The Dressmaker by Elizabeth Birkelund Oberbeck

What a lovely book this is.  The main character is Claude Reynaud, a French dressmaker and designer, who lives in Senlis, about 30 miles outside Paris.  Claude is a man born years too late – he has not embraced modern design methods, or refuses to use computers or other modern conveniences in his work.  However, his attention to detail and his ability to intuit exactly what will suit his clients means that he is incredibly sought after dressmakers.

Claude is not a passionate man – indeed his passion seems restricted purely to his work, and to his four adored nephews.  However, he is unprepared for the day that his latest client, Valentine de Verlay arrives in his salon, for almost immediately, he knows that he will love this woman.  There is only one problem – he has to design and make Valentine’s wedding dress.

Suddenly the serious and mild manner Claude finds his own life – and that of Valetine’s – unravelling at the seams….

The writing in this book is beautifully descriptive and luscious.  Claude is a believable and sympathetic character, and while I found myself occasionally becoming angry with Valentine, I could really feel why Claude would love her.

I am a cynic when it comes to romantic books, and often deliberately avoid them.  This book however, is unashamedly romantic, but it is seductive and immensely readable, although I would add that while not it would probably appeal more to a female audience.  Claude may not be a typical hero type, but he is certainly a character who the reader can admire and root for.

Recommended!

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