Cover Image: The Dressmaker of Paris

The Dressmaker of Paris

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Member Reviews

What a heartbreaking yet heartwarming book. I absolutely would recommend this to anyone.

I love sewing but I've not made clothes and this book has made me want to have a go.

The relationship between Rosa and the professor is really lovely. I love how Rosa turns awful events in her life into positive. She has to deal with so much to deal with from such a young age.

I liked the relationship between Rosa and Graza, they seem to stick together through the highs and lows.

It's a fabulously interesting book about, fashion, fame and relationships. It's also about power struggles, loss, bravery, racsim and sexism and it is jam packed.

I would definitely read another by this author and recommend this one to my friends and family.
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A beautiful story of love, loss, and truth in a world that was changed by the scars of war. I was moved by the tale of Rosa who is relating her life story through memories whilst preparing to meet someone. After a life starting in a poor alps town, a life changing situation during Nazi occupation and the help of a postman she embarks on a new life. This life in fashion takes her through Paris, Brazil and even New York through the 50s, yes and beyond and weaves a fantastic life story rich in detail. This is a wonderful book which truly moved me,
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Thanks for the ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review. 

This was beautiful written, like a story especially for me about a distant friend. Historical fiction is beautiful, and I read this in one sitting!! High praise from me.
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I read this ARC for an honest review
All thoughts and opinions are mine

I'm on a bit of an historical fiction binge and absolutely love the genre

Really enjoyed this and read it is one sitting

Can't say any better than that really

If historical fiction is your thing, this one's for you
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Rosa is an icon in the fashion industry. She has built an empire and now she is relating her story, going back, back to being a sixteen year old raped by a Sergeant in Hitler's army which was bad enough but what was totally unimaginable and horrifying was that her father actually traded her virginity in, in a game of cards which he lost.

Finding herself pregnant and alone, Rosa's story takes on from there. It was a tumultuous beginning and the story had its share of ups and downs. 

Rosa was very focussed and this led especially in her younger years to decisions which were looking back clinical and selfish, but she had her reasons and she successfully turned her life around.

The story was riveting, a rags to riches story, of a determined woman out to make good. The times were hard Hitler's Austria and then Switzerland, then Paris.

A page turner, unputdownable!
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I seldom read historical fiction these days, but I truly enjoyed this book. So much that I read it in one sitting.
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The Dressmaker of Paris feels like a song.
Each chapter begins in conversation with “you”. Who we are remains to be seen but I absolutely adored the poetic way in which the words speak to you. This book feels personal, like being told a story from a friend, and we’re on the journey of her life too.

We travel the world, experience a world war and all the hardships that Rosa endures. From the alps, to Switzerland and Paris, we’re invited on a personal journey. I was enveloped by the story. Drawn in to the pages and surprisingly (as I am made of stone) emotional.

Teachings of fashion and beauty, dressmaking and mending, the sights and smells are described as if you are right there with them. The chapters are titled by makeup and skincare, with Rosa relating her products to the story of her life and lessons learned.

I just can’t believe this lyrical work of art is a debut. Please write more journeys around the world to fall deeply enamoured with.
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This is the first book that I have read by this author. I was taken on a magical journey which I loved from the first page to the last. I loved reading this book and I couldn’t wait to see how it would develop. The author didn’t disappoint me at all. A brilliantly written story which made the reader to want to know more.
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Pauline Barnaby
5.0 out of 5 stars A beautifully written story.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on 6 February 2021
The way that the story of Rosa unfolds throughout this book is beautiful.You cannot predict what will happen next and you cant wait to find out. The book is incredibly well written and keeps you gripped to the very last page.
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They say don't judge a book by it's cover but seriously, how can you not request a book with a cover so gorgeous and clever! I had pretty much decided I wanted to read this even before I read the synopsis to know what it was about. 

Upon reading the synopsis you are imagining a life of glamour, the perfect dress for every occasion and a look into how the other half live. This book doesn't feature any of that, it is far more layered and gritty. Although Rosa makes her fortune through dressmaking and it does feature in the story, it is not the focus of the story and there is very little of Paris included in the novel, strangely, Rosa isn't actually from Paris, she's from Italy so the title is slightly misleading BUT don't let that put you off. This is an excellent read. 

The story is told from the point of view of Rosa, she is getting ready for a major event and looking back on her life
"𝘐 𝘯𝘦𝘦𝘥 𝘵𝘰 𝘵𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘢 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺, 𝘔𝘢 𝘊𝘩è𝘳𝘦. 𝘔𝘺 𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘳𝘺..."
For most of the novel, we don't know what the event is, or who she is talking to about it. 

