I was excited to dive into The Paris Seamstress based on the synopsis and the great reviews I had read. I am usually a strict romance reader, but every once in a while I like to step out of my comfort zone. A sweeping historical fiction novel following two strong women, one a French seamstress living in the 1940s and the other an Australian curator, residing in 2015 sounded like the perfect book for me.
The beginning of this book grabbed me from the start. I loved learning about the 1930s and 40s fashion and the beautiful prose Lester used had me rooting for the spunky Estella right from the beginning. I was wholly invested in Estella’s historical story and Fabienne’s modern day life.
Around 40% in, the book started to get a little weird for me. I knew there would be twists and turns to the story, but frankly, Estella’s love story skeeved me out a little bit. I also don’t think the story really needed Estella’s love interest’s perspective. The majority of the book is told from Estella and Fabienne’s point of view but a few times, the reader sees the world through the hero’s eyes, and it is a little jarring.
The high action scenes in the middle and at the end of the book were confusing and abrupt. I had to reread those scenes a few times to understand what happened. The villain of the story was pure evil, but unfortunately, his storyline with Estella finished with a whimper instead of the bang I was hoping for.
Fabienne is not nearly as large a part of the story as Estella, and frankly, I found her story harder to believe than even Estella’s crazy tale. This book was trying to do a little too much, and parts of the story suffered under the weight of all the details.
Overall, I loved the first 40%, but I had to force myself to finish the last 60% of the book. Natasha Lester is clearly a gifted writer, and I would be willing to try another one of her books, but this one missed the mark. I wasn’t really invested in Estella and her lover by the end. I liked Fabienne even if she lived in a crazy fairytale world of fashion and diamonds. Also, Sam deserved better!
**I received an ARC of this book in order to provide an honest review**