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The Woman in the Green Dress Paperback – 16 June 2020
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About the Author
Tea Cooper is an award-winning, bestselling author of Australian historical fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist, and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling. Visit her online at TeaCooperAuthor.com; Instagram: @Tea_Cooper; Twitter: @TeaCooper1; Facebook: @TeaCooper; Pinterest: TeaCooperAuthor.
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1919, Fleur arrives in Sydney, she discovers she is the rightful owner of farmland in Mogo Creek and a boarded up derelict taxidermy shop called the curio shop of wonders. All left to her by her deceased husband Hugh, she’s shocked and why didn’t Hugh tell her he was wealthy? I must admit I find the whole subject of taxidermy rather creepy; I had doubts about if I would I like this story and I’m happy that I continued reading the dual timeline book and it’s an interesting historical fiction tale.
1853, Della Atterton lives on a farm in Mogo Creek near the Hawkesbury river, she works as a taxidermist and her father taught her this very unique trade. Her parent’s tragically passed away, her Aunt Cordelia runs her father’s shop in Sydney and she assumes everything is fine? But when Captain Stefan von Richter arrives to inform her of what’s going on and she discovers her Aunt is up to no good. Not only is her Aunt selling special tonics to the ladies of Sydney, odd feathered creations, she’s selling traditional aboriginal items and where did she get them from?
Both Fleur and Della’s stories are connected, as you read The Woman in the Green Dress, the story keeps you guessing, as it unfolds and it all makes perfect sense at the end. It’s a story about greed, deceit, intrigue, murder, secrets, a very complicated family tree, stuffed animals, stolen aboriginal treasure and a cursed Australian gem stone. I enjoyed the book, four stars from me and Tea Coopers books are never boring.
In 1918 in London, just after Armistice Day, Fleur Richards learns that she has been widowed. Her Australian husband, Hugh Richards, has left her wealthy. Fleur cannot believe that Hugh is dead and wants nothing to do with his estate. But she is persuaded to travel to Australia to sort out Hugh’s affairs.
In 1919, Fleur finds herself at the Berkeley Hotel in Sydney. She and Hugh were not married for long before his death, and she is keen to learn as much about him as she can. Fleur finds that amongst the property she has apparently inherited is land at a place called Mogo Creek and an old curio shop in Hunter Street, Sydney. Fleur had walked past the shop and had noticed that it was boarded up.
Fleur’s quest for information takes her to the Hawkesbury where she finds more questions than answers. She also explores the curio shop premises, with the assistance of Kip, a young returned soldier who works for the Sydney lawyers handling Hugh’s estate. Who was Hugh? What is the mystery behind the curio shop, and where does Stefan von Richter and his quest fit into the story? As the story unfolds, new questions arise. Fleur’s inheritance is not straightforward, but she has the strength to deal with it. And the green dress? That’s part of the mystery that Fleur will solve in a very satisfying way.
This is the second of Ms Cooper’s novels I have read and loved: count me as a fan. In an historical note at the end of the novel Ms Cooper writes that ‘The Woman in the Green Dress is a work of fiction, however in some cases fact has
fed fiction.’ Fascinating.
Highly recommended to lovers of historical fiction set in Australia.
Note: My thanks to NetGalley and HQ Fiction for providing me with a free electronic copy of this book for review purposes.