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The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper

The Woman in the Green Dress (edition 2020)

by Tea Cooper (Author)

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3114563,461 (3.72)None
1853 Mogo Creek, NSW. Della Atterton, bereft at the loss of her parents, is holed up in the place she loves best: the beautiful Hawkesbury in New South Wales. Happiest following the trade her father taught her, taxidermy, Della has no wish to return to Sydney. But the unexpected arrival of Captain Stefan von Richter on a quest to retrieve what could be Australia's first opal, precipitates Della's return to Sydney and her Curio Shop of Wonders, where she discovers her enigmatic aunt, Cordelia, is selling more than curiosities to collectors. Strange things are afoot and Della, a fly in a spider's web, is caught up in events with unimaginable consequences. 1919 Sydney, NSW, When London teashop waitress Fleur Richards inherits land and wealth in Australia from her husband, Hugh, killed in the war, she wants nothing to do with it. After all, accepting it will mean Hugh really is dead. But Hugh's lawyer is insistent, and so she finds herself ensconced in the Berkeley Hotel on Bent St, Sydney, the reluctant owner of a Hawkesbury property and an old curio shop, now desolate and boarded up. As the real story of her inheritance unravels, Fleur finds herself in the company of a damaged returned soldier Kip, holding a thread that takes her deep into the past, a thread that could unravel a mystery surrounding an opal and a woman in a green dress; a green that is the colour of envy, the colour buried deep within an opal, the colour of poison.… (more)
Title:The Woman in the Green Dress
Authors:Tea Cooper (Author)
Info:Thomas Nelson (2020), 336 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper



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I chose The Woman in The Green Dress as my book club’s surprise selection for a number of reasons. We read a lot of contemporary suspense because my group likes a puzzling mystery, but we rarely read historical fiction because of the first statement. 😉 So I decided to find a book that would combine history with mystery plus had something a bit different. Hence Tea Cooper’s Australian-set, dual timeline, history/mystery. I usually have a good idea going into our discussions how my group will like a book — we have been meeting for years and years. But I am unsure what their reaction will be to this complex and sometimes weird book. It has a great gothic vibe going on, the characters are well-drawn, the setting cannot be better, and the two plots are tangled in creative ways.

Australia is a place I would love to visit, but probably won’t because of the distance and expense. The Woman in The Green Dress brings the reader to a past Australia with its natural beauty, yet ugly social structure. I found a lot of parallels with the policies and prejudices of the US during the same time periods. Cooper’s detailed descriptions helped me envision the flora and fauna and the plight of the Darkinjung people. Main characters Della and Stefan from 1853 and Fleur from 1919 are complexly written, but I have to say that Bert, a supporting character that spans both story lines is perfect in his portrayal. The story revolves around the death of Fleur’s husband in WWI and a missing opal in 1853, but there really is so much more to the book. I found the mysteries interesting, but the characters were what kept me reading.

I listened to the audiobook of The Woman in The Green Dress. The narrator does a wonderful job of making setting and characters come to life. The novel is published by Thomas Nelson, however, there is some language that traditional readers of Christian fiction may find offensive. I didn’t like it, but it didn’t make me stop reading either. Overall, I would recommend this novel, but perhaps not to every reader.

Recommended with some caveats. (Language)

Audience: adults.

(I purchased the paperback and audiobook from Amazon/Audible. All opinions expressed are mine alone.) ( )
  vintagebeckie | Aug 1, 2020 |
The Woman in the Green Dress takes place in two different times (as many books lately do.) It begins in London at the end of WWI with a young woman named Fleur finding out her brand new husband did not survive the war. They were going to live in his home country of Australia when he came home but now he has left her his estate. She is refusing to believe that he is dead but in her numb state she follows the directions of his solicitor and gets on the ship to Australia to get the details and wait for him – because he can’t be dead. She’d know it.

The second timeline takes place in the 1850s and shares the story of a man named Captain von Richter who is searching for what might be the first opal found on the continent. His story moves along as he searches for the gemstone and meets various people in Sydney and the countryside as he tries to discover who has it.

I really enjoyed this tale as the two stories come together to explain what happened to the opal and how the past connects to the future. It would have gotten 5 stars but for the every other chapter method of going back forth between timelines. That was a bit jarring for me. It’s too little information doled out at a time per timeline and it was just too disjointed for me. Others may feel differently – my old brain didn’t like shifting back and forth so quickly. The plot is solid, the characters engaging and other than that issue I thoroughly enjoyed the book. ( )
  BooksCooksLooks | Jul 24, 2020 |
Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.

