By: Karen Foxlee
Published: February 2013
ISBN: 9780702249648


When a teenage girl disappears, a small town is awash with rumours: everyone is talking about the dress she wore, a midnight-blue dress made from the remnants of other dresses, a dress of stories...

For her whole life, Rose Lovell has moved from town to town with her alcoholic father. When they wash up in a coastal sugarcane town, Rose wonders if this time it will be different.

At the local high school, Rose meets Pearl Kelly, who is popular, pretty and intent on tracking down her Russian father. When she convinces Rose to part of the annual Harvest Parade, Rose must find a special dress for the occasion.

She seeks the help of the eccentric Edie Baker, who knows all the town's secrets and whose own family has a rich tapestry of stories. When Rose agrees to let Edie teach her to sew, she doesn't realise that nothing will ever be the same again.

'The Midnight Dress' weaves an intriguing story of loss and longing to the very last page.


A fantastic, whimsical murder mystery where we learn parts of the ending at the start. More information comes to light at the beginning of each chapter until the past and present collide in a somewhat unexpected finale.

'The Midnight Dress' has wonderfully different, strong, independent characters that blend to produce a tight and well developed storyline, covering issues of fitting in, single families and alcoholism in a small town woven throughout.

In this small coastal town, the annual highlight is the Harvest Parade, and the beautiful dresses that the young girls have made are of the utmost importance. So it is that our main character, Rosie, is drawn to a local dressmaker or, as some believe, a witch.

They soon form a strong affinity and it is around their bond and the stories that they share that we uncover much of the intricacies in the storyline.

All in all, a delightful read that sneaks up on you and lingers well after putting it down. Best suited to your senior girls.

This book was included in our February 2013 Secondary Standing Order selection.

Reviewed by Rob