About this item

Ellen Gowan is the only surviving child of a scholarly village minister and a charming girl disowned by her family when she married for love. Growing up in rural Norfolk, Ellen's childhood was poor but blessed with affection. Resilience, spirit, and one great talent will carry her far from such humble beginnings. In time, she will become the witty, celebrated, and very beautiful Madame Ellen, dressmaker to the nobility of England, the Great Six Hundred. Yet Ellen has secrets. At fifteen she falls for Raoul de Valentin, the dangerous descendant of French aristocrats. Raoul marries Ellen for her brilliance as a designer but abandons his wife when she becomes pregnant. Determined that she and her daughter will survive, Ellen begins her long climb to success.

About the Author

Posie Graeme-Evans

I'm passionate about history, particularly European history between, say, the end-ish of the first millennium up until the 1480's. I get bored with the advent of the Tudors (they invented the public service. Can't bring myself to love them for that!)

Landscape moves me - particularly unpeopled landscapes - but I also adore architecture though I tend to lose interest around the Baroque and come back in again, briefly, for Georgian Architecture, then again for the Arts and Crafts movement and the 1920's.

My idea of heaven is to drive around countryside that's unfamiliar to me in Spring or Autumn, through fields and little towns with no particular agenda in mind.

Interestingly the only time my husband, Andrew, and I fight is when one of us is trying to navigate the other in unfamiliar territory - but provided we can stop somewhere beautiful that night, eat something delicious and drink good wine, alls right with the world by morning.

Andrew likes to take pictures, I don't especially. When I'm thinking of a story, its often enough for me to stand and look at something. I try to fix what it feels like to my senses, what it smelt like, for instance; was there sun, was it raining, was it cold? And, that's often enough for the process to begin: the story process.

And whilst story and factual research is a delicious process for me, I'm convinced that human beings are much the same under the skin and always have been - though language, culture, circumstances and environment will always be different.

Family is very important to me. Both my nearest kin and then, also, the extended runners of the family vine that stretch back and forward through time.

Family has taught me that love is possible though it ain't always easy. I see myself as a buoyant pessimist: that helps. The pessimist in me always has a plan B, C and D (I hope!) if things go wrong - television production teaches you that as a failsafe; but the optimist bit makes me hopeful about the future. I've been a lucky woman and I'm deeply grateful for that.

If I have a credo it's one word. Persist. Rudyard Kipling's poem "IF" sums that up for me - each phrase hits like a hammer of truth. And, on the wall of my writing room is another piece of writing that never fails to move me, particularly when I'm feeling defeated or cast down. "Today I put on the sinews of the sky, Flames of the sun, Moon's glitter, fire's astonishment..." and so it goes on. To me, it's all about the acquisition of strength when you need it most.

Warm best wishes,


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