Guest Review: The Paris Seamstress – Natasha Lester

The Paris Seamstress

The Paris Seamstress

Natasha Lester

Hachette AU

ISBN: 9781760293963

Description:

How much will a young Parisian seamstress sacrifice to make her mark in the male-dominated world of 1940s New York fashion? From the bestselling 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 journeys to the annual Met Gala for an exhibition of her beloved grandmother’s work – one of the world’s leading designers of ready-to-wear. But as Fabienne learns more about her grandmother’s past, she uncovers a story of tragedy, heartbreak and secrets – and the sacrifices made for love.

Crossing generations, society’s boundaries and international turmoil, 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.

 

Brenda’s Review:

Estella Bissette was a seamstress, working with her mother at the atelier in Paris. It was all she had known, having grown up with a needle in her hand and her mother’s fashion by her side. But Germany’s approach on France in 1940 saw Estella flee the only home she’d known, heading to Manhattan on the SS Washington – the last American ship to leave French waters.

When Fabienne Bissette arrived in Manhattan from Sydney for the Gala of her grandmother, Estella’s work in 2015, she was once again shocked at how her grandmother had aged. Ninety-seven years of age, she was frail – but her strength of mind and love for her granddaughter shone through.

But the recent death of her father had made Fabienne realise there were things she didn’t know about her family history – about her grandmother’s past. Would Estella explain it all to Fabienne? Or was it destined to remain in the past?

The Paris Seamstress by Aussie author Natasha Lester is, in my humble opinion, this author’s best novel to date. Based on fact (some of the characters existed, as do the buildings, some of which are central to the story); I feel at a loss to voice my thoughts…

‘When you awaken in the morning’s hush I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight. I am the soft stars that shine at night. Do not stand at my grave and cry; I am not there. I did not die.’

What can I say? This is a deeply emotional book which is heartbreaking, while being filled with courage and love; of secrets that were necessary during the German occupation of France – I don’t think I have ever read a book so profound and which made me feel so much. An outstanding novel which just makes me say to the author – Bravo! A 5 star recommendation.

With grateful thanks to Hachette AU for my ARC to read and review.

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Guest Review: Fool’s Gold – Fleur McDonald

Fools Gold

Fool’s Gold

Fleur McDonald

Allen & Unwin

ISBN: 9781760293963

Description:

‘To Dave, the posting to Barrabine was exactly what he’d wanted – it was a town on the edge, the wild west. There would be excitement, mystery and intrigue here. Everything a detective looked for.’

Detective Dave Burrows’ first posting to the far West goldfields town of Barrabine holds everything he’s looking for but Melinda, his wife of two weeks, is devastated at leaving behind her family, friends and career. More comfortable in heels than RM Williams, Melinda walked away from her much-loved job in the city as a paediatric nurse to follow Dave into the bush.

Dave settles in easily to the plain-speaking toughness of his new town, determined to do well, knowing that Barrabine could be his stepping stone into the elite Stock Squad. But will his marriage last the distance?

As Dave investigates reports of mysterious late-night trespassing, a missing person, and guns being drawn on strangers, a local prospector phones in with horrific news that could hold the key to everything…

Fleur McDonald’s bestselling rural storytelling makes Fool’s Gold, the first book in the Detective Dave Burrows series, a compelling and exciting beginning.

 

Brenda’s Review:

Only two weeks since their wedding and Detective Dave Burrows arrived with his wife Melinda in the small outback goldfields town of Barrabine in Western Australia. The dust and sparse landscape looked inviting to him, but Melinda was a city girl. She’d resigned her position as a paediatric nurse at a Perth hospital and Dave hoped she could get another at the local hospital. He hoped she would settle in and make friends before too long.

Dave enjoyed the camaraderie with his partner, Spencer and the other members of the force at the small station – he was to find the friendliness of the locals was normal; apart from those who wanted to avoid the cops. But the local prospectors were a crusty lot, and gradually Dave met them all. It was the day one of those miners called the station to report something suspicious that found Dave investigating a far more sinister occurrence than the normal small crimes of Barrabine.

Would Dave discover the answers to the strange events happening in the area? There were secrets, he knew that, but uncovering them might be more difficult than he realised.

