How much will a young Parisian seamstress sacrifice to make her mark in the male-dominated world of 1940s New York fashion? From the author of A KISS FROM MR FITZGERALD and HER MOTHER'S SECRET.
1940. Parisian seamstress Estella Bissette is forced to flee France as the Germans advance. She is bound for Manhattan with a few francs, one suitcase, her sewing machine and a dream: to have her own atelier.
2015. Australian curator Fabienne Bissette attends the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her grandmother's work - one of the world's leading designers of ready-to-wear clothing. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother's past, she uncovers a story of heartbreak and secrets - and the sacrifices made for love.
THE PARIS SEAMSTRESS is the beguiling, transporting story of the special relationship between a grandmother and her granddaughter as they attempt to heal the heartache of the past.
'Lester deftly darts from Paris in 1941 to New York' The Australian Women's Weekly
'Lester brings bold, brave women to life' Herald Sun
'A gorgeously rich and romantic novel about young women finding their way in the world' KATE FORSYTH
'This rich, memorable novel unfolds beautifully from start to finish' Publishers Weekly
This is a worthy and very readable addition to the historical fiction market. - Herald Sun
...deftly weaves real characters, events, places and an obvious love of fashion into her captivating tale. - Daily Examiner, Northern Star, Queensland Times, Daily Examiner, Northern Star, Queensland Times, Gympie Times
It's a nicely told story, exploring relationships between women, especially the bond between mothers, daughters and granddaughters. And it's a treat for fashion lovers. - Sunday Territorian, Adelaide Advertiser
Estella is a brilliant designer, with chutzpah, verve and spirit. The novel hums with her energy. The descriptions of creating clothes, from scant sketches to glamorous gowns, are lyrical and exciting. - The Weekly Times
Well Natasha Lester has well and truly earned a place in my will buy anything she writes list. She manages to wring out every emotion while telling the most incredible stories of love, loss, dreams and heroes. The Paris Seamstress surpassed all expectations, it was an emotional and humbling read. Despite not knowing anything about fashion, or being particularly interested in it, I was able to imagine every new creation that Estella bought into being, just as in the Her Mother's Secret where she drew on the incredible history and creation of cosmetics, another thing I have no interest in, I was completely immersed in the skill and the passion it took to create these beautiful clothes. I do love the dual timeline narrative which Natasha has used so well in this story. The heartbreak, love, dreams and loss mirror each other beautifully and ask can the next generation learn from mistakes made in the past and does the past shape the future. Estella's story is set during the war, the beginning of Germany's invasion into Paris and then Estella's escape to America to bring about her and her mother's dreams. We learn about the resistance fighters, who so valiantly did what they could to save British airmen from the Germans despite the risk to themselves. Every small act was an act that helped to win the war and save a life. Estella's story along with that of Alex and Lena, was a heartbreaking one, full of passion many of us can only dream about and secrets that can tear people apart, secrets that can damage a persons soul if they allow them to. My heart was often in my throat during these times and a few tears were definitely shed. Lena's story and what she survived was heartrendingly horrific and to believe such evil can exist in a human being is devastating, but to realise that these acts still go on today and that the women who suffer at the hands of these monsters still do not very often get the justice they deserve, is even more devastating and something that needs to change. Fabienne's story, her love for her grandmother Estella, her own dreams. the secrets she will uncover about the past and her own love for Will along with both their heartbreaks was wound so well with Estellas's story that I was completely engaged with both timelines. I highly recommend this story that I didn't want to put down for even one minute.
Claire Louisa Holderness
Natasha Lester worked as a marketing executive before returning to university to study creative writing. She completed a Master of Creative Arts as well as her first novel, What Is Left Over, After, which won the T.A.G. Hungerford Award for Fiction. Her second novel, If I Should Lose You, was published in 2012, followed by A Kiss from Mr Fitzgerald, Her Mother's Secret and the Top 10 Australian and international bestsellers The Paris Seamstress, The French Photographer and The Paris Secret. The Age described Natasha as 'a remarkable Australian talent' and her work has been published in numerous anthologies and journals.
In her spare time Natasha loves to teach writing, is a sought after public speaker and can often be found playing dress-ups with her three children. She lives in Perth. For all the latest news from Natasha, visit www.natashalester.com.au, follow her on Twitter @Natasha_Lester, or Instagram (natashalesterauthor), or join the readers who have become Natasha's friend on Facebook.