Nicole's Reviews > The Woman in the Green Dress

The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper
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really liked it
bookshelves: historical-fiction, my-books, australian-fiction

The Woman In The Green Dress is the eighth novel from Australian author, Tea Cooper. The stunning cover with the vivid green dress immediately caught my eye and I was eager to read it when I learnt that it was historical fiction. I was interested to note that it is a story based on people from the past…..Tost and Rohu were two people who opened a taxidermist shop while Baron Charles von Hugel, Johann Menge and the Darkijung Indigemous people did exist. In Coopers’ version, she uses a split narrative structure to link the lives of Della Atterton in 1853 and Fleur Richards in 1919. What do these two women have in common?

Della Atterton is not your typical lady and one who I had great admiration for. Residing in rural Mogo Creek, NSW, she is an independent young woman who is comfortable within herself. Della is an earthy woman who is at one with a nature that is both wild and harsh. With her big heart, Della’s loyalty is strong as is her relationship with the native Australians, the Darkinjung people. No matter a person’s race or creed, she is helpful and stands up for the rights of other people. Cooper sensitively deals with the plight of the Indigenous people as she reminds us of the treatment they received hundreds of years ago. She also reminds us that there were people such as Della who were kind and respectful of the Indigenous way of life. Captain Stefan von Richter was another character who didn’t agree with the treatment of the Indigenous and who Della had a delightful romance with. He is the opposite of Della in that he has been raised as a gentleman yet they make a good couple because they both have good hearts. When fate brings them together, Della and the Captain embark on a journey to Sydney, NSW, for two very different reason and where the Curio Shop of Wonders awaits them. Passed on to Della after the death of her parents, she returns to the city to find out what has happened to the store that is now under the care of her Aunt Cordelia.

Fleur Richardson is a lady that is typical of the time. When I first met Fleur, she was living in England a year after the great war. Fleur receives news that her husband, Hugh, has been killed in the battle. I felt for Fleur as she was unable to come to grips with the new situation she found herself in. Now a widow, Fleur must deal with the secrets that Hugh has kept. This was not at all surprising as Fleur and Hugh had only known each other for five weeks before they married and he left to fight! Everything that Hugh owned has now been passed onto Fleur, including land in NSW. Fleur surprised me by deciding to move to Australia by herself to unravel Hugh’s secrets. I didn’t think that she would survive the boat journey, let alone living in a new country, but she did. With the help of the local community, Fleur showed that she could arise in the face of adversity, that she has a hidden, inner strength. Will Fleur discover her husband’s secrets? What links Della and Fleur over fifty years apart?

With themes of war, class, women, family history and the Indigenous people this is a historical fiction read that is unique to the plethora in the market.

Thanks to Beauty and Lace for the chance to review this book!

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Reading Progress

February 8, 2019 – Started Reading
February 8, 2019 – Shelved
February 10, 2019 – Shelved as: historical-fiction
February 10, 2019 – Shelved as: my-books
February 10, 2019 – Shelved as: australian-fiction
February 10, 2019 – Finished Reading

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