BOOK CLUB: The Woman in the Green Dress

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Author: Tea Cooper
ISBN: 9781489270719
RRP: $29.99
Publication Date: 17th December 2018
Publisher: HQ Fiction
Copy: Courtesy of the Publisher

The Woman in the Green Dress is the hotly anticipated new historical release by Tea Cooper. I read The Naturalist’s Daughter this time last year, and we featured it as a much loved book club title. It was the first of Cooper’s books for me but it won’t be the last.

The Woman in the Green Dress takes us back to NSW in a time long past. We have dual timelines but they are both long past.

A story of two bereft women with stories that will somehow entwine through involvement with a property on the Hawkesbury.

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

Now I am even more excited to read the story and I can’t wait until it makes it to the top of the list.

Tea Cooper can be found on Facebook, Twitter and her Website.

The Woman in the Green Dress is published by Harlequin and is available now through Angus & Robertson Bookworld, Booktopia and where all good books are sold.

Thanks to Harlequin 15 of our Beauty and Lace club members will be reading The Woman in the Green Dress  so please be aware there may be spoilers in the comments below.

15 thoughts on “BOOK CLUB: The Woman in the Green Dress

  1. The Woman in the Green Dress is set in two different time periods 1853 and 1919 just after the end of the War. The main characters are two women Della Atterton and Fleur Richards who are both on a journey of discovery in each time period and whose lives are strangely linked.
    Della is the daughter of a taxidermist. She works in a remote area called Mogo Creek on the Hawkesbury River, NSW and is sympathetic to the indigenous peoples and the flora and fauna of the region. Her Aunt Cordelia lives in Sydney in what was Della’s father’s taxidermy shop which is called ‘The Curio Shop of Wonders’ selling Della’s taxidermy work and other curiosities.
    Fleur Richards is a young English war widow who arrives in Sydney following the death of her husband Hugh. Fleur receives an unwanted inheritance from Hugh and she isn’t willing to accept or have anything to do with it until she learns more about Hugh’s family and his life in Australia.
    The hunt for Australia’s first opal by Captain Stephan von Richter in 1853 ties the two time periods together really well. Who is the woman in the green dress is something you will have to read the book to find out about as there is mystery and intrigue which resolves itself in the conclusion of the book.
    The Woman in the Green Dress by Tea Cooper was an interesting read it was obviously well researched and I enjoyed the adventure, romance and mystery of the two protagonists.

  2. I’ve been looking forward to Tea Cooper’s “The Woman In The Green Dress” ever since I “discovered” Tea Cooper through Beauty and Lace via “The Naturalist’s Daughter.” I wasn’t disappointed.
    Few authors manage time lines and switching between the periods as well as Tea Cooper does. Her easy writing style means you are never floundering, wondering which time line you are reading. I love the way she manages to weave the characters and the different periods together so that they come together and make complete sense of the story.
    “The Woman In The Green Dress” has a 65 year time span, beginning in London and moving to NSW when Fleur has to leave London for Australia after her husband was killed in World War 1 and leaves a mysterious inheritance. The story soon switches to NSW 1853 and then moves back and forth between the years. I love the descriptive details of the countryside and Tea’s characters are well developed. I also love the way the story draws the reader in from the first page and maintains interest until the end.
    I would have loved more detail about the relationship between Della and Stefan – I understand that they were part of the background for Fleur and Hugh’s story but I found them and the time period really interesting.
    The way Fleur’s inheritance unfolds is beautifully told with Fleur finally coming to terms with the death of her husband, a man she knew so briefly but nonetheless loved completely. None of the characters are “unnecessary” and all are completely believable.
    I really enjoy Historical Fiction, especially Australian and Tea Cooper writes Historical Fiction beautifully with always well researched detail which gives the reader a glimpse into the past. A very satisfying read which I am delighted to have received. Thank you for this opportunity, Beauty and Lace and Harlequin. Through Beauty and Lace I’ve become a Tea Cooper fan and I look forward to her next publication.

  3. A dual timeline novel set in NSW during 1853 and 1919, Tea Cooper has managed once again to write a tale that draws you in and takes you back to a different time in Australia.

