 12, 2018
Following on from Jo Barton's review - which is what I would have written too! - I really enjoyed the way the book explored Elowyn's status as an early example of an independent 'young professional woman' and all the challenges that would have brought about in those times. It made me hope that there was someone like her amongst my forebears! I admire how Nicola Pryce writes such authentically detailed historical novels but with issues and ideas explored which resonate for readers now.

The plot is very well paced, the characters well developed - I loved the scene when Rose from 'Pengelly's Daughter' arrives for the opening of the dock, the history is fascinating and the Cornish setting is evocatively described. This is one of those books you miss being with the heroine the day after you finish reading!

Book 4 please . . .
Profile Image for Orlagh.
72 reviews16 followers
May 12, 2022
I read the Cornish lady first and didn't realise this was a series but you can read then as a stand alone. This by far beat the Cornish Lady I absolutely Loved this one more. The storyline was fantastic. I listened to it rather then reading it and really wished I had read it. It was a clean read with a mystery make it your next book to read. This is up there with my top 10 books! Can't wait to listen to the rest!
46 reviews
February 8, 2022
Love this series

Each book just gets better and better. If you like to know how things continue at the end of a book you'll enjoy this series too. Cannot wait to read the rest of the series.
Displaying 1 - 12 of 12 reviews

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