"The Dressmaker of Prospect Heights" | Reviewed by Susan Ferguson
“The Dressmaker of Prospect Heights,” by Kitty Zeldis, is a historical novel that takes place in Brooklyn, New York in 1924. It is the story of three very different women and their secrets. The novel unfolds as each of the women reveals their back story in detail. It is this detail that develops their characters and keeps you engaged.
We meet Beatrice Carr just as she’s moved to Brooklyn. Bea has left her questionable past behind in New Orleans and has decided to open a dress shop. Bea has brought Alice, an orphaned young teen, with her. Bea has cared for and raised Alice since Alice was orphaned as a young child. Both Bea and Alice have an eye for fashion and Alice is an excellent seamstress. Their dresses soon become sought after and are even featured in a newspaper article. Bea came to Brooklyn for another reason though, to find the daughter she gave up for adoption at birth.
Catherine Berrill is a newlywed who desperately wants to start a family. In her family of origin, she was an only child and now she loves being part of her husband Stephen’s large Irish brood.
One day Catherine stops in Bea and Alice’s dress shop in a worried state, trying to deal with her emotions and struggles to conceive. Bea recognizes Catherine’s name as that of the daughter she has been looking for.
The rest of the story builds on this encounter. How the three women meet, the reveal, and the subsequent relationships that develop between them. The author’s details in each of the women’s backstories are well developed as it takes us back to 1924. The three stories are nicely intertwined and provide a satisfying ending.
I really enjoyed “The Dressmaker of Prospect Heights” and felt connected to all three women. I also enjoyed the fashion descriptions, as I tried to picture the dress designs in my mind.