I need to tell you a story, ma chere. 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.
Firstly huge thanks to Jenny at Hodder for organising this blogtour, inviting me to be involved and providing me with a very pretty proof.
An epic story told by Rosa Kusstatscher as she gets ready for an important meet, she looks back over her life, telling her story of her upbringing in Switzerland and Nazi occupation during WW2, her loves and her losses. Through the lens of fashion and beauty the story is told to an unknown listener as Rosa gets ready for the most important night of her life. Each chapter starts beautifully with Rosa detailing, piece by piece her beauty regime as she gets ready.
Set in a dramatic time historically, Rosa moves across Europe as the second World War draws to a close, landing in Paris and immersing herself in the exciting world of fashion, seizing opportunites and ultimately working with Christian Dior as he builds his empire. Following a heartbreak, she moves to Brazil for love where she creates her own fashion and beauty line, finding success and a modest amount of fame. A loss leads to a move to New York, the next chapter of her adventure, more success, more heartbreak and love.
This was a compelling story that I found myself wholly immersed in. The glamour of the fashion world appealed to me and the locations of Paris, Rio and New York were depicted gloriously. The period in Rio was particularly magical, a time of happiness and contentment for Rosa in a vibrant and idyllic location.
This is a work of historical fiction and it is the story of Rosa, told by her, looking back on her very full life. Drawing on moments in history and weaving them seamlessly into the story this book embraces life and all the changes that brings. I loved this book, its historical and cultural references, its glamous surface disguising inevitable losses, regrets and sadness. This was a marvellous book told of a life, lived. Beautifully written and highly recommended by me.
For fans of historical fiction, I’m thinking that if you enjoyed The Diver and the Lover by Jeremy Vine (reviewed here) or The Governess by Wendy Holden (reviewed here) then you should defintely pick this book up, and if you haven;t read any of these… well what’s stopping you!?
About the Author
Georgia Kaufmann was born and grew up in North London. She studied Social Anthropology and Demography at Cambridge, LSE and Oxford. For most of her twenties and early thirties, she managed to live elsewhere, with a preference for places beginning with B: Brussels, Belo Horizonte, Brighton and Boston, amongst others. Since 1995 she has lived in London, exchanging her career as demographic anthropologist to bring up her children and write.
The Dressmaker of Paris is her debut novel.
This is a blogtour celebrating publication of this stunning novel. Lots of people will be chatting about this, check out the accounts below to find out what is being said.