Published by Hodder & Stoughton
Available in ebook, audio, hardback (4 February 2021) | paperback (25 November 2021)
Source: Copy received for review
ABOUT THE BOOK
I need to tell you a story, ma chère. My story.
Rosa Kusstatscher has built a global fashion empire upon her ability to find the perfect outfit for any occasion. But tonight, as she prepares for the most important meeting of her life, her usual certainty eludes her.
What brought her to this moment? As she struggles to select her dress and choose the right shade of lipstick, Rosa begins to tell her incredible story. The story of a poor country girl from a village high in the mountains of Italy. Of Nazi occupation and fleeing in the night. Of hope and heartbreak in Switzerland; glamour and love in Paris. Of ambition and devastation in Rio de Janeiro; success and self-discovery in New York.
A life spent running, she sees now. But she will run no longer.
Breathtaking and utterly enthralling, The Dressmaker of Paris is perfect for fans of Lucinda Riley, Kate Morton and Dinah Jefferies.
The story begins in 1991 with 63 year old Rosa preparing for an important meeting. She is choosing her outfit with great care and is clearly nervous. As she gets ready she has an incredible story to tell.
Rosa’s life story spans from her childhood in the Italian Alps with her family, to the tumultuous and painful time of the Nazi occupation and her subsequent journey to Switzerland and then Paris, where through sacrifice, focus and hard work she became a muse to Dior, learning her craft of becoming a seamstress and designer in her own right. In some aspects, more particularly in that Rosa was such a strong character, the story reminded me of one that I read as a teenager, Barbara Taylor Bradford’s A Woman of Substance.
I didn’t always agree with the decisions that Rosa made, especially in her younger years, there were times when she seemed rather self-centred, and ungrateful although I accept she had a focus and ambition and did what she thought was best at the time to achieve her goal. Regardless of this, she was fascinating and beguiling and loyal to those who had helped her.
This is an epic and engrossing story of love, loss, heartache, glamour and seeking forgiveness. For a character of such a young age, Rosa had seen, endured and achieved so much – and the story leads you through her life, loves and travels – from the early years in Paris to Rio and New York.
There was so much to love about this book, the story of a life so well lived with both joy and heartbreak, there are wonderfully drawn characters – far too many to mention individually but they all give depth and substance to the story. I loved the fashion element detail of the time and the glamour of Dior and Chanel and it was an interesting look behind the scenes.
I don’t want to give too much detail about the plot, it’s a story you need to discover for yourself. All I will say is that I loved it and eagerly devoured every page. This is the author’s debut novel and is one to be proud of. I do hope she writes more.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Georgia Kaufmann studied Social Anthropology and Demography at Cambridge, LSE and Oxford. She currently lives within cycling distance of central London with her husband, two daughters and a cat. The Dressmaker of Paris is her debut novel.