Friday, September 25, 2015

The Dress Thief by Natalie Meg Evans

2014 Festival of Romantic Fiction's 
Best Historical Read.


2015 Public Book Awards.


2015 Romance Writers of America (RWA) RITA Awards

A modern tale of desire and deception set in the world of 1930s Parisian haute couture – perfect for fans of The Perfume Collector or The Paris Wife.

Alix Gower has a dream: to join the ranks of Coco Chanel to become a designer in the high-stakes world of Parisian haute couture. But Alix also has a secret: she supports her family by stealing designs to create bootlegs for the foreign market. A hidden sketchbook and two minutes inside Herm├Ęs is all she needs to create a perfect replica, to be whisked off to production in New York. Then Alix is given her big break - a chance to finally realize her dream in one of the most prominent Parisian fashion houses - but at the price of copying the breakthrough Spring Collection. Knowing this could be her only opportunity, Alix accepts the arrangement. But when a mystery from her past resurfaces and a chance meeting has her falling into the arms of a handsome English war reporter, Alix learns that the slightest misstep - or misplaced trust - could be all it takes for her life to begin falling apart at the seams. 


The Dress Thief sweeps readers into the heart of Paris during the rise of the fashion industry - from the fashion designers to the manufacturing to the runway. From the very beginning, one cannot feel anything but sympathy for the plight of Alix who lives in poverty with her ailing grandmother, Meme, but who possesses powerful dreams to one day become a fashion designer. She is befriended by a young man named Paul, also poor who cares for his younger sisters. It is Paul who entices her into becoming a thief - whose contacts get her a job at a leading fashion house where she is to copy the designs prior to their launch for reproduction in the United States. 

Alix has a secret benefactor, a wealthy Count, who has taken care of her through the years and who has an unclear connection to her Meme and her dead mother. It is this connection which causes him to be the victim of a blackmail plot in which Alix finds herself involved. Lives are at risk until the blackmailer can be identified and stopped. With several antagonists and suspicious characters, there are plenty of surprises and twists throughout. I found myself becoming emotionally involved with strong impressions regarding each character. 

Natalie Meg Evans has a strong understanding of the fashion industry of the era and this comes through in her sharp writing. This is a very long book at approximately 592 pages. Although the plot slows a little in the middle, there is plenty of story to keep the reader interested. It is not a story to be rushed - rather, it is one to be savoured for its wonderfully rich descriptions and details. It is no wonder this is an award winning book! 

Thank you to the author and publisher. I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

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