Classic story still dressing bookshelves

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Rosalie Ham’s debut novel is still a solid seller after 13 years. (Image courtesy of

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #8F9F59;”] T [/dropcap]here is a great story behind this week’s choice for Bookmarks, The Dressmaker.

It was published 13 years ago as the first novel for Melbourne author Rosalie Ham, who has managed to carve out a wonderful career, despite not being a ‘big name’ in writing or having a huge marketing machine behind her.

The novel was published by a tiny publishing house that no longer exists, but gave Ham the springboard she needed.

It is now listed on VCE reading lists and is about to made into a movie, starring Kate Winslet and Judy Davis.

[dropcap style=”font-size: 60px; color: #8F9F59;”] T [/dropcap]his is what Michaelie Clark from Warrnambool Books has to say about her choice:

“Rosalie Ham’s first book, The Dressmaker, has been steadily gaining momentum for over a decade. Far from being a seasonal sensation, the award-winning novel has been quietly adorning more and more bookshelves with a classic style that will never lose its lustre – and now it’s about to grace the big screen.

Set in rural Victoria in the 1950s, the book tells the story of Myrtle ‘Tilly’ Dunnage, the disgraced daughter of a madwoman, who returns to her hometown after fashioning a life abroad that the residents of Dungatar can barely imagine.

Escaping the secrets and tragedy of her most recent past by confronting the traumatic events of her childhood, Tilly struggles to remain aloof as she faces the seething malice of the townspeople, her mother’s deranged outbursts – and the romantic advances of her neighbour.

This is a decadent, unusual gothic novel that sticks with the reader, making them question some of the more poisonous threads that can hold a small community together.”

The Dressmaker

 [box] Keep up to date with new releases from Warrnambool Books on their Facebook page. You can also find out more about Rosalie Ham on her website. [/box]

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