    The detail in her writing had me walking the streets of Sydney with Della, Stefan and Fleur and living out in Mogo Creek in the beautiful Hawkesbury District communicating with the native people and animals. I hope I get the opportunity to visit the Hawkesbury District one day as it does sound like a lovely place, though I’m sure much has changed since those days.

    I did find the book started a bit slower than I expected, but then I reached a point where I was hooked and couldn’t wait to see where this dual timeline took us and how the two timelines joined together. Fleur took quite a long while to grow on me and I much preferred Della from the 1853 timeline as a main heroine. She was a strong woman just as you would have to have been in those days. I thoroughly enjoyed unravelling the mystery that Della and then Hugh left behind for Fleur to uncover, and then see what Fleur did with those discoveries.

    One of my favourite characters was young Bert, who was a street urchin with more smarts than many educated people. He bought a lot of humour to the story during his adventures with Stefan and Della.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Australia for providing me a copy of this book.

  4. Tea Cooper has done it again. After reading “The Naturalists Daughter” I was so very keen to read “The Woman in the Green Dress” and it didnt disappoint at all.
    This story flicks between the years of 1853 and 1919. As the story progresses we find how Della Atterton is connected to Fleur Richards.
    Della in 1853 is living in the Hawkesbury region and happily spending her time working at her taxidermy business. Through her love for a wonderful white kangaroo and her care for the local Aboriginal tribe shes meets the very handsome Captain Stefan Von Richter. Her anger over the mistreatment of the local tribal people sends her to Sydney with The Captain. Her family in Sydney have a Curio Shop that she knows is connected to the mistreatment of the tribal people. Her visit becomes more of an adventure then she had thought it would be. Her time there leaves more questions then it does answers.
    Fleur Richards in 1919 is dealing with the news that her husband has left so many questions from the past for her to find the answers to. She ends up having to board a ship and travel from London to far off Sydney, Australia. One question left unanswered leads to another and another and she ends up travelling from Sydney to the Hawkesbury and slowly bit by bit the answers come and we see how Della and Fleur are linked.
    This really is yet another wonderful story from Tea Cooper. The perfect book for those that love stories that keep you guessing until the end.

  5. The Woman in the Green Dress is the third book by Tea Cooper that I have read and it most certainly will not be the last. Cooper is one of those authors who have the ability to seamlessly blend fact and fiction and create an enthralling and entirely believable tale.

    The tale opens on 11 November 1918, Armistice Day, as Londoners celebrate the end of the Great War. Fleur Richards is ecstatic, the end of the war meant her Hugh was coming home from the war and soon they would be heading to Australia to live happily ever after.

    But her world was to come crumbling down with a letter from the Ministry of Information which would see her heading to Sydney Australia, not as Hugh’s blushing bride but as his apparent widow, and heir to a significant inheritance.

    Fleur reluctantly takes passage on a ship bound for Sydney, still in denial about Hugh’s death. Events after her arrival in Sydney mean that everything she thought she knew about the man she married after a whirlwind romance will begin to unravel.

    In 1853 Captain Stefan Von Richter arrives in NSW to follow in the footsteps of “the Baron”, charged with reworking his diaries and notes into a manner fit for publication. In addition Von Richter is to find and have authenticated a precious stone, an opal, believed to be the first of its kind found in Australia which was sent shortly before the finders death to a Mr Thomas Bishop..

    At the same time Della Atterton, still distraught at the death of her beloved parents, has moved from Sydney to Mogo Creek, Hawksberry, leaving her father’s taxidermy shop to be run by her father’s sister Cordelia. Here, with the assistance of Charity, she practices her father’s craft of taxidermy on the specimens brought to her by Gus and Dobbin. The finished works returned to Sydney to be sold in The Taxidermy Shop.

    Della loves nature, and feels very much at home in Mogo Creek, unlike Charity who pines for the night life and fine dresses of Sydney. Unusually for the times, Della has also developed great friendships with the local Darkinjung people.

