The Paris Seamstress by Natasha Lester

Summary

How much will a young seamstress from Paris sacrifice to succeed in the male dominated world of 1940s fashion in New York?

In 1940, Estella Bissette, a seamstress was forced to escape from France, as the German’s are approaching. She headed to New York with just her sewing machine, a few francs and just one suitcase. Other than that, all she had was her dream to be successful in the fashion world.

Jump forward to 2015, and we read of Fabienne Bissette’s visits to an exhibition of her grandmother’s work. Her grandmother was one of the world’s leading ready-to-wear designers. As Fabienne learns about her grandmother’s past, she discovers that her life was about more than just fashion and designing. Stories of tragedy, heartbreak, love, secrets and sacrifices are uncovered.

“This is the story of the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter, as they attempt to heal the heartache of the past”

My Thoughts

This story is based on fact: some of the characters existed, as do some of the buildings which are central to the story. My favourite genre to read is historical fiction based on fact, particularly focusing on war history.  This book definitely did not let me down in any way.  The Paris Seamstress  is an emotional roller coaster ride, and very heart breaking, but at the same time the story and the characters are extremely courageous.

The main character,Estella,  is very strong willed, but absolutely believable. I have no interest at all in fashion, so I was a bit wary of this book at first. However the story lines about fashion were mainly concerning conservation and finding cheaper alternatives during the war years. Unexpectedly I was swept up into these story lines, and found them to be believable for the times.

I loved this book and would definitely like to read it again. I read it while on holidays, so fortunately had time to read it quickly.  It’s my opinion that this book is #unputdownable. The artistry on the front cover is incredibly beautiful which was what drew me to The Paris Seamstress  in the bookstore.

My Star Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About The Author

Natasha Lester

 

Natasha Lester is a USA Today, internationally best-selling author. Prior to writing, she worked as a marketing executive for L’Oreal, managing the Maybelline brand, before returning to university to study creative writing.

Her first historical novel, the bestselling A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald, was published in 2016. This was followed by Her Mother’s Secret in 2017 and The Paris Seamstress in 2018. The French Photographer is her latest book (note: this will be published as The Paris Orphan in North America in September 2019).

Natasha’s books have been published in the US, the UK, Australia and throughout Europe. She lives in Perth, Western Australia with her 3 children and loves travelling, Paris, vintage fashion and, of course, books – Goodreads

 

Published in 2018 by Hatchette Australia. Paperback 448 pages.

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#AtoZChallenge L is for The Lost Girls of Paris by Pam Jenoff

#AtoZChallenge 2019 Tenth Anniversary blogging from A to Z challenge letter

Blogging from A to Z April Challenge  is for bloggers who wish to participate by publishing a blog post every day in April except for Sundays. Each blog post will focus on a letter of the alphabet. For example April 1 will be A, April 2 will be B and on it goes. By the end of April, a blog post for every letter of the alphabet will have been posted.

Summary

Grace is trying to rebuild her life, after losing her husband during the war. One day, as she was on her way to work, and passing Central Station, she finds an abandoned suitcase  under a bench seat. On opening it, she finds photographs of a dozen different women. For some reason that she can’t explain she quickly closes the suitcases and hurries off with the photographs.

After spending time researching the photos, she discovers that the owner of the suitcase was Eleanor Trigg, the leader of a group of female secret agents who were sent to Europe during the war to help with the war effort.

Grace finds herself drawn to these photos. She can’t leave them alone and feels she must find out more, if only to find the families so she can pass on the photos.

This story is inspired by true events during world war two and shines a light on the incredible bravery of these otherwise ordinary women.

My Thoughts

I found this story to be inspiring, troubling and unforgettable. One of my favourite genres is world war one and two historical fiction and this book didn’t disappoint.  I was so caught up in the story of these girls, that I didn’t want to be finished reading the book. I even read the last couple of chapters, very slowly, a couple of pages at a time, to delay the ending. I really didn’t want it to end.

I found The Lost Girls Of Paris to be a page turner which didn’t disappoint. This is the first book that I’ve read by this author but I now plan to read her previous book,  The Orphan’s Tale.

Recommendation

“Fraught with danger, and filled with mystery, and meticulously researched, The Lost Girls Of Paris is a fascinating tale of the hidden women who helped win the war” – Lisa Wingate, New York Times best selling author of Before We Were Yours

“Pam Jenoff’s meticulous research and gorgeous historical word building lift her books to must-buy status. An intriguing mystery and a captivating heroine make The Lost Girls Of Paris a read to savour” – Kate Quinn, New York Times best selling author of The Alice Network

My Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

About the author
Pam Jenoff

Pam is the author of several novels, including her most recent The Lost Girls of Paris and The Orphan’s Tale, both instant New York Times bestsellers. Pam was born in Maryland and raised outside Philadelphia. She attended George Washington University in Washington, D.C., and Cambridge University in England. Upon receiving her masters in history from Cambridge, she accepted an appointment as Special Assistant to the Secretary of the Army. The position provided a unique opportunity to witness and participate in operations at the most senior levels of government, including helping the families of the Pan Am Flight 103 victims secure their memorial at Arlington National Cemetery, observing recovery efforts at the site of the Oklahoma City bombing and attending ceremonies to commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of World War II at sites such as Bastogne and Corregidor.

Following her work at the Pentagon, Jenoff moved to the State Department. In 1996 she was assigned to the U.S. Consulate in Krakow, Poland. It was during this period that Pam developed her expertise in Polish-Jewish relations and the Holocaust. Working on matters such as preservation of Auschwitz and the restitution of Jewish property in Poland, Jenoff developed close relations with the surviving Jewish community.

Having left the Foreign Service in 1998 to attend law school at the University of Pennsylvania, Jenoff practiced law at a large firm and in-house for several years. She now teaches law school at Rutgers – Goodreads.com.au

Published in 2019 by Park Row. Paperback 34 pages

Have you read this book. If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts. I promise to always reply to comments made in the section below.

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Images: Goodreads