Each chapter opens with a present day look around her, and some dialogue about around beauty, be that nail varnish, lipstick, moisturiser, shaving. This is then very cleverly linked back to an episode in Rosa's life. 

This book is beautifully written, you feel as though Rosa is speaking directly to you and you feel every possible emotion as you move through her life. From her difficult time as a teenager in Italy at the start of WWII through her moves to Switzerland, Paris, Rio and New York. You get to know her hopes and fears, you live through both the best and worst times in her life. 

By the end of the novel I was emotionally spent, I felt like I'd lived through everything with Rosa and I was so invested in her that the ending was just perfect for everything that had gone before. 

Thank you NetGalley, Georgia Kaufman and Hodder & Stoughton for the opportunity to read this book in exchange for an impartial review
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This wasn’t my cup of tea at all. Some books just aren’t a good match but the plot is interesting and I’m sure others will adore Rosa but I just couldn’t click with the story. Unfortunately, a DNF for me.
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The Dressmaker of Paris begins when we are introduced to Rosa in New York in 1991 as she prepares for a very important meeting. While she chooses what to wear and what makeup to use she relates her life story to an unknown person addressed as 'Ma chere', the only thing that irritated me as it took me out of the story when I wanted  Rosa to be addressing me, the reader. However, the person she is talking to is an important one, as we discover near the end.

Rosa's life spans her childhood during the Second World War in the Alps, her escape from her family first to Switzerland and then to Paris while still a teenager, and her burgeoning career working for Christian Dior. We follow her to Brazil and finally New York. Along the way Rosa becomes a very successful international designer in her own right. 

But it is who she has left behind that haunts Rosa throughout this memorable and beautifully imagined story. Until she lays those ghosts of her past to rest she will never be truly happy. I did find the way this was achieved a little contrived but it didn't stop me from enjoying the book very much. Many thanks to NetGalley and Hooder & Stoughton for the opportunity to read and review The Dressmaker of Paris.
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The Dressmaker of Paris is the debut novel from Georgia Kaufmann following one woman’s story of loss, trauma and suffering as she navigates her world following a life changing incident. She is trying to come to terms with this and to reconcile with a decision she made which at the time she viewed as the being the best choice given her circumstances. Over the course of her life she struggles to find true independence that will make her comfortable in her own skin but the loss she bears is deep and the guilt eats away at her. How can we right a wrong which at the time was perceived as a right as said decision would hopefully benefit all involved? The woman was always looking to the future for security given the humble background she had come from but events in her late teens conspired against her and altered the course of her life. 

When we are introduced to Rosa in New York in 1991 she is preparing for the most important meeting of her life and as she takes care in getting ready she recollects her story to somebody. We do not know who she is speaking to, nor who is she preparing to meet, but as she casts her mind back over her eventful life we come to understand how she reached the position she holds today. We are taken through a large time period and across many countries as her life and evolves, alters and develops. She has spent her life running but the time for that is finally over as she confronts the repercussions of the decision she made so long ago. 

Rosa will never be able to fully love again until she is healed. She seeks this love in many places and at some points in the book, I thought she believed that she had found it but that deep burning love that one has for a certain somebody always truly evaded her. I think when she thought it had arrived at her door it was merely a façade on her part in some instances. She is constantly restless, never truly happy and confident in her own skin and that is all because of the choice she made that at the time she believed was the best as she had no other option. She can cover over her tracks and keep secrets and try and be successful in her professional and public life but the guilt she feels and the longing that is always there will never be quashed until she has gained acceptance and forgiveness from whom she seeks it the most.

Georgia Kaufmann excels in bringing the multitude of settings that feature in this book to life. We begin in the Alps in Northern Italy where Rosa lives in a hilltop village. Her family run the local gausthus. The families agonise over their identities. Are they German or Italian and even more so when the Germans arrive and take control of their village during the war. The author details life in the village and how danger, fear and wariness lurk at every corner. Rosa becomes taken with a Thomas Fischer and would like to pursue this but he is on the opposite side. The enemy. An horrific event in which her father is complicit, and her mother has no idea about sees Rosa leaving the village secretly aided by a true friend. 

