When the Nazis occupy Paris, high-fashion dressmaker Lila de Laurent finds work designing gowns for the girlfriends of Nazi officers staying at the Hôtel Ritz – and finds much information to pass on to the resistance. The last thing she expects is to be thrust back into the company of her former love, René Trouliard, heir to a fortune and on the run due to his part-Jewish heritage.
Meanwhile, Sandrine Paquet works at the Jeu de Paume, fending off the advances of a German officer as she catalogues art looted by the Nazis and helps Rose Valland make secret copies of the records, in the hopes of returning the treasures to their rightful owners. Sandrine’s husband disappeared in the invasion of France in 1940, but she’s convinced the father of her little boy is still alive. One day, an exquisite Chanel gown arrives at the Jeu de Paume, and Sandrine discovers a hidden cryptic message.
As these two brave women brave the deprivations and dangers of the occupation, their lives aim on a collision course that could cost them everything.
Rich with evocative descriptions of Paris and harrowing details of life during the German occupation, The Paris Dressmaker satisfies on all levels. Kristy Cambron deftly weaves multiple timelines to craft a story as complex and romantic and beautiful as a couture gown. In addition, Lila and Sandrine’s strength and courage in a troubled world inspire us to live likewise. Tres magnifique!