MY MRS. BROWN by William Norwich: A Little Anachronistic

My Mrs. Brown


A Novel
Author William Norwich
Narrated by Angela Brazil
Published by Tantor Media
Publication date Jun 15, 2016
Running time 7 hrs 29 min

Audiobook provided by publisher for review. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.


Emilia Brown is a woman of a certain age. She has spent a frugal, useful, and wholly restrained life in Ashville, a small town in Rhode Island. Overlooked especially by the industries of fashion and media, Mrs. Brown is one of today’s silent generations of women whose quiet no-frills existences would make them seem invisible. She is a genteel woman who has known her share of personal sorrows and quietly carried on.

When the grand dame of Ashville passes away, Mrs. Brown is called upon to inventory her estate and comes across a dress that changes everything. This isn’t a Cinderella confection; it’s a simple yet exquisitely tailored Oscar de la Renta sheath and jacket—a suit that Mrs. Brown realizes, with startling clarity, will say everything she has ever wished to convey. She must have it. And so Mrs. Brown begins her odyssey to purchase the dress. For not only is the owning of the Oscar de la Renta a must, the intimidating trip to purchase it on Madison Avenue is essential as well. If the dress is to give Mrs. Brown a voice, then she must prepare by making the daunting journey—both to the emerald city and within herself.


My Take Oblong Shaped


This is an elegantly written little morality tale with a cast of characters caught in the 1950s but living in our time. It’s being called a fairy tale and that’s how it feels: there’s a soft, mythic feeling throughout.  Relationships exist, and only one, between Mrs. Brown and her neighbor develops on the page and naturally.  Other relationships are slight, acquaintances and friends of circumstance, and it is Mrs. Brown’s innate goodness and innocence that makes the relationships that give her means to do what she wants.

I understood there was a personal tragedy in Mrs. Brown’s life, but not why it is held secret by the author throughout.   I do understand the power of a dress in making us feel good; maybe helping to pull us out of a depression.  But, I don’t see it taking Mrs. Brown from a lifetime of neutral, even  bland existence to healing her and making her a new person, with a new place in her job.

At the same time, like a fairy tale, each person Mrs.Brown meets fills a role in the quest she has to discover her strength.

There’s a slight religious undercurrent.

I enjoyed the story and the narration; it was certainly a lovely tale and prettily told. Despite the fairy tale feeling of it I found it an enjoyable story and well worth my time.

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