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The Dressmaker's Gift

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4.26  ·  Rating details ·  16,726 ratings  ·  1,073 reviews

A Washington Post and Amazon Charts bestseller.

From the bestselling author of The Beekeeper’s Promise comes a gripping story of three young women faced with impossible choices. How will history – and their families – judge them?

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

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Kindle Edition, 286 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Lake Union Publishing
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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 ·  16,726 ratings  ·  1,073 reviews


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Paige
Sep 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
3.5 stars
This novel follows other modern historical fiction trends: the modern-day character, Harriet, finds an old photograph in box that shows her grandmother as a young lady with two other girls, and Harriet then makes it her goal to uncover the past of her familial history concerning her grandmother, Claire.

The first chapter was very cliché. Harriet moves to Paris obtaining a job in the same building that her grandmother, Claire, worked in. And, she settles in the same apartment that her
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Marian
Sep 07, 2019 rated it liked it
Making the hand rocking motion.

The grandmothers' story was interesting and good. The granddaughter's story was not so interesting, and the coincidences required a suspension of disbelief beyond what I could muster. Also, the granddaughter was, well, kind of annoying and weak through most of the book, which made it difficult not to whiz through her sections.
Amanda
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Fantastic with one small note

Fantastic book. It was gripping and suspenseful, painful and emotional, uplifting and allegorical for the times. My one note is that the story of the three seamstresses is set up to be revealed to Harriet through some letters. I don’t want to say any spoilers so I’ll just say that it seems unlikely that the person writing the letters would have such in depth knowledge of events that took place without him/her.

I loved the idea behind the letters but it was hard to
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Jackie
Sep 16, 2019 rated it it was ok
Dissenting opinion

I picked this free book through the Amazon First Reads program (or something like that). I love stories set in WWII and I am always looking to read something from a different angle. I enjoy books that move back and forth in time and reading about a character in the present discovering something about their family. I also enjoy sewing as a hobby. So the description of this book rang a lot of happy bells for me. I’m sad that it fell so short. In terms of storytelling and writing,
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Amanda Williams
Aug 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A hauntingly beautiful story. This book was completely immersive and really transports you back through time. It's rare I read wartime stories that actually depict everything how it actually was rather than romanticizing everything. Very down to earth book with relatable characters.
Karren  Sandercock
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thanks to NetGalley, Amazon Publishing UK and Fiona Valpy for my copy of her new book: The Dressmaker's Gift. I have read her previous book: The Beekeeper's Promise and I loved it.
Paris, 1940. The city is occupied by the Nazis, three young French seamstresses Claire, Mireille and Vivienne are kept busy sewing beautiful dresses for German officers wives and their mistresses.
The girls share a tiny apartment, it's situated on the top floor of the fashion house where they work and the three girls
...more
Karen
Oct 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Dressmaker’s Gift by Fiona Valpy is a story that pulls at the heartstrings. Set in two-time periods, Claire's granddaughter, Harriet travels to France to complete a one-year internship in a Paris fashion house in 2017. Her internship includes housing in an apartment on an upper floor of the fashion house. While settling, her roommate sees a picture of three women that Harriet places next to her bed. Her roommate tells her one of the girls is her grandmother Mirelle. Harriet’s grandmother, ...more
Debby "Piene Raven"
What can I say about Fiona Valpy...just that this first time author to this reader did an outstanding job of keeping me engaged and enjoying a wonderfully written story in 1940 Paris during WWII setting. Such a historical story of three women that revealed suspense, painful, and emotional drama. I was captivated by the historical parts of the story. The friendship between the women was pivotal as their loyalty to one another and their cause was evident and beautiful.

Very nice story and recommend
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Greta Halliday
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing book this turned out to be. So sympathetically written, the story slipped seamlessly between present and past intertwining the lives of people and creating a picture of death and sorrow mingled with Joy and happiness. This story is so convincing it could almost be real. My favourite kind of book set during the war years, it is a must read and if I was able I would award 10*
Georgina
Oct 18, 2019 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Pattie
Nov 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this!!
Trudy
Oct 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
So difficult giving this book only 4 stars. Here’s why: The beginning almost lost me. After previously reading three 5 star books in a row, I was not sure this one would keep my attention. There were just too many eye rolling coincidences. BUT THEN.....
It just got BETTER AND BETTER AND BETTER with each page! I couldn’t read it quickly enough! At that point, it was an exciting 5 star read and this was the majority of the book. I just couldn’t believe how compelling it was! .
THEN...it cooled
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Page Turner
Sep 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another historical fiction novel with the time frame leading up to and through WWII. The setting includes Great Britain, France and Germany. This book focuses on the fashion and designer industry and I found it very interesting. It is a well written book and the characters include several generations of three young women from different countries and social classes. A good read from start to finish.
Donna Hines
Nov 26, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, arc
I'm often asked how I rate a book and I'm glad it's asked because I've seen other reviewers rate based how they like the characters, unexpected v expected outcome, historical factors even if fiction based, but rarely do you hear about the writing, the plot, the flow, etc.
I'm one that also adds on more to this mix:emotions. In the end, would it be something I'd recommend to others? Did it stir up the creative juices? Was it moving and heartfelt and captured the moment even if not an accurate
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Chandni
Nov 26, 2019 rated it liked it
A good enough read. It started out slow but picks up. The Harriet character was annoying and her chapters were hard to get through. Overall an interesting story worth a read once.
Jenna
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved this book!
Jill Miclean
Oct 19, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: history-lite, wwii
Yet another dual timeline story that falls short in the history department. This book didn't have much going on and nothing really happens until about half way through. The 3 girls are supposed to be spies during WWII but they are the most boring spies ever until they are caught. By then, you really don't care much about them as there is not a lot of emotional depth to this book. There isn't enough history for my taste. The only real history comes when two of the girls is sent to a work camp and ...more
Cat
Oct 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What an amazing story. The author beautifully tells two stories and how they intertwine. It starts with the tale of three seamstresses in 1940 Paris. The seamstresses work creating coutre dresses as war comes to Paris. As it goes on, they each have secrets as the Resistance fights for Paris.

