Book Review: The Milliner’s Secret by Natalie Meg Evans

November 11, 2015 Book review 12 ★★★

I absolutely adored the concept of The Milliner’s Secret by Natalie Meg Evans and the pretty cover didn’t hurt either.  In a nutshell, it was a GOOD read with a FAB setting and a FIERCE main character.   I enjoyed it but not quite as much as I had hoped for.

Book Review: The Milliner’s Secret by Natalie Meg EvansThe Milliner's Secret by Natalie Meg Evans
Published by Quercus Publishing on July 30th 2015
Genres: Historical Fiction
Pages: 560
Format: Paperback
Source: Received from Publisher
Buy on Amazon

London,1937. A talented young woman travels to Paris with a stranger. The promise of an exciting career as a milliner beckons, but she is about to fall in love with the enemy...
Londoner Cora Masson has reinvented herself as Coralie de Lirac, fabricating an aristocratic background to launch herself as a fashionable milliner. When the Nazis invade, the influence of a high-ranking lover, Dietrich, saves her business. But while Coralie retains her position as designer to a style-hungry elite, Paris is approaching its darkest hour.
Faced with the cruel reality of war and love, Coralie must make a difficult choice—protect herself or find the courage to fight for her friends, her freedom and everything she believes in.

ARC REVIEW cover love Historical Romance


Balancing the books is a quick fire review where I list the assets and liabilities of a book (as I see them) and leave you decide if you think this book is worth investing in.



The Assets of The Milliner’s Secret by Natalie Meg Evans:

  • The Setting : Paris during the occupation of World War 2 is one of my favourite settings in books.  And the setting here is vividly described and came to life within the pages.
  • Cora the main character was intriguing!  She is straight forward and says exactly what is on her mind.  And she is one TOUGH NUT!  She seizes every opportunity life throws at her and runs full speed ahead with them.  It is impossible to squash her, no matter how bad things get.
  • The romance: Nothing like a hot, forbidden romance to spice things up a little.  And lots of will they, won’t they see-sawing.
  • The fashion: I really enjoyed the glimpses of haute-couture and just how cut throat the high fashion milliner business in Paris was.   And the hats, be still by beating heart, they sound amazing.
  • Historically Accurate:  This is so important to me.  It’s obviously meticulously researched and it shows.


The Liabilities of The Milliner’s Secret by Natalie Meg Evans:

  • The pace:  For me personally it was too slow.  There was so much description that I got bogged down and it made me lose my connection with the characters.  I did love the characters but I feel they got lost in the detail.  Because I felt the pace dragging, my enjoyment of the book went down in proportion to this.  Which hurts me to say as there were so many other elements that I did enjoy.
  • Lots of sub-plots:  There is an abundance of connected sub-plots – the fashion industry, domestic abuse, murder, hiding identities, complex romances and friendships, the occupation of Paris, deportation of Jews, the rise of the resistance, espionage, a forbidden love affair.  It felt a bit over ambitious and I don’t think it fully delivered because of this.


Investment potential of The Milliner’s Secret by Natalie Meg Evans:


Rating Report
Did I feel it?
Overall: three-stars


Overall it’s romantic and engaging and has some terrific characters.  BUT the pace is slow. If you love historical romances with a World War 2 setting,  I would recommend it to you.  Not so much for those who aren’t already dedicated followers of this genre.

Thanks to Quercus Books for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.


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12 Responses to “Book Review: The Milliner’s Secret by Natalie Meg Evans”

  1. dawn obrien

    oh, I have this in my tbr pile, the setting is just what I love to read, but I’m not sure if I’ll move it higher up now if the pace is slow!

    • trish

      The pace was a bit off for me Dawn but there were a lot of great things going on too. I didn’t love it but I did enjoy it. So it’s still well worth the read.

  2. Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library

    The cover is so pretty! I’d buy it just for that and through in the setting, time period, and the fashion and I’m pretty sold. The pacing issue doesn’t make me happy. I think I’d enjoy it more in audio form. Sometimes I’m more patient in that format for that reason. I do think I’ll get it because it does sound interesting but I will keep my expectations more reasonable than they would’ve been just based off the cover and the blurb.
    Katherine @ I Wish I Lived in a Library recently posted…Look Both Ways – Blog Tour Review + Giveaway

    • trish

      That’s interesting that you are more forgiving about a slower pace in audio form. I’m currently reading an audiobook that has very lyrical language and I know I’d have DNF’d it by now I were reading in book form. So maybe I’m the same.
      This is still a good book Katherine despite my issues with some parts.

    • trish

      You are right, for the most part I did enjoy it. And that’s fine, we can’t always love them all. I’m glad I read it and that’s always a good feel to have at the end of a book.

    • trish

      I love historial fiction too and my favourite book this year (The Nightingale) was a perfect example of one that I feel got everything right. This book was still a good book though and I’m glad I read it even though I didn’t adore it.

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