Book Notes Review: The Lost Dresses of Italy by M. A. Mclaughlin

Back of woman in blue dress walking down Italian street. book cover for The Lost Dresses of Italy

The Lost Dresses of Italy
by M. A. Mclaughlin

The Lost Dresses of Italy is a historical fiction book and a murder mystery. The story is told in two points of view and with two timelines. In October 1947, widow Marianne Baxter, a textile historian, travels to Italy to help prepare three dresses for an exhibit. The dresses were owned by Christina Rossetti and found in a trunk in a museum undergoing restoration. In 1865, Christina Rossetti is almost late to a meeting with a potential donor. Christina volunteers at a halfway house for women, and the potential donor had contacted her. It turns out the donor is an old friend of her father’s from their revolutionary days in Italy.  He will meet her again in Italy during a trip planned by several members of Christina’s family. The trips for both women, Marianne in 1947 and Christina in 1865, become far more than they initially planned. Both trips involve mysteries, deception, and betrayal.
As I read, I found myself looking up information about Rossetti because the book piqued my interest. The author also starts each chapter with the beginning lines from Monna Innominata: A Sonnet of Sonnets, written by Rossetti. There are several mysteries in the book. The book opens with a murder that is still unsolved. No one knows how Christian Rossetti’s expensive dresses ended up in Italy; her home was in London. It seems these two events are unrelated, but as the story continues, the answer to smaller mysteries leads to bigger ones. I enjoyed reading this book. Recommended.

Thanks to #NetGalley for providing a free copy of #TheLostDresses in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.

Publishing Info:
Publisher: Alcove Press
Genres: General adult fiction, historical fiction
Pages: 304
ISBN: 9781639105649
Pub date: Feb. 6, 2024