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The Winter Dress


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 artist Catharina van Shurman for one season at her property outside the Hague. The two women were said to be close, so why did Anna abandon Catharina at the height of her misfortune? And was the dress a gift or did Anna come by it through less honest means? Jo is determined to find out, but as she delves deeper into Anna's history, troubling details about her own past begin to emerge, disrupting the personal narrative she has trusted for sixteen years.

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 her connection to the woman who wore the Winter Dress.

Praise for Lauren Chater
‘A heartfelt tale of female solidarity.’ Daily Telegraph

'An absolutely gripping read, with a powerful and ultimately hopeful story to tell.' Booktopia

‘A meticulously researched novel … Full of hope, heartache and the power of keeping traditions alive.’ Books+Publishing

‘From the very first line, I was captivated … There is beauty to be found everywhere.’ Natasha Lester

‘An imaginative tour-de-force!’ Kate Forsyth

‘Bold, evocative and brave … I am in awe of Lauren Chater’s talent.’ Tess Woods

‘Exquisite, empathetic and engrossing storytelling from an extraordinarily gifted writer.’ Wendy J. Dunn

Photograph © Lauren Chater

Lauren Chater is the author of the historical novels The Lace Weaver and Gulliver’s Wife, as well as the baking compendium Well Read Cookies – Beautiful Biscuits Inspired by Great Literature.
In 2018 she was awarded a grant by the Neilma Sidney Literary Fund to travel to the Netherlands to research her third novel The Winter Dress, inspired by a real 17th century gown found off the Dutch coast in 2014. She has made appearances at the Brisbane Writers Festival, Storyfest, the Southern Highlands Writers’ Festival and the Tamar Valley Writers’ Festival, as well as many others. She is currently completing her Masters of Cultural Heritage through Deakin University.
For more Lauren, see:

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Australia (March 30, 2022)
  • Length: 432 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781760850234

More books from this author: Lauren Chater