Wednesday, 4 December 2013

The Midnight Dress - Karen Foxlee

The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee
Review by M

Rose and her dad spend their lives moving from caravan park to caravan park in Australia. This time, they’ve ended up in a very small coastal town in Queensland (possibly where the rainforest meets the reef). This time, Rose has to go to school and ends up in a class with Pearl, who is the kind of girl she likes the least. All of the girls are planning dresses for a festival parade and Rose, who has no money or no interest in this, gets caught up in things she never expected. And then something happens to the girl in the midnight dress.

The Midnight Dress is a very textured novel and the writing mostly matches its evocative setting. The UK cover promises this and the chapter headings develop it too. Like the midnight dress, the story is stitched patchwork piece by patchwork piece. I loved that about it.

The back cover promises magical realism but I felt that the story’s insinuations and intrigue slightly overshadowed the magic. At first, I enjoyed the story but then it went down cold paths that I didn’t think matched the overall warm tone of the story. I’m left disappointed by the ending.


Publication details: 2013, Hot Key Books, London, paperback
This copy: review copy from the publishers

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