Book Review, Middle Grade Fiction

The House of Serendipity: Sequins & Secrets by Lucy Ivison

The House of Serendipity: Sequins and Secrets is a charming story with a unique and refreshing voice. Two young girls from very different backgrounds find they share a dream – to design and create the most beautiful clothing. In 1920s London, fashion is everything for the young girls of the debutante season. The right dress can be the making of them, while the wrong one… it doesn’t bear thinking about. Told from a dual point of view, this enticing book invites readers to join housemaid, Myrtle, and daughter of a duke, Sylvia, on a daring scheme that will either make them famous or ruin them both.

This is a story of bravery and determination – of daring to live the life you dream. For Myrtle, it is to create beautiful garments and earn enough money to rescue her mother’s dress-making shop. For Sylvia, it is to find a life beyond grand balls and questions of who she might marry. When Lady Agapantha Portland-Prince comes to the girls with a dream of her own, they embrace her secret project and do all they can to help.  The results in a stylish scandal for which neither is prepared.

This story has sewn its way into my heart. My grandmother was a skilled seamstress, working in a dress shop in the south of England and as a model in the 1930s. Like Myrtle, she loved all the famous designers and longed to be just like them. She lived and breathed high fashion, striving to recreate designs with her own twist, even designing and sewing her own wedding dress. I’m sure she would have identified with the adventures of Myrtle and Sylvia and thoroughly enjoyed this book. Reading it wrapped me up in warm memories of her.

Thank you to Usborne Books for this gorgeous book! I can’t wait for the sequel, Movie Stars & Mysteries, in 2022.

Click on the cover below to find out more or purchase on-line from Amazon.

6 thoughts on “The House of Serendipity: Sequins & Secrets by Lucy Ivison”

    1. Thank you. It is such a wonderful story – really honest and charming. The dual point of view gives both sides of society with very different but similar dreams. My grandma had such an exciting life – she lived in Canada when she was small (British parents) then they moved back to England when she was a teenager. She refused to go to school so she started working and modeling prewar. She joined the British forces then moved to the Canadian forces when they joined the war. Her first fiance was killed in an accident during the war. She met my grandpa (Canadian) at a dance and they got engaged through the post. She went back to Canada on an officers ship to wait for him to be discharged. She stayed with his parents to start with and then the father of her first fiance gave her away at her wedding.

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