    Von Richter and a street urchin by the name of Albert Pegegrine Burless (Bert), who has ingratiated himself into the position of manservant, witness first hand atrocities against the Darkinjung Women, known at the time as New Hollanders. Von Richter is appalled and vows to right what he perceives to be a horrendous wrong. With Della by his side he rides into Sydney determined to seek justice.

    And so the scene is set for a tale of love, loyalty, greed, poison, murder, post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), broken families, internment and attitudes towards, and treatment of, Australia’s indigenous population that spans the years.

    I loved this book, with its twists and turns, interesting characters and gentle yet pointed commentary on the concept of Terra Nullius, the basis on which Australia was colonised.

    Many thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Books for the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book. I give it 5 stars.

  6. Take a trip back in time, twice over, to a time where Australia was started and a time where tragedy required a time for healing, post war.

    1853 – Della lives a simple enough life in country Australia, acting as a taxidermist to support the family business. Captain Von Richter travelled to Australia on business for his benefactor, an Austrian Baron whose writings on early Australia needed final touches. Bert, a street urchin, aids Von Richter to achieve his goals, acting in a way as his man servant or Australian staff. Their paths cross due to atrocities committed against native Australians, the new holland people. A chance meeting leads to discovery of crimes, beauty in an otherwise troubled world and new beginnings.

    1919 – Fleur finds her world crumbling as war ends and her love, her Aussie husband is not returned to her. His death left her inheriting, something she had know knowledge for, not knowing why or what she was inheriting. Fleur travelles to Australia in search for answers and her Hugh. Slowly pieces of the past are pulled together giving her doubts of what is what and what she is to do. Finally, pieces of the past reassure her of her love, that the world is changed and the future has hope.

    A mystery, a romance, atrocities and drama, what more could a good book hold. An Australia long forgotten, this was a fresh breath of air and a great Aussie tale.

    Thanks for another great read Tea Cooper, and a great opportunity to read Beauty and Lace.

  7. The Woman in the Green Dress is a breathtaking novel, beautifully written in so much detail that you can picture yourself right there amongst her characters and in their environment.

    The story follows two strong female protagonists, Della from the year 1853 and Fleur from the year 1919. We follow their journey as they unravel secrets of the past. I enjoyed the dual timelines and was intrigued to discover the link between these two timelines and these women.

    This is my first Tea Cooper novel and it definitely won’t be my last. Thanks Beauty and Lace and Harlequin Australia for the opportunity to review The Woman in the Green Dress.

  8. Im going to start at the top today!

    The cover was really inspiring and drew me to the book without really knowing what the story was about. I envisioned that as it was called the woman in the green dress, that it was actually about her, only it really wasn’t!

    Thankyou for letting me read this book, It was done from a few perspectives which gave the book different angles to come at. But this in no way made it hard to follow, on the contrary, it followed a timeline perfectly, in each timeline, described everything in detail and left out things so that you could presume what had happened and did it well.

    There were a few extras thrown in, some lovely little twists that were in no way expected. I would have liked to follow up on the lives of Della and Captain Stefan! And Bert, what a treasure!

    My only regret was that I finished so quickly.

    Tea Cooper, I look forward to your next novel!

  9. What a wonderfully enjoyable read. The Woman in the green dress by Tea Cooper moves between two timelines 1853 and 1919 in the Hawkesbury area around Sydney. It shows two strong female characters and a supporting cast of interesting men I really enjoyed the information on taxidermy in this novel. The novel shows how the consequences for the actions that we take can impact those who come in later generations . It was a fascinating journey across generations in Australia. It finished with an enjoyable twist which is often a highlight of this style of book.
    I would recommend this for anyone who has a skeleton in the closet in their family
    Thanks to Beauty and Lace and Harper Collins for the opportunity to enjoy and review this fabulous book.

  10. Thank you, everyone, for the lovely reviews. I’m thrilled you enjoyed The Woman in the Green Dress and that so many of you liked Bert … I had such fun writing him!

    1. This is the first novel I have read by Tea Cooper and it certainly won’t be my last.

      I love a novel with dual timelines and this one didn’t disappoint. I felt like I had been transported back to early Australia, where times were very different , it also reinforced the fact that even though women weren’t offered the same opportunities as they are now, that there were still very strong women around. Della and Fleur were such likeable female leads and I adored their journeys and how thy linked back together.

