- Format: Kindle Edition
- File Size: 4810 KB
- Print Length: 286 pages
- Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (1 October 2019)
- Sold by: Amazon Australia Services, Inc.
- Language: English
- ASIN: B07P2VZ6ZL
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Customer Reviews: 5,205 customer ratings
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
The Dressmaker's Gift Kindle Edition
|New from||Used from|
|Length: 286 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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"Must Read of the Week" --Saturday Express
"A wartime story that captures the era well and is a real page-turner as the different lives and generations come together like a beautifully woven fabric." --The People's Friend
"An intriguing and nostalgic read." --Woman & Home
"You'll be immersed in this twisting, colorful tale." --Take A Break
"The historical detail and distinctive characters will draw you in." --Woman's Weekly
"Equal parts heartbreaking and life-affirming, The Dressmaker's Gift is sure to be welcomed by fans of historical fiction." --Culturefly
"This book broke me and left me utterly speechless, yet I cannot recommend it enough...A beautiful, powerful, and emotive read--one of the best books I have ever read." --The Writing Garnet
"The Dressmaker's Gift is a commendable dual time story about love and survival against all odds. It shows us, without any shadow of doubt, the power and strength there is to be found in friendship." --Jaffa Reads Too
"The Dressmaker's Gift is, in itself, a gift of a book to read...a beautifully written book with four interesting and inspiring women at its core. The historical detail is seamless and brings the experiences of the war to life in shocking detail." --Bookliterati Book Reviews
"Movingly written with great heart and immaculately researched, the love of true friends can support and sustain you through life altering trauma." --Rachel Read It
"The Dressmaker's Gift portrays the strength within friendships and how women were also pivotal during the war. An emotional read and great story." --Jera's Jamboree
"The Dressmaker's Gift is a brilliant and thought provoking read that beautifully explores trauma, friendship, courage, love, and loss." --Best Book Forward
"It is full of suspense, twists, and turns but most importantly it is full of courage and heart. I hope you all have got a chance to check it out and read this incredible book." --Sissi Reads
About the Author
Fiona Valpy spent seven years living in France, having moved there from the UK in 2007. She and her family renovated an old, rambling farmhouse in the Bordeaux winelands, during which time she developed new-found skills in cement-mixing, interior decorating and wine-tasting.
All of these inspirations, along with a love for the place, the people and their history, have found their way into the books she's written, which have been translated into French, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Italian, Czech, Turkish, Lithuanian and Slovenian.
Fiona now lives in Scotland, but enjoys regular visits to France in search of the sun.
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Harriet goes to work in a fashion house in Paris, and while she is there, discovers the truth about her late grandmother, and her life in France during World War II. I was reduced to tears on several occasions.
This book is so well written and researched, I have no hesitation in recommending this fabulous read.
Top international reviews
The first chapter was very cliché. Harriet moves to Paris obtaining a job in the same building that her grandmother, Claire, worked in. And, she settles in the same apartment that her grandmother lived in. And, Harriet’s roommate in that apartment happens to be the granddaughter of one of the girls in the picture who also lived in that same apartment. But the story does get better and becomes entertaining.
The synopsis provided is accurate, for the most part. The three seamstresses in 1940, Claire (Harriet’s grandmother), Mireille, and Vivienne, live together in a small apartment and slowly develop a trusted friendship. Their involvement with the resistance is mostly limited to courier, depending on the character, though they do assistant in helping people out of German-occupied France to safety. With none of them being Jewish, the Jew’s oppression is merely a backdrop in the story and is only mentioned occasionally. It does provide some insight into Flossenburg camp, not as a Jew but as a traitor.
I did not enjoy Harriet’s chapters as much. They seemed like “fillers” and at times the story could be followed easily without having read some of Harriet’s chapters. However, her chapters are not long, so it is bearable. In Harriet’s chapters she mostly recounts the previous chapter of what was revealed to her about her grandmother. She also struggles to cope with the loss of her mother to suicide, and frequently Harriet questions if she has inherited trauma genes.
