1940: Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.
2015: Australian curator Fabienne Bissette journeys to the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her beloved grandmother’s work – one of the world’s leading designers of ready-to-wear. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother’s past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and secrets – and the sacrifices made for love.
Since one of my previous careers was as a fashion designer, the concept of this novel immediately appealed to me and I wasn’t disappointed. There are two parallel and interconnecting stories; one about Estella Bissette and the other about her granddaughter, Fabienne Bissette. I enjoy this type of story, where a contemporary heroine discovers and solves mysteries from the past. The settings were well described and I liked the contrast between the glamorous world of fashion and the austerity of the war years. The reader is swept along from Paris to New York to Sydney. Both strands of the story were interesting but, for me, Estella was a stronger, more passionate and vibrant character than Fabienne.
I recommend this book to while away an autumn evening.
The Paris Seamstress was sent to me by the publisher for a fair and honest review.