Historical tale of fashion pioneer to Barrington Stoke

Historical tale of fashion pioneer to Barrington Stoke

Accessible children's publisher Barrington Stoke is publishing a tale inspired by the true story of a “fashion pioneer” at the court of Marie Antoinette, Rose Bertin.

Written “with an evocative sense of period” by Katherine Woodfine, author of the Sinclair’s Mysteries series (Egmont), and “further enriched by fresh and beautiful full-colour illustrations” by Kate Pankhurst of Fantastically Great Women who Changed the World (Bloomsbury). Rose's Dress of Dreams is promised to be a “celebration of a remarkable pioneer of fashion at the court of Marie Antoinette”, inspired by the real-life creator of haute couture.

The book will be published in April 2018 in Barrington Stoke’s popular Little Gems series which are billed a “chapter books designed for little readers who still have their ‘L-plates’ on”, to help them make the jump from picture books to reading fiction.

World rights were acquired by Barrington Stoke editor Emma Hargrave from Louise Lamont at LBA Books on behalf of Woodfine, and from Hannah Whitty at Plum Pudding Illustration Agency on behalf of Pankhurst.

Young Rose dreams of sewing stunning dresses for the women of Paris, the blurb reads. But when a chance encounter with royalty changes her life, Rose must create the “most breath-taking dress of them all”. Inspired by the life of Rose Bertin, the woman credited with inventing haute couture, Barrington Stoke described it as a story “to inspire bold girls and boys everywhere”.

Hargrave said: “Katherine’s love of research led her to stories of fascinating young women in the court of Marie Antoinette.

“Kate Pankhurst is renowned for her portraits of female pioneers, and her spirited artwork perfectly evokes the life and times of Rose Bertin, a girl who secured her own dreams and enabled others to live theirs."

She added: "Rose's Dress of Dreams really is a gorgeous dream of a book – inspirational, engaging, and as well-crafted as the outrageous fashions it describes.”

The Clockwork Sparrow author Woodfine, who has previously worked at BookTrust, said: “As soon as I discovered Rose’s story, I was captivated by the idea of this determined young girl, forging a new path for herself in 18th century Paris – and going on to change the course of fashion history. I’ve long been an admirer of Kate Pankhurst’s gorgeous illustrations and I’m thrilled to have the chance to work with her.”

Pankhurst said: “I’m a huge fan of Katherine’s writing, she has such a talent for creating a sense of history and place in her stories, so I jumped at the chance to illustrate this title. Historical fiction is such a great way for young readers to explore the past and I’m particularly looking forward to recreating Katherine’s vivid descriptions of the stunning fashions seen in France in the late 1700s.”

The artist, who is a descendant of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, recently inked a two-book deal with Bloomsbury. Fantastically Great Women Who Made History will be published in February 2018.