Longlisted for the 2022 ARA Historical Novel Prize.
‘From a few shimmering strands of truth, Lauren Chater has spun an intriguing story of love, loss and fulfilment.’ Pip Williams, bestselling author of The Dictionary of Lost Words
Two women separated by centuries but connected by one beautiful silk dress. A captivating novel based on a real-life shipwreck discovered off Texel Island by the bestselling author of Gulliver's Wife, Lauren Chater.
Jo Baaker, a textiles historian and Dutch ex-pat is drawn back to the island where she was born to investigate the provenance of a 17th century silk dress. Retrieved by local divers from a sunken shipwreck, the dress offers tantalising clues about the way people lived and died during Holland's famous Golden Age.
Jo's research leads her to Anna Tesseltje, a poor Amsterdam laundress turned ladies’ companion who served the enigmatic artist Catharina van Shurman. The two women were said to share a powerful bond, so why did Anna abandon Catharina at the height of her misfortune?
Jo is convinced the truth lies hidden between the folds of this extraordinary dress. But as she delves deeper into Anna’s history, troubling details about her own past begin to emerge.
On the small Dutch island of Texel where fortunes are lost and secrets lie buried for centuries, Jo will finally discover the truth about herself and the woman who wore the Winter Dress.
Praise for The Winter Dress
‘Vivid, expansive and richly imagined, The Winter Dress weaves together a fascinating historical mystery and an uncompromising portrait of the possibility and price of female autonomy with remarkable and deeply affecting results.’ James Bradley, author of Wrack
'Wrap yourself in Chater's prose. The Winter Dress is a captivating tale of discovery and obsession by one of Australia's very best historical fiction authors. Absolutely essential reading.' Melissa Ashley, author of The Birdman’s Wife