THE DRESSMAKER OF PARIS by Georgia Kaufmann
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.
Review by Kelly Lacey
The Dressmaker of Paris is the story of Rosa Kusstatscher a global businesswoman who started from humble beginnings. As she is getting ready for a significant meeting, she tells her life story to “ma, Chere”. As the reader, we get to be a fly on the wall and eavesdrop.
I was drawn in by the cover it is really pretty and the dark navy makes it stand out. As I tentatively began the book I did not know what to expect. But I was hooked after page one, I finished the book in one sitting. I felt like I travelled all over the world with Rosa. A friendly ghost by her side. As she manoeuvred her way through her dramatic life.
A terrifying experience in Rosa’s life has a tragic butterfly effect on her life and it moulds her into not the most likeable character. I really felt that her choices were incredibly selfish. As she meets the people who will influence her life Rosa’s ego inflates until she is so in love with herself that the real world fails to exist and it’s only the world Rosa has created that is her reality. Everyone telling her how talented and beautiful she is. As the reader, you cringe at her behaviour she makes but somehow you still have empathy and compassion for her and I know I really cared about what happened to her. Because going back to the horrific event it almost caused a sense of PTSD that makes her not want to feel anything that she can’t control. Plus and this is really important to remember as you read, she was very young when she makes the choices that will impact her life more.
During each chapter intertwined with the life story, Rosa tells “ma Chere” a little tip or trick about different beauty products and or medicines that she has used during her life. Ms Kaufmann intertwines them into the story of each chapter. It is incredible and adds another echelon to the reader’s enjoyment. The writing is sublime, it just falls off the page and into your minds-eye as you read. It is beautifully descriptive but in a light easy way. I had a range of emotions as I read from anger to heartbreak. Real tears fell from my eyes as I followed Rosa’s life.
Music is a part of the book too as well as the beautiful places we get to visit. This song in particular is important to Rosa.
The only thing I don’t love about the book is the title. It just belittles Rosa and it is too fluffy for the quality of the book. But that is just a personal opinion and it doesn’t distract from the story. The book will be perfect for readers who enjoy Victoria Hyslop and Lucinda Riley.
A fascinating and engaging debut!
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Thank you for my gifted copy in exchange for a free and honest review.
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