Fool’s Gold by Aussie author Fleur McDonald is another excellent romantic suspense novel which I loved. And with this being the 1st in the Detective Dave Burrows series, it is set in 1997 as it tells his story, taking the popular detective back to his beginnings. I first met him in Sapphire Falls and then again in Suddenly One Summer. I’m loving going back to when he started in the force as he gets involved in the intense and gritty crimes of a small community, and very much looking forward to the second in the series. Highly recommended.

A 5 star recommendation.

With thanks to Allen & Unwin AU for my ARC to read and review.

Post Script: The Green Unknown: Travels in the Khasi Hills – Patrick Rogers

The Green Unknown

The Green Unknown: Travels in the Khasi Hills
Patrick Rogers
Westland
ASIN: B0759PFF28

 

Description:
The Green Unknown is about walking, without a map or a plan, across the Khasi Hills in the Northeast Indian state of Meghalaya—a place of jungle canyons and thousand-foot waterfalls, where it rains more than any other inhabited place in the world, where each village has its own dialect or even its own language, and where the people grow living bridges from the roots of trees. The book is an attempt to express what it’s like trying to explore, mile by mile, village by village, valley by valley, a place that’s beautiful, complex, and fascinating, but most of all, unique.

My View:
This is a book that will appeal to travellers and readers alike. Arm chair travelling is one of my favourite past times and Patrick Rogers has taken me on a journey that has filled me with awe. This is a very personal account of Patrick’s travels as he explores remote, tropical jungles searching for evidence of living tree bridges.

Written with passion, humour and respect for the landscapes that he explores (both societal and physical), you will love the frizzon of excitement you will get when accompanying Patrick on his adventures.

Wishing you safe travels Patrick.

Post Script: The Cowgirl – Anthea Hodgson

The Cowgirl

The Cowgirl

Anthea Hodgson

Penguin Random House

Michael Joseph

ISBN: 9780143797265

 

Description:

Teddy Broderick has lived on her farm almost all her life, committed to the rhythms of the country – seeding, harvest, shearing and the twice daily milking of the cow her grandmother has looked after for years, but she dreams of another life, in the wide world away from the confines of her property.

 

She thinks she knows her home and its community inside out, until her grandmother Deirdre announces there is a house buried on the property, and Will Hastings, an archaeologist, is coming to dig it up again.

 

As they work together to expose Deirdre’s past to the light, the stories they tell bring them together and pull Teddy further away from her home.

 

But what is hidden in Deirdre’s childhood house that she needs to see again before she dies – and why? What is it that stops Teddy from living the life she truly wants? And will she ever find her freedom?

 

 

My View:

A uniquely rural Australian coming of age story that tips it hat at the #MeToo movement.

 

Anthea Hodgson writes empathetic characters that challenge societal pressures to confirm and be controlled. Sometimes there are small victories, though the scars form the many skirmishes take a long time to heal.  Ultimately this is an uplifting book that will bring a tear, all be it a happy tear, to your eye.

Post Script: The Portrait of Molly Dean – Katherine Kovacic

The Portrait of Molly Dea

The Portrait of Molly Dean

Katherine Kovacic

Echo Publishing

ISBN: 9781760409784

 

Description:

An unsolved murder comes to light after almost seventy years…

 

In 1999, art dealer Alex Clayton stumbles across a lost portrait of Molly Dean, an artist’s muse brutally slain in Melbourne in 1930. Alex buys the painting and sets out to uncover more details, but finds there are strange inconsistencies: Molly’s mother seemed unconcerned by her daughter’s violent death, the main suspect was never brought to trial despite compelling evidence, and vital records are missing. Alex enlists the help of her close friend, art conservator John Porter, and together they sift through the clues and deceptions that swirl around the last days of Molly Dean.

 

 

My View:

What an outstanding read! In this book you will EXPERIENCE history, art, mystery, murder…

When I picked up this book I was enthralled by the cover art and then I started reading! I hadn’t read but a page or two and I KNEW this book was going to feature on my “Best Reads 2018”. Fantastic writing, locations that leap of the page.  An era that is succinctly captured; the socio economic environment, the mores, the fashion, the corruption, and the abuses of power. This novel is intriguing, you will devour the pages till the revealing end.  Plus I loved the characters.  And the dog. 🙂

 

Encore! More!!!!