The Woman in the Green Dress
by Tea Cooper
Publication Date: June 16, 2020
Paperback, eBook, & AudioBook
Genre: Historical Fiction/Mystery
A cursed opal, a gnarled family tree, and a sinister woman in a green dress emerge in the aftermath of World War I.
After a whirlwind romance, London teashop waitress Fleur Richards can’t wait for her new husband, Hugh, to return from the Great War. But when word of his death arrives on Armistice Day, Fleur learns he has left her a sizable family fortune. Refusing to accept the inheritance, she heads to his beloved home country of Australia in search of the relatives who deserve it more.
In spite of her reluctance, she soon finds herself the sole owner of a remote farm and a dilapidated curio shop full of long-forgotten artifacts, remarkable preserved creatures, and a mystery that began more than sixty-five years ago. With the help of Kip, a repatriated soldier dealing with the sobering aftereffects of war, Fleur finds herself unable to resist pulling on the threads of the past. What she finds is a shocking story surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress. . . a story that, nevertheless, offers hope and healing for the future.
This romantic mystery from award-winning Australian novelist Tea Cooper will keep readers guessing until the astonishing conclusion.
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“Readers of Kate Morton and Beatriz Williams will be dazzled. The Woman in the Green Dress spins readers into an evocative world of mystery and romance in this deeply researched book by Tea Cooper. There is a Dickensian flair to Cooper’s carefully constructed world of lost inheritances and found treasures as two indomitable women stretched across centuries work to reconcile their pasts while reclaiming love, identity and belonging against two richly moving historical settings. As soon as you turn the last page you want to start again just to see how every last thread is sewn in anticipation of its thrilling conclusion. One of the most intelligent, visceral and vibrant historical reads I have had the privilege of visiting in an age.” —Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration
“Refreshing and unique, The Woman in the Green Dress sweeps you across the wild lands of Australia in a thrilling whirl of mystery, romance, and danger. This magical tale weaves together two storylines with a heart-pounding finish that is drop-dead gorgeous.” —J’nell Ciesielski, author of The Socialite
About the Author
Téa Cooper is an award-winning, bestselling author of Australian historical fiction. In a past life she was a teacher, a journalist and a farmer. These days she haunts museums and indulges her passion for storytelling.
Disclaimer: Although I received an electronic copy of this book from the publisher and Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours, the words and opinions below are my own.
I love opportunities to review books by authors I’ve not previously read. Tea Cooper has written several novels, but The Woman in the Green Dress is the first one I’ve come across. This was an opportunity to read something set in a place I was blessed to visit over 30 years ago (and where my father should have been this month had it not been for COVID-19), written by a woman who lives in and knows well the state of New South Wales.
The book starts in London – Armistice Day – and Cooper captures the sights and sounds of London in her opening pages. Fleur is torn between celebrating the end of the Great War and working so she can pay her bills. She’s waiting for her Australian husband to return from the front and whisk her away to his home, but the gentleman who comes to visit her teashop has news of a different kind for her. The action then shifts back to 1853 and two young women on a farm who are waiting for a delivery of food, drink, and business materials. There are interactions with the local indigenous community, and a rare albino kangaroo, but a storm is headed their way. Meanwhile, an Austrian army captain has arrived in Sydney on the hunt for a precious gemstone and has enlisted the help of an enterprising street boy. Cooper weaves these storylines together toward a beautiful finish in a book that I read in one afternoon.
The book was incredible. I found myself looking up the various locations Fleur visits on a map. I was reminded of how little I’d seen of Sydney all those years ago as I followed Fleur around. This is a city before the iconic bridge and opera house were even dreamed of, let alone built. I traced her passages on the Hawkesbury and MacDonald Rivers, and wished that I could go there and explore the communities Cooper described. This isn’t a pretty historical narrative either; Cooper has included some of the darker parts of Australia’s history such as exploitation and physical attacks against the Aboriginal people. I was also humbled by some of the things I learned. For example, how did I not know that opals could be found on other continents besides Australasia?
I’m not someone who gives every book I read a five-star rating. My main criteria for giving such a rating is how the book left me emotionally after the last page. If I desperately need Kleenex, then it gets the full five stars. The Woman in the Green Dress is definitely one of these books, and I’ll be looking for more by Tea Cooper in the future.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, June 16
Review at Bitch Bookshelf
Thursday, June 18
Review at Passages to the Past
Saturday, June 20
Feature at What Is That Book About
Tuesday, June 23
Interview at Let Them Read Books
Wednesday, June 24
Review at 100 Pages a Day
Saturday, June 27
Review at A Darn Good Read
Sunday, June 28
Review at Rejoice in Reading
Tuesday, June 30
Interview at Jorie Loves A Story
During the Blog Tour, we are giving away 5 paperback copies of The Woman in the Green Dress! To enter, please use the Gleam form below.
– Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on June 30th. You must be 18 or older to enter.
– Paperback giveaway is open to the US only.
– Only one entry per household.
– All giveaway entrants agree to be honest and not cheat the systems; any suspicion of fraud will be decided upon by blog/site owner and the sponsor, and entrants may be disqualified at our discretion.
– The winner has 48 hours to claim prize or a new winner is chosen.