I did not finish this book at 10 percent. Sorry, the changing perspectives and formatting was too much for me to overcome. I really liked the synopsis which is why I chose this book and just felt let down in the end. I noticed a lot of reviewers mentioned the slowly moving story and honestly I just kept going this is boring, this is boring, who is this, and this is boring.

"The Woman in the Green Dress" follows Fleur Richards. Fleur is waiting for her husband Hugh to return from The Great War (World War I) when she receives news of his death on Armistice Day. She supposedly leaves England for Australia (I didn't get that far).

What didn't help me while reading though is that we follow so many characters in this (and I only got to 10 percent). We are introduced to a character named Della. I still don't know what she was about since the formatting made it hard to "see" who was speaking. And then we followed Fleur and there was a male character whose name is eluding me right now.

I just have to say my first impression of Fleur was she was weak as anything. She literally hides and doesn't speak to anyone and the book jumps to a character in Australia who I assume is important later. I think Cooper didn't set up enough time for readers to even care about Fleur's predicament. She throws us right into Armistice Day and then Fleur sees the Queen of England and then runs home to bad news. The book would have been better to show Fleur and Hugh in love so that you at least care when she receives news of his death.

I think the writing wasn't doing a lot for me. The dialogue that I managed to get through felt stiff and forced. The book felt slow and also at the same time not as developed as it should have been. I know this is an ARC, but it was hard to get through this with the formatting being all over the place too. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
This is a stand-alone novel with two timelines one in 1853 and the other 1918 both set around the Hawkesbury region. In 1918 readers are introduced to Fleu Richards in a London Tea Shop. Fleur is anxiously awaiting the arrival of her husband Hugh Richard. Fleur is told her husband was killed and she needs to travel to Sydney, Australia to get the inheritance due her as Hugh’s wife. She doesn’t believe he’s dead. She didn’t get a telegram and where were his belongings?

It was a whirlwind romance. They dreamed of going to Australia to work a farm and raise children. He hadn’t mention anything about an inheritance. She hadn’t been married long before Hugh shipped out to do war duty. Maybe Hugh was in Australia waiting for her. She had to find out and make things right, so in 1919 Fleur arrives in Sydney. Boy was she surprised at what met her there.

Then in 1853 readers meet Della Atterton a broken woman, grieving the loss of her parents. Della’s aunt Cordelia heads to the family farm in Hawkesbury. Cordelia seeks to take over the shop in Sydney. Della takes over the taxidermy profession her father had done for the shop. Then in walks Captain Stefan Von Richter who seeks a unique opal and asks Della and Cordelia for help.

Fleur does some digging in the old Curio shop of Wonders and uncovers some bizarre items that get her digging around for more clues as to her late husband’s family history and affairs, that turn up some interesting artifacts. Fleur stumbles across an unexpected mystery to solve of a woman in the green dress. What was her role in all of this? What secrets did she have?

I enjoyed the fact that most of this novel took place in and around Sydney, Australia, the Hawkesbury River and Wiseman’s Ferry. I enjoyed the note to readers about the real historical facts this author used that inspired this story. I found them interesting. The author says, “In the latter part of the nineteenth century, two women, Tost and Rohu, opened a shop in George Street. An advertisement claims they sold “all kinds of taxidermist work” and held “the largest stock of genuine native implements and curiosities and possum, native bear, kangaroo and wallaby skins made up into carriage and travelling rugs.”

I enjoyed the unraveling mystery on both timelines even though I felt a little lost from time to time. I did like the fact that it mostly took place in Australia. It was a fun intriguing story with a splash of clean romance. I liked learning about the business of taxidermist (crazy stuff). All and all this was an interesting read with quirky characters working together in each timeline to get to the bottom line. The author includes discussion questions for you to use at your book club meeting.

ABOUT 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.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising”

Nora St. Laurent
TBCN Where Book Fun Begins! www.bookfun.org
The Book Club Network blog www.bookfun.org ( )
  norastlaurent | Jun 30, 2020 |
The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper features an eye-catching cover for this dual timeline, historical fiction novel. The story was a slow start for me as I struggled to find a connection between the two storylines. Somewhere around the 40% percent mark, my interest in the novel heightened. The story’s strength lies in the questions, searches, and mysteries, but I think greater character development would have enhanced the story.

Bert ranked as my favorite character in The Woman in the Green Dress. Though he was a secondary character, he drew the two timelines together and I liked him more and more as I traveled through the story. I also liked how certain characters’ histories and motives, some of which were surprising, remained a mystery until the proper reveal.

The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper is written for the general market and published by Thomas Nelson. It’s mostly clean with only an occasional crude word in the dialogue.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I was provided a copy of this ebook by the author or publisher. All opinions in this review are my own. ( )
  BeautyintheBinding | Jun 29, 2020 |
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