I have only had the pleasure of reading one of Kristy Cambron’s novels but I have many of them on my TBR of course. I loved The Painted Castle which I read back in 2019 and I was really excited to see that this one was coming out! When it came up for review I was ecstatic and I loved the cover! Easy yes right here!
There are a lot of wonderful WWII novels that come out every year and I try and squeeze in as many as I can. Many are set in Paris or feature unlikely female heroines turned spies or resistance fighters and while the genre is flooded with similar tales and troupes, I simply adore them even if they are not terribly unique.
This book features a dress designer in occupied Paris that once worked for Coco Chanel and turns resistance fighter. But what really caught my eye about this one was that it was based on true events! I couldn’t wait to read this one for that reason. I expected this one to be well researched and well written given Cambron’s history with so many historical fiction novels under her belt.
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 couturedressmaker 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 Resistanceand 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 headquarters. But 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. (summary from Goodreads)
As I expected, this novel was well researched! I could see the research in this one without ‘seeing’ it if that makes sense. This story was full of little historical details that made me feel like I was right there in the dress shops of occupied Paris, I felt shown rather than told about the history and climate of the city. I loved that aspect of the book and praise the author for taking the time to really research the historical details and bring them to life without cramming it down the readers throat in bland detail—-the details in this one were colorful and sparkling.
This story is told through two POVs, Sandrine and Lila as well as two timelines—so basically four narratives to keep track of while reading. For me, I don’t know if I cared for the two POVs and timelines, it felt a little cumbersome and clunky for me as a reader, but it wasn’t entirely off putting—it just took me a while to get the hang of things and orientate myself within the story and timelines. It felt like there was a lot going on and there was not only the characters but their individual time lines to keep track of so that meant I had to really pay attention to what was happening within the narrative. This isn’t a book that you can read and just get into the flow of since there are changing POVs and timelines that readers will want to note and pay attention to. Eventually the stories meet and become one but it takes a while to get to that point.
Timelines and POVs aside, the story contained within is wonderful. Once I got the hang of the narrative and became invested in each story, I found myself attentive to the narratives. This is a story of two strong and brave women who put themselves at risk to help others and fight for their beliefs. The fact that this was based on a true story makes it even more special knowing that there were real women out there who did things like this. I truly enjoyed this one once I got into it and became invested with the characters and their lives/stories. If you love WWII era books with a little glitz with brave women, then this is one you do not want to miss out on!
Book Info and Rating
Paperback, 400 pages
Published February 16th 2021 by Thomas Nelson
ISBN0785232168 (ISBN13: 9780785232162)
Free review copy provided by publisher Thomas Nelson in partnership with HFVBT in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and in no way influenced.
Rating: 4 stars
Genre: historical fiction
Praise for The Paris Dressmaker
“Woven within this beautiful historical tapestry of WWII from Cambron (The Painted Castle) is the stark reminder to keep friends close and enemies closer . . .Based on true events, this exquisite tale impresses with its historical and emotional authenticity. Historical fiction fans won’t want to miss this.” —Publishers Weekly Starred Review
“Unimaginable heartache, unforgettable romance, and cheering defiance against the oppression the Nazis inflicted on Paris; readers will be swept away into a story where battle-scarred good at last rings victory over evil.” —J’nell Ciesielski, author of The Socialite
“Stunning. With as much skill and care as the title’s namesake possesses, The Paris Dressmaker weaves together the stories of two heroines who boldly defy the darkness that descends on the City of Light.” —Jocelyn Green, Christy Award-winning author of Shadows of the White City
“A thoroughly satisfying blend of memorable characters, evocative writing, and wartime drama that seamlessly transport you to the City of Light at its most desperate hour.” —Susan Meissner, bestselling author of The Nature of Fragile Things
“Kristy Cambron deftly weaves multiple timelines to craft a story as complex and romantic and beautiful as a couture gown. In addition, Lila and Sandrine’s strength and courage in a troubled world inspire us to live likewise. Tres magnifique!” —Sarah Sundin, bestselling and award-winning author of When Twilight Breaks and the Sunrise at Normandy series
“With real-life historical details woven in with her fictional tale, the story popped off the page. Readers will be thinking of this book long after they’ve read the last word.” —Rachel Hauck, New York Times bestselling author
“A well-researched and beautifully interwoven treatise on courage and conviction in the midst of oppression.” —Rachel McMillan, author of The London Restoration and The Mozart Code
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About the Author
Kristy Cambron is an award-winning author of historical fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of nonfiction, including the Verse Mapping Series Bibles and Bible studies. Kristy’s work has been named to Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations, and has been featured at CBN, Lifeway Women, Jesus Calling, Country Woman Magazine, MICI Magazine, Faithwire, Declare, (in)Courage, and Bible Gateway. She holds a degree in Art History/Research Writing and lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons, where she can probably be bribed with a peppermint mocha latte and a good read.
Blog Tour Schedule
Tuesday, February 9
Review at Amy’s Booket List
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Review at Chicks, Rogues and Scandals
Thursday, February 11
Review at Gwendalyn’s Books
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Review at Reading is My Remedy
Tuesday, February 16
Review at Books, Cooks, Looks
Wednesday, February 17
Interview at Novels Alive
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Review at Read Review Rejoice
Monday, February 22
Review at Nursebookie
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Review at Books, Writings, and More
Wednesday, February 24
Review at Novels Alive
Thursday, February 25
Review at The Caffeinated Bibliophile
Friday, February 26
Review at The Lit Bitch
We have 5 paperback copies of The Paris Dressmaker up for grabs!
The giveaway is open to the US only and ends on February 26th. You must be 18 or older to enter.