Book: The Tailor's Daughter - A Novel by Janice Grahamcategories: Book, Historical Fiction, Women's Fiction, Romance, British Fiction, Historical Romance, Historical Women's Fiction, Victorian England
Janice Grahamabout this book: Set in 1860's Victorian England, The Tailor's Daughter tells the story of Veda Grenfell, an unconventional young woman with an indomitable spirit. Raised on Savile Row, the enclave of fashionable London tailors, Veda is every inch her father's daughter. She has inherited his talent, his sense of style, and his love of tailoring. When a fever leaves her deaf at the age of sixteen, shattering her hopes of marriage, only Grenfell's familiar workshop offers any promise of an active life. Determined to prove her worth in a world off-limits to respectable women, Veda persuades her father to promote her to the front of the shop where she makes a name for herself as tailor to London's smart young sporting set.
Veda matures into a woman of eye-catching beauty, inspiring the devotion of her dear and faithful tutor, Mr. Nicholls, as well as an ambitious Italian tailor who seeks to rise in her father's firm. For years, Veda has been increasingly drawn to Harry Breadalbane, a young viscount with humane ambitions frustrated by the expectations of his class. Heedless of the unsettling rumors about Harry's family and his brutally powerful father, Veda has absolute faith in Harry's goodness. When passion turns to betrayal, she abandons her beloved Savile Row and sets off on a treacherous journey that will lead her into a world of deception, murder, and madness.
Of all my novels, none have been as fascinating to research as The Tailor's Daughter. I'm often asked why I chose to make my heroine deaf. The answer is that the element was very much a product of my subconscious. The idea for the story came to me one night just as I was falling asleep, when my mind was in a pre-dream state . The character just waltzed into my head, quite vivid and very much her own woman: there she was, fitting a coat on a gentleman client. What was all the more remarkable is that I've never had any exposure to deafness. My first real contact with the Deaf community was through my research and my ASL classes.
The most exciting aspect of my research was the tailoring. I made a trip to London where I interviewed master tailors from two of the most respected firms on Savile Row—Henry Poole and Maurice Sedwell. It was a marvelous experience. I was given access to archives and nineteenth century work orders, and I actually handled some royal livery. The work that goes into bespoke garments is mind boggling; those garments are in a class all their own.
Henry Poole graciously fitted me for my own bespoke suit—photos of that experience, as well as a TV interview on Kansas City Live where I model the suit, are here on my website. http://janicegraham.com/media-events/ (Please note that my hair never, ever looks like this! Heaven knows why I tried something new the night before...and then I spent the morning trying to get the curls out. )
• "Graham is always and abundantly a good time…the sheer generosity of her invention, and her unfailing ability to create believable characters of every ilk, from the tepid to the grotesque, are nothing short of stunning." — Kirkus Reviews
• "…engrossing…the redemptive ending will please fans of the genre." — Publisher's Weekly
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Video: Janice Graham shows off her Henry Poole suit and talks about researching her novel, The Tailor's Daughter
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