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The Dressmaker's Dowry    by Meredith Jaeger order for
Dressmaker's Dowry
by Meredith Jaeger
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2017 (2017)
Softcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Folk in 1876 San Francisco lived very different lives much like today where the rich disdained contact with those who struggled to put food on the table and a roof over their heads.

Two dressmakers (Hannelore Schaeffer and Margaret O'Brien) live on the wrong side of the tracks but brush against the elite from time to time. They cater to the very rich by designing and sewing dresses for high society, and also do repairs to these gowns.

When Margaret disappears, Hanna searches the gritty streets looking for her friend. Strangely, a wealthy man seems to have taken a liking to Hanna and helps her with her search. When Hanna discovers what happened to Margaret, she too disappears.

Present day San Francisco bustles with a tech boom and former journalist Sarah has married above her station and needs more to do in her life than cater to a mother-in-law who disapproved of Sarah's marriage to her son. She stumbles into archives at the local library and discovers newspaper clippings about both Margaret and Hannalore. What she learns changes her life and that of her husband as well.

A great plot. And characters who seem as alive today as they did when the Barbary Coast was a port for all persons looking to make it big in the world. I loved Hanna. When she took the bit in her teeth, she never gave up until she had achieved her goal. No matter the price she had to pay.

The Dressmaker's Dowry is a well-written book that slides from the past into the present with no disruption in the pace of the story. A mystery with no blood! And it's good.

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