Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (September 18, 2018)
Synopsis: For readers of Lilac Girls and The Nightingale comes an internationally bestselling World War II novel that spans generations, crosses oceans, and proves just how much two young women are willing to sacrifice for love and family.
1940: As the Germans advance upon Paris, young seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee everything she’s ever known. She’s bound for New York City with her signature gold dress, a few francs, and a dream: to make her mark on the world of fashion.
Present day: Fabienne Bissette journeys to the Met’s annual gala for an exhibit featuring the work of her ailing grandmother – a legend of women’s fashion design. But as Fabienne begins to learn more about her beloved grandmother’s past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and family secrets that will dramatically change her own life.
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Of course I had to read THE PARIS SEANSTRESS when I heard the comparisons of THE NIGHTENGALE and THE LILAC GIRLS – two of my favourite historical fiction books – and while I really enjoyed this book, I don’t feel that it quiet lived up to this comparison.
The story is told in dual perspectives – present day New York City and 1940 war torn France. Estella and Fabienne (grandmother and granddaughter) are both great characters that are loveable and unique enough that they will be memorable to readers. Estella is a seamstress who flees the unsafety of France for NYC during the second world war and rebuilds her life. Fabienne has only known her life in NYC, but as she starts to learn the secrets from her grandmothers past, her life is forever changed. I loved the dual perspectives and how they unraveled Estella’s past story.
My biggest complaint would be the focus on fashion. It was a little too heavy at times, which almost made me lose interest. Estella’s ties to fashion are so embedded in both her story and Fabienne’s story that it was unavoidable to include fashion history and passages – on that note, the book was extremely well researched.
Ultimately I really enjoyed this book, but it is one I would compare more to THE ALICE NETWORK by Kate Quinn, before the previously mentioned books. The love story aspects and the intensity just matches this book more in my opinion.
* I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Hatchette Book Group Canada *