She arrives in Switzerland and is taken in by a professor. She knows this is only but a stop gap as her true talent for sewing and dressmaking emerges and a better life is needed to be made. Facing a cruel and life impacting choice in which there is no right or wrong decision she makes the ultimate sacrifice. One which given time, courage and determination will see things pay off. But is she willing to deal with the consequences of her actions? Will everyone else involved carefully slot in with her plan and ultimate vision? Or do others move on in her absence and therefore she is left haunted by her decision?

I loved the section of the story set in Paris as real historical figures were brought to life on the page. I thought we got a fascinating insight into dressmaking in Paris and how designers and couture started to come to life post war. Rosa was ambitious but wary at the same time but Dior sees beneath her and knows she has a bright future ahead of her even if those around her do not know the secrets she holds and why she is so driven and determined. A meeting at an event sees her fall in love with chemist Charles Dumarais and her life takes another unexpected turn. Here is where things got slightly heavy after they venture to Brazil because of Charles’ job. Some of the scenes were hard to read because I didn’t like the way her life was turning out. I couldn’t falter the love she felt for Charles. It was real and genuine but I thought she was going further and further away from the reason for her plan. Aspects of the story that took place in Brazil were sad but at the same time there was happiness to be found and friendships to be forges in the most unexpected of places. 

Perhaps the Brazil section was dragged out too much and it was a relief to move to the next phase in New York. Although success was coming her way, a new stage to her plan felt forced and unnecessary although it did bring about a redemption of sorts towards the end. Rosa was a hit and miss character for me. I loved her when she was in Italy and Switzerland but she changed, of course she had to, in Brazil and New York. I didn’t respect her decisions and I thought she needed to lay the ghosts of the past to rest in order to move forward. They were always dragging her down as there were so many and she needed to confront them but as for the majority of this book she was always running and evading what needed to be truly met head on.

The Dressmaker of Paris was a really good book and a well accomplished and written debut. Given the title I thought all of the book would be set in Paris and to be honest I thought it would focus on the war years. Instead we are given an awful lot more and yes this is a sweeping story that you will get lost in as the reader is taken with Rosa on an incredible journey. One you would have not thought possible when we meet her during World War Two as she lives with her family in the mountainous region of Northern Italy. She goes through many quick transitions in her life, always pushing forward with a goal in mind and at times this goal has to be pushed aside as other forces take hold. I did enjoy this book but I wasn’t as swept away in it as I thought I would be, maybe because I felt certain parts of it were too long and at times it strayed away from the main crux of the Rosa’s story. Her reason for always being on the running and seeking affirmation, forgiveness and reconciliation. 

Don’t get me wrong it is a good book and that stunning cover will draw you in because that’s certainly what made me want to read it but there was just a slight something missing in it for me. I can’t quite put my finger on it but that feeling of rapidly needing to turn the page and you don’t even notice you are doing so and then all of a sudden you reach the end was absent for me. At times, certain parts were a struggle just because I felt the story needed to be moved on instead of extended description or focus on where Rosa was at a time. Saying all that I would definitely recommend this book, Georgia Kaufmann is a writing talent to watch out for and I am intrigued to see in which direction she will next venture in in future books.
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This is a sweeping novel of a woman's life across three continents.  Rosa narrates to a person she calls Ma Chere (the identity of this person is revealed at the end)..  She started life in Italy, living in poverty and with abuse, and then moved through Europe.  Her talent as a seamstress carriesher though and ultimately leads her to create a mini-empire.  Is she happy?  The narration is almost detached,. which makes it hard to get a connection with her but I found myself turning the pages nonetheless.  Each chapter is framed around a different cosmetic- starting with lipstick- which is quite appropriate.  Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC.  Interesting historical fiction.
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A gripping book that is as dark in places as it is beautiful. A book that combines fashion, history and travel was always going to be right up my street however I was surprised at just how much it drew me in. I took a little while to connect with Rosa but I think that added to my love for the character as the book progressed. 
The detail in this book is superb, each location travelled to perfectly described. Simply an addictive read from start to finish
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Oh my goodness what a book it was so gripping.

It is the story about Rosa the hardship she has to go through to get where she is now.  She is just a country girl working in her families business.

We see Rosa going from strength to strength but she has had to go through heartache to get there.

It certainly kept me wanting to know what would happen next.

Very good.
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The Dressmaker Of Paris is an emotional and atmospheric read which was hugely enjoyable.

Rosa was a very interesting main character and I found it fascinating to follow her throughout her life. She’s definitely had a very hard life and lived through some emotional moments. The reader follows her through all the highs, lows, love and friendship that she experiences which allows them to understand more the kind of person she is. It did take me a while to warm to her as some of the decisions she makes I didn’t initially agree with, though I think as time goes on I came to understand more why she made them.

