The Dressmaker's War

The Dressmaker's War

A Novel

Book - 2015
Average Rating:
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For readers of Amy Bloom, Sarah Waters, and Anthony Doerr, The Dressmaker's War is the story of a brilliant English seamstress taken prisoner in Germany during World War II: about her perseverance, the choices she makes to stay alive, and the haunting aftermath of war.

London, 1939. Ada Vaughan is a young working-class woman with an unusual skill for dressmaking who dreams of opening her own atelier. When she meets Stanislaus von Lieben, a Hungarian aristocrat, a new, better life seems to arrive. Stanislaus sweeps Ada off her feet and brings her to Paris. But when war breaks out and Stanislaus vanishes, Ada is abandoned and alone, trapped on an increasingly dangerous continent.

Taken prisoner by the Germans, Ada does everything she can to survive. In the bleak horror of wartime Germany, Ada's skill for creating beauty and glamour is the one thing that keeps her safe. But after the war, attempting to rebuild her life in London, Ada finds that no one is interested in the messy truths of what happened to women like her. And though Ada thought she had left the war behind, her past eventually comes to light, with devastating consequences.

Gorgeously written and compulsively readable, The Dressmaker's War introduces us to an unforgettable heroine--Ada Vaughan, a woman whose ambition for a better life ultimately comes at a heartbreaking cost.

Advance praise for The Dressmaker's War

"Mary Chamberlain's clear, bright prose is river-swift and Ada Vaughan is a character rich with beautiful, flawed humanity. This is a gripping story about limits and the haunting, brutal way they can be drawn and redrawn in war." --Priya Parmar, author of Vanessa and Her Sister

"A thrilling story, brilliantly told--I couldn't put it down. Ada Vaughan is a character to fall in love with: utterly real, flawed, and beguiling." --Saskia Sarginson, author of The Twins and Without You

"I found myself completely swept up in this tale of love, ambition, and vanity." --Juliet West, author of Before the Fall

" The Dressmaker's War is a powerful and gripping tale of longings and dreams, and how a chance meeting that seems to offer the answers and more instead comes with devastating consequences. It's a story about what a person will do and can do under force. The world before, during, and after World War II is amazingly well-drawn. But it is the character of Ada Vaughan that lingers: her resolve, her passion, and her flaws." --Cecilia Ekb#65533;ck, author of Wolf Winter
Publisher: New York :, Random House,, [2015]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780812997378
0812997379
Characteristics: 304 pages
Additional Contributors: Chamberlain, Mary 1947-

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E_Ritchie
Mar 23, 2017

A very compelling read, and not like most WWII stories in the slightest. I devoured this book- it only took me three days to read, I was so captivated by Ada's plight.

Fair warning: this is not a light read, and does not have a happy ending. Don't pick up this book under the guise that you'll have fun reading about loss overcome and happiness through conflict, because that isn't this story. This is a story of a woman dragged into a version of hell, through her own choices and the actions of others, and her try for redemption after bone-shattering grief and cruelty. It may be brutal for readers who have lost children, in whatever way, or are closely connected to the events in wartime Germany.

However, I would recommend this book wholeheartedly. It is the story of an average, naive woman through times thick and thin, and provokes the question, what would I do in her position? Realistic and heart-wrenching, worth the read.

m
martypmonts
Mar 01, 2017

Read this and kept hoping that Ada would learn from her past experiences. Thought how cruel the ending was for woman if that time.

j
JaniceDeG
Jun 21, 2016

Well written book, and an enjoyable read but I found it hard to like the main character!

megannorthcote Jun 16, 2016

A good, but predictable read. Really wish there was a lot more character development with Ada. Story moved a bit too quickly and predictably for my tastes. A quick, interesting historical read though.

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