In the current time, Harriet, a grand-daughter comes to Paris to work in the same building where her grandmother worked. Harriet learns more about her grandmothers life during the war and learns more about
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Carolyn
Oct 24, 2019 rated it liked it
If you like historical novels about World War II, you may like this. I found the coincidences in the story too unbelievable and the writing wasn't that compelling to me.
norma  linza
Sep 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Unique historical novel

I liked the unique story and the historical references. I wish the author had given more on Coco and her betrayal and morals. Coco was a traitor and profited from her immoral lifestyle.
Deep, almost unbelievable, information in what life was like.
What I didn't like was the rambling on and on, the musing over and over again. Especially the end.
With drastic editing this could even be a great movie. The author just writes way too much. I ended up skipping dozens of rambling
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Joann
Oct 11, 2019 rated it did not like it
This is just a warning for anyone who will want to listen to this audible version. I had to return it. The beginning was too heavily accented for me to understand. Yes, I do have some hearing issues, but it was very hard to make out most of the dialogue. Maybe stick with the Kindle version.
Jm
Sep 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Another Kindle First Reader selection. An enjoyable self-discovery tale that flips between the present (2017) and the past (1940-44) in Paris.

Harriet is young and on a journey from the UK to make a life in haute couture in Paris, inspired by a photo she finds unexpectedly one day of three young women, one of whom she recognizes as her grandmother, outside a fashion establishment in Paris during WW II.

Having lost her mother to suicide at a young age and feeling disconnected from her father and
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Linda Lee
Sep 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A moving read! The lives of these three women during the German occupation of France and how a granddaughter learned of her heritage and own inner strength is well told in a moving, history backed tale! We must never stop discussing the atrocities of the concentration camps and people killed or imprisoned there nor allow it to occur again. Fiona Valpy has a wonderful story telling gift and I look forward to reading more of her works.
Diane Secchiaroli
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The Resistance

A wonderful historical novel about three dressmakers during WW11 in France. Claire, Vivianne and Muriel’s are three young women who work as dressmakers in a couture house in Paris who become involved in the French Resistance. The story is told by Harriet, Claire’s granddaughter, who is on a quest to find herself. The novel has love stories, brutal happenings in Nazi occupied France and concentration camps. The novel is both sad and enlightening. It had me crying and laughing at
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Katherine Harms
Sep 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Thought-provoking and Inspiring

This captivating story brings to life bits of history I have heard all my life. Romance, intrigue, and some very harsh truths make the read worthwhile.
I reserve judgment on the hypothesis of inherited trauma. However, it may express what the Bible teaches about inheriting sinful human nature. We are certainly all marked by something evil before we are mature enough to argue with a serpent.
I heartily recommend this book.
Karren  Sandercock
Oct 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thanks To NetGalley, Amazon Publishing UK and Fiona Valpy for my copy of her new book: The Dressmaker's Gift. I have read her previous book: The Beekeeper's Promise and I loved it.
Paris, 1940. The city is occupied by the Nazis, three young French seamstresses Claire, Mireille and Vivienne are kept busy sewing beautiful dresses for German officers wives and their mistresses.
The girls share a tiny apartment, it's situated on the top floor of the fashion house where they work and the three girls
...more
Nancy Brown
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The extraordinary resilience of "ordinary" people.

This is probably the best book I have read in years. It is a story of love and strength that spans three generations. By showing us the lives of three friends in war torn France, in part through the lives of modern friends, you can picture what it was and what it is, both for the place and the people. It deals openly and honestly with deep trauma and loss. It shows how there is great risk and reward in loving fiercely. It helped me understand
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Dee
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
The bestiality of WWII

It rears its ugly head once again in this wonderful sadly beautiful story. People who are more beast than human inflict their saddest behavior on the victims of WWII. This story, by a descendant of a Holocaust survivor, show the devastation inflicted upon the women who lived thru these horrendous times & how it affects even future generations. Wonderfully written by a gifted author, it is staged in the Paris fashion world & shows how this war knew no bounds in all
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Terri
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Surprising Favorite

I wasn't sure about this book when I started; I had a hard time getting into the story. But as I read more of the two worlds, of women who live in times of uncertainty and fear both then and now, about how the trauma of our parents and grandparents can impact our lives, I fell deeply in love with this book. It was beautifully written, even the parts hardest to read. The parallels between the Paris of the early 1940s and the one of now was so delicately done that when it hits
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Colleen
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An Amazon Prime First Reader's choice, I enjoyed the history (though difficult to read and imagine, we must never let it happen again!), the intrigue, the camaraderie of the three seamstresses and the light romance of the story. While the coincidences between what happened with Claire and her granddaughter, Harriet, were slightly far-fetched, they did not take away much of my enjoyment of the story. Once I got about halfway through, I couldn't wait to see what would happen next and hurried ...more
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Fiona Valpy 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
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“It is the loss of those you love that is unbearable.” 1 likes
“Until now, I have allowed the legacy of trauma to imprison my spirit.” 1 likes
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