The Dressmaker's War: A Novel

Mary Chamberlain

Published by Random House, 2016
ISBN 10: 0812997379 / ISBN 13: 9780812997378
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Synopsis: 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 Ekbäck, author of Wolf Winter

About the Author: Mary Chamberlain was born and raised in London. She has lived and worked in England and the Caribbean, and is Emeritus Professor of History at Oxford Brookes University. Her book Fenwomen was the first to be published by the feminist Virago Press in 1975 and was one of the inspirations for Caryl Churchill’s award-winning play Fen. She has written many books on subjects including women’s history, oral history, and Caribbean history. She is a graduate of the acclaimed creative writing master’s degree program at Royal Holloway, University of London, and now lives in London with her husband, the political scientist Stein Ringen.

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Title: The Dressmaker's War: A Novel
Publisher: Random House
Publication Date: 2016
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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