      All the drama, mystery and romance a girl could want.

  11. Lovely! One of the best books I’ve read in a long time, I couldn’t put it down. The mystery of how the two timelines were linked kept me guessing and I didn’t put it all together until the last couple of chapters.

  12. Tea Cooper never disappoints!!

    The Woman in the Green Dress is a beautifully written story swapping between the 1800’s And the 1900’s. With mystery, romance and murder this is a page turner.
    Della has lost her family and is now a little lost too. She trusts her Aunt to look after her family’s business in Sydney, but was it the right thing to do?

    Fleur has just lost her husband in the war and she has inherited all his fortune, but her journey is not as straight forward as it seems.
    These two ladies journeys are not easy and from different times meet lots of challenges and hurdles.
    Can there be a happy ending for Della and Fleur?


  13. The Woman In The Green Dress is the eighth novel from Australian author, Tea Cooper. The stunning cover with the vivid green dress immediately caught my eye and I was eager to read it when I learnt that it was historical fiction. I was interested to note that it is a story based on people from the past…..Tost and Rohu were two people who opened a taxidermist shop while Baron Charles von Hugel, Johann Menge and the Darkijung Indigemous people did exist. In Coopers’ version, she uses a split narrative structure to link the lives of Della Atterton in 1853 and Fleur Richards in 1919. What do these two women have in common?

    Della Atterton is not your typical lady and one who I had great admiration for. Residing in rural Mogo Creek, NSW, she is an independent young woman who is comfortable within herself. Della is an earthy woman who is at one with a nature that is both wild and harsh. With her big heart, Della’s loyalty is strong as is her relationship with the native Australians, the Darkinjung people. No matter a person’s race or creed, she is helpful and stands up for the rights of other people. Cooper sensitively deals with the plight of the Indigenous people as she reminds us of the treatment they received hundreds of years ago. She also reminds us that there were people such as Della who were kind and respectful of the Indigenous way of life. Captain Stefan von Richter was another character who didn’t agree with the treatment of the Indigenous and who Della had a delightful romance with. He is the opposite of Della in that he has been raised as a gentleman yet they make a good couple because they both have good hearts. When fate brings them together, Della and the Captain embark on a journey to Sydney, NSW, for two very different reason and where the Curio Shop of Wonders awaits them. Passed on to Della after the death of her parents, she returns to the city to find out what has happened to the store that is now under the care of her Aunt Cordelia.

    Fleur Richardson is a lady that is typical of the time. When I first met Fleur, she was living in England a year after the great war. Fleur receives news that her husband, Hugh, has been killed in the battle. I felt for Fleur as she was unable to come to grips with the new situation she found herself in. Now a widow, Fleur must deal with the secrets that Hugh has kept. This was not at all surprising as Fleur and Hugh had only known each other for five weeks before they married and he left to fight! Everything that Hugh owned has now been passed onto Fleur, including land in NSW. Fleur surprised me by deciding to move to Australia by herself to unravel Hugh’s secrets. I didn’t think that she would survive the boat journey, let alone living in a new country, but she did. With the help of the local community, Fleur showed that she could arise in the face of adversity, that she has a hidden, inner strength. Will Fleur discover her husband’s secrets?

    With themes of war, class, women, family history and the Indigenous people this is a historical fiction read that is unique to the plethora in the market.

    Thanks to Beauty and Lace for the chance to read this book.


  14. This is the first book I have read by Tea Cooper, and I can guarantee that it won’t be my last!

    The Woman in the Green Dress is a historical fiction novel set in Australia’s past. The dual timeline switches between Della in the 1850’s and Fleur in 1919, and explores the connection between these two women in very different times, through a Hawkesbury property.

    Beautifully written, Tea Cooper has a flair for words and seamlessly switches between timelines without confusing the reader. Well-developed characters and descriptive settings will draw you into the story. The cover art is stunning and eye-catching!

    Thank you to Beauty & Lace and Harlequin for providing me the opportunity to review this gorgeous novel.

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