Overall, I liked the story and found it to be a light, quick, average read that at times intensified. It focused on the girl’s relationship development and their work as a seamstress in Nazi-occupied Paris until approximately 45% (on a Kindle). The plot then heightens again at 61 % (on a Kindle). It does have interesting tidbits of historical information lightly sprinkled here and there.
There are an abundance of fashion references and scenes related to the Paris fashion industry. There were no sex scenes, use of vulgar language, or explicit violence.
An excellent addition to the author's previous novels. I can't wait for the next one !
Each chapter is titled with a heading that denotes either a date during WWll or Harriet. This technique of alternating between two time periods is deftly handled with the current leading way to the historical to solve the mystery. I’ll admit that very early on there’s a scene where a consequence was so convenient I tho’t this story might be a contrived farce but it nothing could be further from that erroneous conclusion!
All of the women in this story are magnificent. They have strength, character and heart as well as a purpose, for which they will go to any length to see accomplishment. How the relationships are woven together and the friendships build throughout the course of the pages is beautiful.
There are no warnings needed for language or sexual content. Because a fair portion of the story takes place at interment camps, there are difficult chapters to read. None of that writing is gratuitous, in fact it honors the women and focuses on their relationship.
The theme of couture and sewing does play a role that runs thru the story, a thread, if you will, helping to make “The Dressmaker’s Gift” a literary gift to all📚
I have never liked coincidence in books and the first one in this story is the pretty unlikely one, of the Receptionist Sophie, recognising her own grandmother in Harriet’s photo of the 3 seamstresses.
The story continues alternating the wartime and modern tales. The writing is good and the tension done well in the wartime storyline. The present day story is less exciting and Harriet spends a lot of time getting certificates for her grandmother’s marriage and looking up stuff on Google, like work camps. She also muses on her own mental health as her mother committed suicide. She worries about inherited trauma from her Grandmother hard life. I think this was just padding as there was very little of interest in Harriet’s life.
A book of two very uneven halves.
This novel describes....and in rich descriptive language, the stories of three such women....Mireille, Claire and Vivienne who were employed as dressmakers in Paris. These three young women came from diverse backgrounds but ended up being valued members of the Resistance.
Fast forward to the year 2017 and Harriet, a young lady is on a quest to find out more about the three young women in a photograph taken during WW II in Paris. The photo belonged to Harriet's mother, Felicity. And, so her quest for more information begins.
Anyone who has ever visited Paris will recognize all of the familiar landmarks ..the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, the Metro and its familiar stops, and many other locations. Loved all of them...
The story of the three women and their involvement in the French Resistance is indeed a harrowing and horrific one. It brings home the fact that ordinary people must do something in times of war. And, they did.
I was not expecting such descriptive language involving daily life in Paris at that time. Curfew was on, food was scarce, the populace was cold as fuel was so scarce, even the description of the coffee..'roasted chicory and dandelion toots' was mentioned. The readers of this novel will experience Paris during WW II.
And, I was not expecting the suicide of a loved one in this novel to affect me so deeply. The idea that perhaps trauma may be inherited is most intriguing. The author does discuss this more at the conclusion of her novel. (And, yes, I lost my brother in 1996 so that is the reason this affected me). As Harriet said 'life can be so very tenuous at times, perhaps that fragility is why we treasure it.'
In her quest for the truth about the 3 young women in the picture, she also came to realize that attacks against humanity are still happening with the terrorist bombings. And, so the cycle continues albeit in a different form...
Outstanding novel which included a multi-layered plot, characters richly defined and intense action, of some form. included on the pages.
Most highly recommended.
It has been an emotional few weeks for me considering what may have been my father's life and contrasting that to the life of my daughter.
In Fiona Valpy's The Dressmaker's Gift, the juxtaposition of Paris during 1940's wartime, against modern day Paris makes for thoughtful and reflective reading. As a novel (novel seems an inadequate description) the story of women finding courage to live their lives in the circumstances they have little or no choice but to live in, is inspirational.
I very highly recommend this book, indeed I posted a copy to France for my daughter and added it to my wife's Kindle so they both could experience the story. I use the words experience the story rather than enjoy the story, because although I really did enjoy the story, there were difficult parts which made me reflect on how inhumanity is sadly still part of our shared experience.