THE DRESSMAKER
by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck

July 2006
ISBN: 0-8050-8033-3
Reviewer Graphic Button Henry Holt and Company
Trade Paperback
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Claude Reynaud is a quiet, mild-mannered man the locals think of as a tailor. He sews on buttons; he mends tears in clothing for them. But for the Parisian women he creates breathtaking wedding gowns, stylish dresses and suits. He is happy doing what he is doing in this small French town, Senlis. He spends quality time with his nephews in between creating his wonderful clothes. When Valentine de Verlay walks into his shop and asks him to create and sew her wedding dress, his quiet little life is turned upside down by this amazing beautiful woman. He instantly falls in love with her; he wants to be near her. There is a slight hitch, he is married,he and his wife have not lived together for eight years, maybe this would be a good time to file for divorce. When his wife Rose returns, thinking he is finally going to create in Paris, she is surprised when he tells her no.


Claude just can not seem to get Valentine out of his head nor his heart. Even though he is not pleased to see his wife again, he gambles and does take a job with a fashion house in Paris, only so he can be close to the woman he truly loves. It does not matter to him she is married, he knows her new husband, Victor Couturier, he is a one-dimensional, type of personality.


Claude is welcomed into the world of Valentine, but for reasons he will not understand. Valentine also seems drawn to this quiet unassuming man, even though she is married. Claude’s wife has followed him; she has always wanted to be a part of this, now she is. Problems are many and solutions are few for this tangled web.


This was a treasure of a book. Claude was a respected designer, but he wanted to be loved as well as being respected. Valentine was a woman who felt she had to keep to her commitment of marriage, even though she felt Claude understood her more than her husband could. Rose wanted the prestige and fame to go along with being married to a very talented designer. For being the author’s first novel, she hit it right on the head. The readers will be amazed with this talented new author.


Reviewed in January 2007 by Pat.

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