The Paris Dressmaker (2021)

About the Book

Book: The Paris Dressmaker

Author: Kristy Cambron

Release Date: February 16, 2021

Genre: Historical Fiction, Historical Romance

Based on true accounts of how Parisiennes resisted the Nazi occupation in World War II—from fashion houses to the city streets—comes a story of two courageous women who risked everything to fight an evil they couldn’t abide.

Paris, 1939. Maison Chanel has closed, thrusting haute couture dressmaker Lila de Laurent out of the world of high fashion as Nazi soldiers invade the streets and the City of Lights slips into darkness. Lila’s life is now a series of rations, brutal restrictions, and carefully controlled propaganda while Paris is cut off from the rest of the world. Yet in hidden corners of the city, the faithful pledge to resist. Lila is drawn to La Resistance and is soon using her skills as a dressmaker to infiltrate the Nazi elite. She takes their measurements and designs masterpieces, all while collecting secrets in the glamorous Hôtel Ritz—the heart of the Nazis’ Parisian headquartersBut when dashing René Touliard suddenly reenters her world, Lila finds her heart tangled between determination to help save his Jewish family and bolstering the fight for liberation.

Paris, 1943. Sandrine Paquet’s job is to catalog the priceless works of art bound for the Führer’s Berlin, masterpieces stolen from prominent Jewish families. But behind closed doors, she secretly forages for information from the underground resistance. Beneath her compliant façade lies a woman bent on uncovering the fate of her missing husband . . . but at what cost? As Hitler’s regime crumbles, Sandrine is drawn in deeper when she uncrates an exquisite blush Chanel gown concealing a cryptic message that may reveal the fate of a dressmaker who vanished from within the fashion elite.

Told across the span of the Nazi occupation, The Paris Dressmaker highlights the brave women who used everything in their power to resist darkness and restore light to their world.

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My Thoughts

The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron is not an easy read. It’s heavy and weighs on the reader like a thick cloak. Don’t get me wrong, this is NOT a bad story or a boring read. Not even in the slightest. It’s just heavy and tense; it places the reader into the heart of Paris during Nazi occupation and doesn’t let up. This is a fully immersive read where the reader becomes a character experiencing the intensity of tyrannical authoritarianism. The Paris Dressmaker is a story that won’t let the reader go even after the final page has been read. It makes the reader think, it makes the reader compare the current day to the scary days of Nazi rule, and it makes the reader contemplate the future as an individual in a modern era that seems to be mimicking at supersonic speeds the mistakes of the past. The Paris Dressmaker is a story that has deeply affected me and has left me a little wrecked. The end of this novel is SO hope-filled and SO good, but it has left me wondering if there are any brave men and women in my day, like Sandrine and Lila, who will stand up and fight the darkness that is here, that is coming at breakneck speed, even though doing so goes against the loud majority. The Paris Dressmaker is not an easy read, but I believe it is an absolute must-read story.

The Paris Dressmaker is a complex, yet highly enjoyable, narrative. It is set-up to follow two main heroines as they experience Nazi-occupied France between 1938-1944. Time jumps a lot in this story between 1938-1944, so the reader must focus and pay close attention or details could be missed. The characters are brilliantly crafted. Sandrine and Lila become very real almost immediately. What I love most about both women is how relatable they are even though they come from very different worlds, and deal with very different challenges. Some issues transcend place and time, and this definitely goes for the very scary things both women have to deal with. My favorite thematic point is the one Sandrine deals with throughout the entire story — being brave enough to do what is right even when what is right looks wrong or goes against Society. Doing what is right is often a more difficult thing to do, but it’s really the only way to go. The Paris Dressmaker is an excellent historical novel in that the research is superbly done. I learned so much from this story. I had no idea about the “kept” Parisian women who felt it was safest to enter into relationships with German soldiers, I had no idea about the men and women who worked tirelessly in the FFI, and I had no idea people took it upon themselves to catalog all the stolen art and artifacts the Germans were pilfering from Parisian Jews in the hopes that one day they could return the stolen works. My eyes were truly opened to the plight of all Parisians at this time — rich, poor, old, young — and I could feel the tension and fear and hatred they felt towards the terrifying Nazis. Cambron definitely creates an amazing sense of place in this story. I don’t feel like I read history, I feel like I lived it.

There is so much more that could be said about The Paris Dressmaker. Honestly, this review can’t begin to do this book justice. It’s just that amazing a novel. If you are a fan of excellently written Historical Romances with an amazing sense of time and place, then I HIGHLY recommend The Paris Dressmaker by Kristy Cambron. This book is AMAZING!

I received a copy of this novel in eBook form from Thomas Nelson Publishers via NetGalley in order to review. In no way has this influenced my review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

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