We’re delighted be on tour today sharing Laura’s thoughts on The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy.
The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy is published by Lake Union Publishing (1st October 2019) and is available to purchase in digital, paperback and audiobook formats.
Paris, 1940. With the city occupied by the Nazis, three young seamstresses go about their normal lives as best they can. But all three are hiding secrets. War-scarred Mireille is fighting with the Resistance; Claire has been seduced by a German officer; and Vivienne’s involvement is something she can’t reveal to either of them.
Two generations later, Claire’s English granddaughter Harriet arrives in Paris, rootless and adrift, desperate to find a connection with her past. Living and working in the same building on the Rue Cardinale, she learns the truth about her grandmother – and herself – and unravels a family history that is darker and more painful than she ever imagined.
In wartime, the three seamstresses face impossible choices when their secret activities put them in grave danger. Brought together by loyalty, threatened by betrayal, can they survive history’s darkest era without being torn apart?
I fell in love with the historical part of this story. Set as a dual timeline, in the present with Harriet and Paris in 1940 with her grandmother, Claire. I much preferred the chapters set during the war as they were riveting, interesting and thought-provoking.
With an old photograph of her grandmother and two young friends, Harriet is pleased to be given the opportunity to work in the same building that her grandmother lived and worked in. Her grandmother worked as a seamstress with her friends Mireille and Vivienne whilst becoming part of the resistance. Harriet learns the truth about her her grandmother and is astonished with what she discovers.
I enjoyed how The Dressmaker’s Gift portrays the strength within friendships and how women were also pivotal during the war.
An emotional read and great story.
Fiona spent seven years living in France, having moved there from the UK in 2007. She and her family renovated an old, rambling farmhouse in the Bordeaux winelands, during which time she developed new-found skills in cement-mixing, interior decorating and wine-tasting.
All of these inspirations, along with a love for the place, the people and their history, have found their way into the books she’s written, which have been translated into French, Dutch, German, Norwegian, Italian, Czech, Turkish, Lithuanian and Slovenian.
Fiona now lives in Scotland, and has begun working on new projects in that setting, but she still enjoys regular visits to France in search of the sun.