Many thanks to EdPr for inviting me to take in the blog tour for Fiona Valpy’s STUNNING novel, ‘The Dressmaker’s Gift’, and for the ARC. I am delighted to be reviewing the book as part of the blog tour today!
What does TWG think?
Ever since I finished reading this book the other morning (early hours to be exact), I knew that I was going to struggle writing my review. It wasn’t that I didn’t like the book, it was the fact that I was so emotionally invested in Harriett’s story, both past and present.
I am a huge fan of historical fiction, and after reading ‘The Dressmaker’s Gift’, my love for the genre was cemented even more. Set in Paris in 1940 and then in Germany several years later, Valpy’s novel tells the story of Harriett’s ancestor, Claire, and her friends as they’re faced with living life during the war. As well as being set in the past, the story is also set in the ‘present day’ of 2017, making it a dual timeline and quite complex read.
Harriett hasn’t had it easy after losing her mum to suicide. She has never felt as though she belonged anywhere and, after finding a photograph from 1940, she was determined to find out more about where she came from. The truth becomes clear over the duration of the book, something I certainly wasn’t ready for let alone Harriett!
I’m sure a lot of you are aware of concentration camp, Auschwitz, but are you aware of the other camps? I knew of some, but nothing in depth, however that definitely changed as I learnt about Flossenburg. My goodness, my blood ran cold. The events that were described in this book about that camp were chilling, didistressing and incredibly heartbreaking. I had no idea that the Gustapo went to such lengths, and my heart broke for Claire, Vivi, and everyone else involved.
History and family ties is what makes ‘The Dressmaker’s Gift’ what it is, yet Fiona Valpy’s fragile storytelling is what gave me a body covered in goosebumps and a heart haphazardly put back together with sellotape.
Witnessing the events from 1940 through the eyes of Claire and friends, was something I will never be able to forget. The things those women endured is what people actually went through, all because of one selfish and evil individual. Its disgraceful, disgusting, diabolical, but from the bottom of my heart (not that anyone involved would be able to read this), I want to say thank you to all the soldiers who fought for the good of the people, and thank you to everyone who lost their lives for our freedom today. I wish they hadn’t.
Sorry, went off on a tangent there but it needed to be said.
I absolutely adored ‘The Dressmaker’s Gift’ for both its beauty and its emotive undertone. Fiona Valpy is an exceptional author who has given those who can no longer speak, a voice and the ability to share the power of their wisdom.
I won’t lie, this book broke me and left me utterly speechless, yet I cannot recommend it enough. This is power at its finest, poignancy in all its beauty, and the history which makes time stand still all over again. A beautiful, powerful and emotive read – one of the best books I have ever read.
The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy is out now, published by Lake Union in paperback original and e-Book.