It’s 1900 and the dawn of a new century carries a sense of change, possibility, and female empowerment, as two women from very different circumstances are fated to meet in the jasmine scented humidity of New Orleans, a city of decadence and danger…Behind parlor doors, high society women of New Orleans prepare to seize the reins as the only all-female krewe, Les Mysterieuses, at this year’s Mardi Gras. For Constance Halstead—a young, wealthy widow whose husband’s suspicious death has left her indebted to a vicious Storyville gang—Les Mysterieuses feels like a rare opportunity to take control of her life and upend social convention. While for Alice Butterworth, pregnant, abandoned by her husband, broke, and newly arrived from Chicago, sewing Constance’s Krewe gown means survival. Piece by piece, the breathtaking gown takes shape, becoming a symbol of strength, their growing bond, their resilience in the face of grief, and a path towards greater independence. But a secret could unravel their progress.
Inspired by her time living in New Orleans, acclaimed Southern author Diane C. McPhail’s atmospheric historical fiction novel weaves New Orleans and Mardi Gras history with the unlikely kinship between two women riding on the cusp of societal change, the secrets they must hide, and the glittering gown that binds them together.