Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Review: The Dressmaker by Rosalie Ham

A darkly satirical novel of love, revenge, and 1950s haute couture—soon to be a major motion picture starring Kate Winslet and Liam Hemsworth

After twenty years spent mastering the art of dressmaking at couture houses in Paris, Tilly Dunnage returns to the small Australian town she was banished from as a child. She plans only to check on her ailing mother and leave. But Tilly decides to stay, and though she is still an outcast, her lush, exquisite dresses prove irresistible to the prim women of Dungatar. Through her fashion business, her friendship with Sergeant Farrat—the town’s only policeman, who harbors an unusual passion for fabrics—and a budding romance with Teddy, the local football star whose family is almost as reviled as hers, she finds a measure of grudging acceptance. But as her dresses begin to arouse competition and envy in town, causing old resentments to surface, it becomes clear that Tilly’s mind is set on a darker design: exacting revenge on those who wronged her, in the most spectacular fashion.

Received for review.

I'll admit that as soon as I saw that this was going to be made into a movie starring Kate Winslet I had to read it since I love Kate and since I will most likely see the movie I wanted to read the book first.

I gather the whole idea of the story was for you to feel some sort of sympathy for Tilly and empathize with her.  I can genuinely say that it didn't work for me.  I didn't like Tilly and I didn't find her empathetic in the least.  She was okay but certainly not someone I had a real connection with and I really didn't care one way or another what happened to her.  I understood her motives but her behavior was quite unsavory.

My favorite character by far was Sergeant Farrat who had some of the best lines in the book and whose running commentary on the fashion made the entire book that much more enjoyable.

The fashion was described in quite a bit of detail so fans of Project Runway and such will find this quite informative.  I found all the various descriptions rather tedious and by the time peplums and organza were being discussed for approximately the five hundredth time I'd had tor resort to skimming those portions.

Overall, this was an interesting read with a marginally likable main character.  It's not quite happy enough to be Chick Lit and would probably fall more under the general fiction umbrella.  It's a perfectly acceptable read and if you're truly interested in fashion I'm sure you'll find this infinitely more enjoyable than I did and I certainly recommend it to you.

★★★☆☆ = Liked It

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