Precious Things

In the tradition of gloriously absorbing, lush and moving women’s fiction by authors such as Kate Morton and Joanne Harris comes Precious Things, which tells the story of a beautiful coronet and its journey through time in the hands of the women who created it, loved it, wore it and lost it – and the modern-day woman who can’t help but be enchanted by its past.

 Maggie is working as a fine arts valuer at a leading auction house in London when she finds a crumpled, beaded item in a job lot. Intrigued, she decides to give it a new lease of life:

“Sequins caught the light and seemed to wink up at her, shining. It appeared to be a collar of some kind, the curved shape suggesting it was once the focal point of some fantastic, larger masterpiece. But held at another angle, it reminded her of a crown. No, that wasn’t right – it was more delicate than that. What was the word? Maggie wondered as it came to her. A coronet. Something a young woman would wear to a party, perhaps. Or as a bride.”

Life is busy for Maggie. She loves her work but it’s always a juggle finding time for her family. After an appearance on tv Maggie is visited by Francesca, who believes the coronet has something to do with her childhood, and sets out to discover more about its past…

Normandy, France in 1891: a young woman painstakingly sews the intricate beaded collar to her dead mother’s wedding dress, the night before her own wedding to someone she barely knows. Marriage feels like it’s closing around her like a trap, but Aimee longs for so much more…  

Shanghai, in 1926: dancing sensation Zephyr spies what looks like a beaded headpiece lying discarded on a ballroom floor. She takes it with her to Malaya where she sets her sights on a prize so out of reach that, in striving for it, she may just jeopardize everything she holds dear…

As Maggie realizes there is more to the coronet than meets the eye, she finds herself becoming seduced by its dark charms and those of Michael, the television producer who throws her life off-balance. Could the history of the coronet be more sinister than she thought? And what does this mean for Francesca and her mysterious past?

As the story of the coronet gains hold over her, Maggie wonders why it is that she can’t always get what she wants – not realising, of course, that sometimes life only gives you precisely the things that you need…

Reviews:

‘Precious Things is a sparkling, feminine narrative, highlighting that what is lost can also be found’  – Kirstie Clements, former Editor, Vogue Australia, and bestselling author of The Vogue Factor

‘A mesmerising and sublimely-told tale about how our stories and secrets outlive us, intertwined in the threads of our precious things.’ – Jacinta Tynan, author of Mama Zen and television presenter, Sky News

 

‘An intricate mystery …. love, life and fashion entwine to create worlds that set the imagination alight’ – Julie Carroll, New Idea

 

‘The stories of the different women Doust imagines are so touching and poignant. I loved it.’  – Kristy Allen, Australian Women’s Weekly

 

‘Captivating, mesmerising and an absolute pleasure to read, Precious Things does not disappoint.’  – Dijanna Mulhearn, Wardrobe 101

 

‘We are drawn in from start to end; this is a novel to get wonderfully lost in.’ – Pia Jane Bijkerk, stylist, blogger and author of My Heart Wanders andParis Made By Hand

 

‘Wonderful storytelling – I was bewitched.’ – Charlotte Smith, bestselling author of Dreaming of Dior

 

‘As glittering as the beaded collar at its heart, Precious Things is a novel that weaves through the ages.  Doust explores the lives of the women whose path the collar crosses, creating an intimate work on desire, marriage and family.  Nullifying the need of your around the world trip, the story soars around the globe, touching down in modern day London … Doust’s narrative style will get all your sensory systems firing, and her characters recall aspects of the universal feminine archetypes’  -Yen

 

‘Precious Things charts the progress of a particular precious thing, a beaded collar handmade in 1891 for a wedding. From the late nineteenth century to present day, this delicate and beautiful object makes its way through time, passing from person to person.  This is a thoroughly enjoyable novel with many layers of story stretching across the century and the world. We visit Shanghai and Paris in the twenties, Rome in the fifties, Istanbul in the seventies, Normandy in the late nineteenth century and modern day London. My favourite part was Rome of the fifties. I want Kelly to write a full length novel about her Italian heroine.  With Precious Things, first time novelist Kelly Doust has put many career novelists to shame with her expert handling of the many different threads. This is a novel to take on your next holiday.’  – Booktopia

 

‘Doust is to be commended for this pleasurable excursion into the world of fashion and objets d’art.’ – Sydney Morning Herald

 

‘Captivating’ – WriteNote reviews

 

‘An intriguing and mysterious narrative’ – Beauty & Lace

 

‘Beautifully detailed and intricately layered, Kelly’s writing has such a gentle cadence to it that it’s not a book to be picked up lightly and read in one sitting … it’s one to read slowly and savour as she transports you back and forth in time to exotic destinations which are evocatively described and vividly painted.’ – Book Muster Down Under

 

‘If you’re a fan of Kate Morton, historical fiction, vintage items and dual timelines, then Precious things is for you’ – Carpe Librum

 

‘A delightful mix of modern times and times past’ – Starts at 60

 

‘A complex but fabulous fabric trail, traversing at least five eras to trace the original owner. In this decadent passing of the baton, it goes from the deft fingers of 1891 French seamstress Aimée onto the head of 1926 Prague trapeze artiste Lexi, to be the only dress of nude artist’s muse Bella in Rome circa 1953, to fall at the feet of Shanghai girl Zephyr in 1967. The lucky charm, whether worn as collar, choker or crown, has a hidden message inside. And this colourful cast is one big family tree.’ –  Australian Women’s Weekly

 

‘Rich characters and enthralling storylines that are far removed from the humdrum of Maggie’s life and her newfound fascination. But as her life spirals out of control, there is a premise that the collar is somehow responsible. Precious

Things is not Doust’s first book, but it is her first novel. Her previous books focused on vintage fashion and handcrafted treasures, and these are related themes in this novel. On a deeper level it’s about relationships, particularly between mothers and daughters, and women’s rights.’  Courier Mail

 

‘Um, so I possibly loved this way more than I should have, and definitely way more than expected … right from the beginning I was hooked. I wanted to know what will happen to Maggie’s job, her marriage and her relationship with her parents; I wanted to know Stella’s story; and I wanted to know what happened to all the women into whose lives the coronet entered. This book was beautifully written and downright enchanting. Every character had a story and each story connected and drew me in to the point that I couldn’t put the book down until I found out all their endings. Precious Things intertwined contemporary and historical, and ordinary and mysterious, in a perfect balance.’ – Milana, Goodreads:

 

 

‘This is a rather remarkable read. It is subtle; the individual sub stories/chapters are personal and intimate and slowly draw you into to the overarching story – of Maggie’s life and her daily struggles juggling paid work, motherhood and relationships. I found Kelly Doust’s writing to be intelligent and her observations of relationships and family to be insightful and honest. The more I read of this novel the more invested I was in Maggie’s life, the more I found myself agreeing with her observations. This was not the story I thought I would be reading – I admit to assuming that this would be a light and unassuming read – it was the opposite; intelligent, engaging, and brilliantly observational of women’s lives and rights at various points in history; all individual stories connected by their relationship to one piece of extraordinary cloth – very well plotted and visually stunning, intelligently written, 5 stars from me!’  –  Reading Writing and Riesling