This book takes the reader to multiple continents which I found very enjoyable. The author has clearly done her research and I loved the way she included little details about the country and their customs which made me feel like I was right there experiencing everything alongside the reader. I learned a few new things about the countries along the way which I always enjoy.

Overall I really liked this book which I thought was very well written. It was a bit darker than I was expecting in places but I felt that this wasn’t over done and that it was balanced out nicely with other lighter moments. The ending was quite surprising and not at all what I expected which I always like. If you are a fan of historical fiction then I think you will like this book.

Huge thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me onto the blog tour and to Hodder and Stoughton for my copy of this book.
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Rosa Kusstatscher has reached a pivotal moment in her life. From a troubled and difficult childhood, she went on to build a global fashion empire that has taken her around the world, but there are some things from her past she’s never shared. As she prepares for an important meeting, she opens up and each chapter of her life begins with an observation of something in her bathroom that she couldn’t be without, be it nail varnish, cotton wool or aspirin. Its presence triggers a memory, and the next instalment of her story unfurls.
 
I found her an intriguing character from the beginning. We don’t really get introduced to present day Rosa, and it takes almost the entire book before we discover who she is talking to, where she is off to and why it is so difficult to choose just the right look. The book moves at the gentle pace of an older lady remembering an extraordinary life. We meet those who let her down and those who helped her move on, those who loved her and guided her, and those who left her. 
 
As well as Paris, this book took me to some unexpected locations including the Nazi invasion of an Italian mountain village, Switzerland, Brazil and New York. Rosa became good at running away, but Paris was where she found her niche in the fashion world and turned her life around. She may have gone on to make her fortune, but the price she had to pay was a high one and it took a lot more running and searching before she found peace in her heart. 
 
Rosa’s story was one that stayed with me long after I put the book down each night. As well as the glamour and love, alongside hard work, high risks and heartbreak, there was always something to ponder on as I tried to work out where her story was going.
 
If you are looking for a book to draw you in, that will give you history, travel, fashion and love, then The Dressmaker of Paris should tick all these boxes and more.
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I wasn’t quite sure what to expect when I requested this book, but I tend to really enjoy anything Paris related and so the title reeled me in.  In actual fact very little of the book is based in Paris, but this didn’t deter me and I was swept into an emotional roller coaster of a book. I honestly felt every single emotion whilst reading this soul-stirring and sentimental novel. 

It’s beautifully constructed, narrated by the main character Rosa Kusstatsher who is telling her life story to someone referred to as ‘ma cherè’ - we don’t know who this is until towards the end.  The narrative reflects on Rosa’s life, beginning in the Italian Alps in World War 2 and spanning several decades, we follow her through to Switzerland, Paris, Rio de Janeiro and finally New York.  She escapes from Italy as a young girl after something devastating happens to her, she leaves her family and makes her way on her own.  Rosa is a talented seamstress and we see her gradually becoming successful in building up her fashion empire.  Some of the diverse characters we meet along the way are wonderful and you can’t help but empathise or fall in love with them. The story is not at all predictable and there are one or two twists that really surprised me.

The Dressmaker of Paris is a real treasure of a book which will stay with me for a long  time to come.  It’s a beautiful, emotional and thought provoking and I was completely captivated by this wonderful story.
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Written with such finesse that it's hard to believe this is the author's debut!

Rosa has a story to tell, and it is expertly written and unfolds beautifully. From her hard life as a young girl in a mountain village to the creator of a global fashion empire, she reveals everything - the good, the bad and, yes, the ugly. She is honest to a fault and her story is related while she prepares herself for the single most important meeting of her life.

I was first drawn to this book by both the title and cover; I've been known to create a few articles of clothing myself over the years so anything with 'dressmaker' in the title always piques my interest. I can't tell you how happy I am that I requested this one and didn't scroll on by. Unfolding at an even pace from first to last, it is a tantalising tale, which drew me in until I felt as if Rosa is - well, not my best friend, but definitely someone I was aware of. Skilfully created, this is an eloquent tale and I admired so much about Rosa whilst wondering if I would have been able to take the hard decisions she had to. This novel has left me feeling honoured and privileged to have been given a glimpse into Rosa's world and it's all wrapped up with a superb finale! Georgia Kaufmann is definitely an author to watch and, in all conscience, I really cannot give this one any less than a full five stars.

My thanks to the publisher for my copy via NetGalley; this is - as always - my honest, original and unbiased review.
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