In January, the Brantford Public Library began the Bell City Author Series with a fabulous evening with Jennifer Robson. After previously meeting her in Burlington (May 2017) and learning about Goodnight from London, I was thrilled that she spent most of her time speaking about her upcoming book, The Gown.
Jennifer is not only a historian but laughed that she has been known as “the most successful Canadian author your have never heard of”. Here are a few fun facts from the evening:
- A Morrison Sandwich is NOT bought from a delicatessen but is what happens when the walls of bomb shelters blow out, causing the roof to collapse and make the people the middle of the “sandwich”.
- Anne Shirley is her favourite fictional character – she is one of mine too and if you have not completed the 8 books in the Anne of Green Gables series, it is time to revisit these Canadian classics!
- Her first book was written on maternity leave, caring for a baby and toddler – many parents have trouble even taking a shower during these months yet Robson was able to write a novel!
- She publishes a book every 12-18 months.
- While she writes one book, she is edits another and speaks about a third.
Robson did highlight Goodnight from London and how remarkable her grandmother had been. She was a journalist in the 1930s and 1940s working in a “man’s world” of bum pinching and sexual harassment. When most of the newsroom was sent overseas, her grandmother got her chance to be a journalist. She shared some vintage pictures of her grandmother stepping out in style back in the day.
She just finished writing The Gown which is the story of Queen Elizabeth’s, intricate bridal gown from the perspective of a seamstress. Despite the poverty, the coal shortage and the rationing, England celebrated this wedding. The ceremony may have been scaled back but not the gown!
Robson researched the gown, traveled to England and toured the studio where it was embroidered. She met the remaining seamstress who worked on the gown, now 90 years old, who had sewn each button hole on the dress with painstaking precision. The author learned how to embroider a flower and how amazing it was that the gown was completed in just 7 weeks time. I look forward to this book release and will add it to my collection which now includes:
The evening included a great discussion, Wayne Gretzky wine and a book signing. Although I already have signed copies of all her novels, it was great to chat with Robson at the end of the evening. It is terrific to have a local author series… although I will continue joining the Grimsby Author series too, especially since my book partner in crime’s birthday goal is to meet 50 authors this year!
Reading recommendation: Jennifer suggests reading The Alice Network although she cautioned the crowd NOT to begin it at 10pm as it is difficult to put down!